When the CFL decided to increase the number of “challenges” made available to Head Coaches, I bit my lip and did the only thing I could do: live with an intolerable situation…a human tradition.
I spent a large part of last year trying to explain WHY I insisted that the new powers NOT be referred to as “challenges”. After all…traditionally a “challenge” is when a call is made by the officials on the field and the coach questions the validity of the call. What’s being “challenged” here is the non-existence of a potential penalty. Or something.
Words create meaning. Calling it a “challenge” legitimizes and obfuscates what could NEVER be acceptable if correctly and honestly named…
Properly stated then…coaches around the league have been given the power to call penalties. There’s no way around it. I dare say if the CFL polled it’s fanbase with the question:
Do you think CFL Head Coaches should be given the authority to call penalties?
…there would be a pretty healthy NO vote. I’d like to think so anyway.
After all, theoretically, CFL officials are unbiased. And right or wrong they’ll try to make the correct call. Giving the right to call penalties to the very people who have the most to gain or lose by the outcome…well it has boggled my mind, quite honestly.
Kyries Hebert recently pointed out that there are several infractions on EVERY play from scrimmage. Having played a bit of ball myself, I believe ANY football player at ANY level would agree. The ESSENTIAL thing is to catch the penalties that directly affect the outcome of any given play. However, given the proliferation of infractions on any given play, the present climate will ensure that a smart coach, waiting until exactly the right moment and exactly the right play to throw his little flag, can break with over a century of tradition, call a penalty himself, and ensure his team a WIN.
THIS ISN’T FOOTBALL.
It has ruined the very legitimacy of the game. It has institutionalized cheating in the sneakiest of ways…and MOST importantly, has ruined my enjoyment of the game. A game I’ve loved for over 50 years.
So I’m not sure if I’ve watched my LAST CFL game. I may hang on and watch the increasingly “apocalyptic” Alouettes (to quote an article on 3Down Nation). But I do know my frustration is mounting, and my interest wanes EVERY TIME any team wins because their coach called a penalty at the “right” time.
Finally…if I never see them again…thx for all the years of chatting fun: cflfan, mrleemtl and all the gang. You’ve been amazing.