It’s past time to modernize the rouge

For years I have been beating the drum that the rouge needs to be tweaked.

I was thrilled that as a part of the Randy Road Trip, the commissioner was pitching the idea of looking into changing the way single points are rewarded. I’m not against the idea of the rouge in principle. Often I watch other football leagues and think that it lacks drama because the rouge isn’t in play. What needs to happen here is very, very simple.

If the ball cannot be fielded, no point is awarded. The ball must either touch the ground in bounds, or be fielded and then conceded by a player on the receiving team in the end zone for a point to be awarded.

No longer could punts or field goal attempts be awarded one point simply for breaking the plane of the goal line and not being returned. It must have been able to be returned to earn the point.

Imagine a scenario where we have a tie game, the ball on the 10-yard line, teams line up for the final play with zeros on the clock. This is likely a field goal attempt and currently unless the defending team gets a block — looking at you, Tre Roberson — the kicking team will surely be able to kick the ball further than 30 yards. Thereby earning a point and winning the game regardless of the success or failure to send the ball through the uprights.

Why are we rewarding failure? Why is a kick from inside the red zone nearly automatically a point?

Now, I agree that if the ball is fielded in the end zone and the returner fails to get it out or fails to field it before it bounces or rolls out of bounds, then of course a point should be awarded.

So, under my proposal, the kicks would then have to be hard enough to gain the altitude and distance to be a successful field goal attempt, but not so hard that the ball crosses over the back line of the end zone.

If that happens on any field goal attempt, the receiving team would be awarded the ball on the 25-yard line, or at the spot of the kick, which ever is more advantageous. On a punt, the team would receive the ball at the 35, as they do now without a point scored against.

If a kicker managed to send it through the end zone without the ball ever touching the ground on a kickoff, his leg would be immediately amputated and sent for scientific study.

Frankly, I think if you kick the ball through the end zone, that should be a point as well, provided the ball touches the ground first. Currently, if it rolls or bounces out over the back line, no point is rewarded.

That would keep alive the drama of the best part of the CFL game where the ball is repeatedly kicked into and out of the end zone in a desperate attempt to score.

It would remove the ability of NFL snobs to joke about the “game being so Canadian you get a point for trying.” (Not necessarily a direct quote of someone specific, but I bet you’ve heard it at some point…)

It would keep a part of our game that is uniquely Canadian; hearkens back to our rugby roots, and makes for a potentially thrilling ending.

All points should be earned, even the single ones.

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