July 2016 – NO challenge At All

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.


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.



3 thoughts on “July 2016 – NO challenge At All

  1. what the hell?? 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.
    NO . nope, nada, you don’t get to dismiss cflfan, mrlee and the gang because coaches throw challenge flags. Football isn’t only about flags, it’s so much more, it’s passion and it’s not perfect. We missed you tonight, *throws flag at chef, 10 yards 🙂 , the cfl will get the coaches challenges figured out


  2. Good article, I agree w/ your observations. On Thursday July 14, Bombers hosted the Eskies, O’Shea threw a flag, “challenging” an illegal interference on a loose ball, he lost the “challenge” because he didn’t know the rules, (only illegal interference on passing plays can be challenged), that caused a delay of game penalty and eskies went on to tie the game and eventually win. O’Shea’s actions are just an example of hair trigger reactions, toss the flag! and maybe the call will go our way. The cfl Zebras try to get the calls correct and usually do but they are human and make mistakes. This is why the cfl approved of “eye in the sky” from http://www.cfl.ca/2016/04/07/cflboard-of-governors-approves-rule-changes-for-2016/ =>

    (“The Board of Governors continues to demonstrate its support for innovation and player safety,” said Senior Vice President, Football, Glen Johnson.

    “We look forward to implementing changes that will continue to enhance our great game.”

    The CFL is adding a video official in the Command Centre with a mandate to rapidly fix obvious errors that are not challengeable by replay. This official would act as a kind of “eye in the sky” with access to a feed from a special camera that will capture all 24 players on the football field.

    For example, when both the offence and defence jump into the neutral zone prior to the snap and four officials have flags, all with a slightly different perspective, the Video Official would look at a play in a few seconds and communicate to the Referee which team jumped first, speeding up the game and ensuring the right call is made.

    The video official would be a first in the world of professional sports in North America.

    Two years ago, the CFL became the first league to subject judgement calls to video review, when it allowed coaches to challenge defensive pass interference. Now offensive pass interference, illegal contact and illegal interference on pass plays will also be reviewable.)

    Okay Cfl board of govenors, i know the “eye in the sky” is new, let’s make that work and remove the coaches challenge flags, it slows the game down and it’s biased. Let the Zebras do their job. sources:




    Write or call Jeffrey L. Orridge Commissioner of the Canadian Football League and let him know it’s time to get rid of coaches challenges.

    50 Wellington Street East – 3rd Floor
    Toronto, ON M5E 1C8, CANADA
    Tel: (416) 322-9650
    Fax: (416) 322-9651
    CFL.ca | Twitter: @CFL | Facebook.com/CFL

    And my dear friend (yourstruly), don’t stay away too long from (cflheaven), we missed you and had a “(yourstruly) off” (what would (yourstruly) post ;0 )


    1. Aw shucks.
      I’ve honestly hunkered down, isolated myself and WATCHED this week’s games. Or at least PART of them. And you know what? I simply can’t do it. Coach-Initiated Penalties (Hitherto referred to as CIP’s) have almost totally taken over the game. It wasn’t bad enough the TSN commentators spent MOST of the Edmonton Winnipeg game unleashing pearls like, “Now THAT’s where I draw the line. That kind of challenge needs to go.” AND then “That’s why coaches challenges are a GOOD idea”. Yikes…they persist in obfuscating the very MEANING of what’s going on on the field by NOT calling it what t truly is: Coaches making penalty calls…
      I MAY be the only person obnoxious enough to say this but…In don’t give the hairy crack of a rat’s ass if they get ALL THE FUCKING CALLS RIGHT EVERY FUCKING TIME. Life is imperfect. If you start to sweat that fact you’re going to get swamped by the minutiae of little things that WILL go wrong…inevitably.
      Do your BEST not to let the truly UNJUST get by you, and live with the rest.
      The CFL is destroying itself by turning into a Cosmic ANAL Inversion.
      As long as this is the case I can’t watch, and won’t be much fun if I try.
      Hopefully the CFL will figure itself out…OR maybe whatever Titanic Manipulators have a hold of the CFL’s nads…will loosen their grip long enough to realize this experiment in gridiron totalitarianism is one GIGANTIC TURD of a failure.
      See y’all when/if they do.


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