Referees are getting it right

IAN BUSBY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:00 AM ET

If the CFL officials were in college, they would be given an A+ for their effort this season.

It's just the 2.5% of calls that are blown are remembered instead of the ones that were made properly. Director of officiating George Black said his crew is holding the standard set last season, while there are fewer flags being thrown overall.

"In all honesty, we're around the 94 percent mark for good calls," Black said. "Another four percent are marginal calls on plays that require judgement. There could be a foul, but it didn't have a complete bearing on the play as we needed it to. Then we have about 2.5 to three percent that are incorrect."

The actual perception this year is more flags are flying per game, but the number is actually down, dropping to 22.6 per start compared to 23.4 last season. So far in 2007, preventable fouls (offside, procedure, time count, etc.) make up 47.6% of the flags, which is a 2.5% increase from last year at this time. Technical fouls are down, while roughing fouls are up.

This past weekend, Black said the officiating jobs were great, aside from three plays which caused him concern.

An Andrew Nowacki catch that was overturned on replay review Friday should have stood up because the Edmonton Eskimos receiver took four steps and survived contact with a defender.

In the Montreal Alouettes game, a quick whistle on a Paris Jackson fumble likely cost the Alouettes a touchdown, but it had no bearing on the outcome.

And in Winnipeg, the onside kick try that was ruled simultaneous and given to the Bombers should have been kicked again.

"The guys really beat themselves up about it," Black said. "Everybody understands how important it is. People make a living at this, and we want to get it right. The guys take it very seriously. Every now and then, we have a brain cramp."

Given the low mark of 2.5%, how many people can say they go through a work day with a higher efficiency rating?

OPENING DRIVE

After several people streaked on the field on Labour Day in Calgary, Commonwealth Stadium staff did a great job discouraging streakers with strong fences and tons of security in the Friday rematch ... There's pressure on fans in seven CFL cities to make sure Saskatchewan doesn't sweep the all-stars this year. The league announced yesterday, in a deal with Future Shop, that 25% of fan voting will go to determine the league's stars. We all know 'Riders fans will take the opportunity to vote every day. Go to CFL.ca or futureshop.ca to cast your picks ... Of the Argonauts' four wins this season, three have come against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. The Argos sport a 16-1-1 record against the Tabbies in the past 18 games. In another telling stat, the Argos are 4-0 with QB Michael Bishop as starter and 0-6 with someone else at the helm. The Argos also beat the Ticats twice with RB Jesse Lumsden sidelined.

ENDZONE TOSS

With his next win for the Lions, Wally Buono will tie Don Matthews for most coaching victories in franchise history. Buono won't be able to do it as fast as The Don, who got his in 80 games. Buono will coach his 83rd game Saturday for B.C. against the Argos ... This could be the year of the fake. The Bombers pulled off a nice fake field-goal when holder Jamie Stoddard took off running in a play that was called Lager. "Whenever there's beer involved, Jamie is going to perform at a remarkably high level," said Bombers kicker Troy Westwood.

EXTRA POINTS

The Casey Printers-to-Hamilton deal means the salary-management system is working. The Ticats had the most space under the cap and could outspend anyone in the CFL ... Do you hear that silence, Eskimos fans? It's the talkative Rahim Abdullah leaving the city.


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