CFL pulls reverse on decision

PAUL FRIESEN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:06 AM ET

Sometimes a little public pressure is all it takes.

One day after saying last night's game would not be stopped if Winnipeg's Milt Stegall broke the career touchdown record, CFL officials had a change of heart.

"The commissioner re-evaluated his decision," CFL spokesman Jamie Dykstra told Sun Media yesterday, a few hours before the Bombers took on Montreal. "And decided it was best that we honour Milt Stegall if he breaks the record."

The reason for the change of heart?

Feedback from the public, including a story criticizing the original decision in yesterday's Sun.

"There was some," Dykstra confirmed.

The league's initial plan was simply to show a 30-second video, then get on with play in order to not interrupt the flow of the game. That would have been in sharp contrast to the way the league stopped a game to honour Toronto quarterback Damon Allen for becoming pro football's all-time leading passer last season.

Marketing

Ironically, the CFL had recently named Stegall one of its marketing representatives for the current season, no doubt in part because he was on the cusp of making history.

The league still plans a more formal recognition of Stegall's accomplishment in the home game following his record catch. It's expected he'll receive a framed print commemorating the record-breaking touchdown.

The touchdown record is one of football's most prestigious, comparable to baseball's career home run mark.

The mark of 137, originally set by Saskatchewan running back George Reed, has stood for 32 years. Mike Pringle, a running back who played mostly with Montreal, tied the record but couldn't break it before his retirement in 2004.

As a receiver, Stegall has far fewer chances to carry the ball than running backs, making his feat all the more remarkable.

The closest receiver to Stegall on the all-time list is Allen Pitts, with 117 touchdowns.


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