State Of CFL Officiating Embarrassing For Fans and League

Kelly BundleAnalyst IAugust 3, 2008

Replay was introduced, some years ago, to minimize the damage that part-time referees whom officiate CFL games could cause. 

After complaints from fans and all of the individual organizations that the calls were still wrong after review, in the 2007 playoffs the CFL proudly took the next step and added a officiating supervisor to the booth at each game.  That continues through week six of the 2008 season. 

And they are still getting it wrong. 

The proof lies in a call late in Saturday's Riders vs. Stampeders game. 

This point is not being argued because of my club loyalties.  I cheer, transparently, for the Riders and despite this missed call we won the game. 

Moreover, the league's image in the international football world has always been more a priority than my own favorite team's success. 

I expect to gain nothing from this rant but support from people who see it the way the rulebook reads.

The play in question is the last-second sideline bomb by Henry Burris to Jermaine Copeland. 

The ball came down in one of Copeland's hands, but to rule that he had possession of the ball at any time during this play is ridiculous. 

Rider corner James Patrick also had his hands on about as much ball as Copeland did, and in fact when the whistle blew, had more control of the ball which hadn't touched the ground yet. 

Copeland was ruled in possession of a simultaneous catch, as the rulebook states.

In the last couple of years since the re-definition of a completed forward pass, there was a period of doubt, but the referees have gotten it right more often than not.  This play illustrates that confusion by officials regarding the completed forward pass still looms.  

We, as fans, were told that to constitute a completed pass, the receiver, be it Team A (offence) or Team B (defence) must survive contact with the ground.

Where was that logic on this play?

Neither survived contact and the ball would up in Patrick's lap after equal opportunity at the ball, which never touched the ground.

I would suggest they made the wrong call, in haste, after reveiw and almost changed the outcome of a hard-fought game on one call. 

Is this why we pay our officials?  To get it wrong, even after review by the officiating supervisor?

We need an NHL style control center in Toronto, where you don't play until you are SURE!  NOW! Not in two years from now.