CFL clears up vague rules

KIRK PENTON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:39 AM ET

The CFL's director of officiating admits that there was a severe lack of communication between his office and the league's coaches in recent years.

George Black says rules of the game would be changed, but their interpretation would often get lost in translation -- if there was any discussion on them at all. That communication void led to several embarrassing instances over past few seasons that haven't exactly helped the league's image.

So Black and the CFL's newest hire, former Winnipeg Blue Bombers head coach Jim Daley, the league's senior officiating advisor, are currently on a cross-country tour making stops in each CFL city.

They are giving four-hour seminars to each of the eight teams' coaching staffs as well as the media. The goal is to get everyone -- coaches, players, officials, media and fans -- on the same page and dispel urban myths, like "the ground can't cause a fumble." Yes, it can.

Black and Daley believe their Rule-a-palooza Tour is a hit.

"Based on the reception that we've had, people have come away more educated," Black said.

"It's trying to narrow the gap in understanding," Daley added.

Black and Daley focused on two key rules that have caused much confusion lately:

BANG-BANG PLAYS -- This happens when a receiver catches the ball and is almost simultaneously contacted by an opponent. These plays resulted in 56% of all instant replay challenges last season.

The key idea is the receiver must "survive the contact" with the ground or the opponent. The receiver may have "control," but he doesn't have "possession" unless he still has the ball after the initial contact with the ground or the tackler. This also means the ground can cause an incompletion.

ILLEGAL BLOCKING -- Last year the number of illegal blocks increased from 55 in 2005 to 125 after contact was made illegal on the back 50% of a player's body.

It also resulted in only three return touchdowns in 2006.

This rule has been changed back to the way it was in 2004, when a player could be blocked on approximately 70% of his body. In other words, more blocks to the side of a player's body will be allowed.

BLUE BITS: Winnipeg GM Brendan Taman has offered a contract to former Bomber cornerback Juran Bolden, who was cut by the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers earlier this week. Bolden will make a decision by mid-month. "If he comes back to Canada, he's interested (in Winnipeg)," Taman said. "But I don't think he's interested in coming back to Canada right now." ... The Bombers secured the rights to McMaster offensive lineman Kyle Koch and Saskatchewan receiver Karl Phillips in yesterday's post-draft pickup period.


Photos