Go for two in overtime

CON GRIWKOWSKY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:46 AM ET

EDMONTON -- There was one memorable moment of levity as the CFL rules committee wrapped up two days of work at the River Cree Resort and Casino Thursday.

Saskatchewan coach Ken Miller made a motion to allow 13 players to be on the field during a CFL game.

Good to know that the possible CFL coach of the year can joke about that incident after the 13th man cost the Roughriders their chance to win the 2009 Grey Cup.

After Miller’s suggestion was laughed down, the committee got down to 12 hours of business.

When CFL director of officiating Tom Higgins emerged from the meeting, he announced an addition and a subtraction.

This year, commissioner Mark Cohon asked fans to submit their suggestions on how to improve the overtime.

One suggestion would have had team scrimmaging on the opposition’s 40-yard line rather than the 35-yard line.

The one that actually made the grade and is being sent to the CFL board of governors meetings for ratification tweaks the overtime convert .

Instead of a virtually automatic kick, teams scoring a touchdown in OT will have to go for a two-point convert.

“We had more than 2,000 responses and most of them, about three-quarters told us they loved the overtime format but wanted some tweaks,” said Higgins.

The compelling part of the two-point convert suggestion is that it adds an element of uncertainty.

“An extra-point is an automatic in the CFL as well as the NFL. It’s probably 99.8% that the extra point is going to be made. A two-point convert — sometimes you’re looking at 50/50 or 60/40.”

Higgins could not recall the name of the fan or fans who made the suggestion.

“I’m not sure who to give credit to,” said Higgins. “Like those commercials out there, someone’s going to say ‘it was my idea’ and that’s OK. We enjoy their enthusiasm and we can have some enthusiasm in the off-season with their input.”

Meanwhile, a fan suggestion that was adopted for the 2009 season was ruled a failed experiment.

In 2009, a return was mandatory after a field goal. This season, the option to scrimmage on the 35-yard-line will be reinstated.

“It’s a situation that we looked and and maybe it didn’t work as well as we’d like,” said Higgins.

Concerns about injuries to players kept the experiment’s shelf life to one year.

“Maybe it was a bit of a safety issue,” said Higgins. “We only have 42 players that dress and it was something we’d like to revert back to. It was a one-year experiment that happened and now, all of a sudden, we’d like to go back to the way it was.

“It’s more risk of injuries more than anything else. You run 40 yards and you’re running into somebody. A lot of those have wear and team on a person’s body.”

The CFL’s coaches were near-unanimous in that decision.

Miller is in the running for the CFL Coach of the Year award against Montreal’s Mark Trestman and Marcel Bellefeuille of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. The winner will be named today at noon.

“We actually talked about should having 13 men on the field be something you could challenge,” said Higgins.

“The answer was no and in jest, it’s nice that he can laugh about it now. That’s a tough pill to swallow but, you know what, things happen every walk of life. It’s one of those unfortuate things.

“It doesn’t take away from the great year Saskatchewan had.

“Maybe it was poetic justice that Montreal, having that much greater of a year, ended up as Grey Cup champions.”

con.griwkowsky@sunmedia.ca


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