CFL replay rules could have saved the Saints

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Everyone knows it was wrong. The NFL has suggested it will explore the possibility of correcting the wrongness in the future.

Of course, a solution exists, and has worked — in Canada.

John Kryk of the Toronto Sun does a good job of explaining the CFL’s version or replay rules in this story, an idea which could have been of benefit to the Saints when an obvious and non-called pass interference penalty cost them a chance to advance to the Super Bowl.

In the CFL, coaches have the ability to challenge pass interference calls, with some limitations. Teams aren’t able to challenge the NFL equivalent of defensive holding near the line of scrimmage, but do have one challenge per game (as long as they have a timeout) which would apply to situations such as Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman whacking Saints receiver Tommyleee Lewis in Sunday’s NFC Championship Game.

And while some have concerns about the time of game getting out of hand by expanding replay, games have actually gotten shorter in Canada since they adopted a revised set of replay rules in 2017.

According to the CFL, during the 2014 the average duration of a game was 2:55 (not including overtime games). In 2017, when rules were revised to limit reviews to one per game, it was 2:50, and last season it was 2:51. Teams averaged 2.22 challenges per game in 2016, but just 0.88 per game in 2018.

If the NFL adopted such a change, and used a bit of foresight to implement it (though that isn’t the NFL’s strong suit), it offers a reasonable chance to solve a significant problem.

45 responses to “CFL replay rules could have saved the Saints

  1. While I wouldn’t mind limiting the replays to 1 but expanding the types of plays that can be challenged; unless they ALSO changed the time restriction on coach challenges it wouldn’t have helped here. This occurred after the 2 minute warning. The refs were solely responsible for this. They need to allow Park Avenue to challenge, especially in tight or playoff games.

    We, as fans, deserve better. I get that the NFL wanted LA in the Super Bowl; but they shouldn’t have screwed the Saints like this.

  2. Why stop there though? Canada’s minor football league has a ton of great ideas… How about a point for a touchback? Maybe we don’t need the extra down, either. Oh, I know, let’s have 8 teams called the Roughriders, but just with slightly different spellings. And then when people make fun of your Rough Riders, change it to something cool and meaningful, like RedBlacks.

  3. I think I speak for most when I say enough with the PI no-call. How about some news/analysis on the teams that are in the Super Bowl?

    That no-call was game-changing but that doesn’t excuse the fact that the Saints had multiple opportunities to put the Rams away. They even got the ball to start OT and Brees threw a pick.

  4. In the last two minutes would they have the league office call for the review like they do now?

  5. It just hit me.. Would a better option in the NFL be ONE challenge of absolutely anything per game ( will not cost the team a timeout) . The coaches would only challenge what they thought would be a significant game changing play. It may actually speed the game up as opposed to the current system, since there will be a max of 2 challenges per game (one by each team). Also there would be a ton of strategy involved about when to use the challenge and some games where it may not be used, since some teams will save the challenge for late in the game.

  6. CFL replay rules could have saved the Saints

    ————————

    A box of tissues for them could save the rest of us from more of these articles.

  7. Yes the saints had multiple opportunities. In essence,however, they were tasked with winning twice. Hard to do against any team.

  8. Really hate the dopes who refer to the teams the NFL “wants” in the Super Bowl.
    It’s utter nonsense that the entire NFL favors any particular teams.

    Or tells the refs which ones they are.

    I mean if the league didn’t “want” the Saints, why didn’t they simply suspend the coach again.

  9. “You know that if the NFL adopted that rule, and the Saints had already used their challenge, you would still be arguing the the Saints were robbed.”

    Except it was under 2 mins so would have been reviewed from head office.

    3 things about the CFL rules from a CFL and NFL fan:

    1. Offensive and Defensive pass interference absolutely should be reviewable. Saves a lot of bad calls/non-calls.
    2. Offensive/Defensive holding absolutely should NOT be reviewable (it was for one season in the CFL and was a disaster with coaches fishing for calls away from the action to reverse big plays)
    3. Teams should have 2 challenges / game (same as before). When they reduced challenges in the CFL to 1/team/game (even if you get it right) team were often forced to use their one challenge on some obvious call in the first half and then they’re left with nothing all game even if the reffing is awful.

  10. Attention PFT: this is not the first time NFL referees have missed a call. It happens all of the time. They should’ve called Pass Interference but the Saints didn’t raise hell at the time of the missed call so it is a bit rich to make a big deal about it after you lose the game.

    The New England game was just as bad or even worse. Dee Ford was called for offsides only after his teammate intercepted Tom Brady. The flag was not immediately thrown and wouldn’t have been had Brady not been picked off.

  11. “Why stop there though? Canada’s minor football league has a ton of great ideas… How about a point for a touchback? Maybe we don’t need the extra down, either. Oh, I know, let’s have 8 teams called the Roughriders, but just with slightly different spellings. And then when people make fun of your Rough Riders, change it to something cool and meaningful, like RedBlacks.”

    At least in the CFL they still play special teams, and it’s not all fair catches, touchbacks and missed field goals.

  12. “Let’s just bring in a Canadian team to officiate the Super Bowl”

    Believe me when I say CFL refs are just as bad as the NFL refs were this year.

  13. I bet if this would have happened to the Patriots in their game and not the Saints they would have already scheduled the rematch with the Chiefs and changed the rules. I’m kidding either, I seriously believe that.

  14. The Refs have been ruining games for years and will continue to ruin games.

    Countless people have already tapped out after continuously wasting hours of their lives tricked into thinking they were watching players actions decide games only to realize “oh yeah that’s right, a few bad calls just flipped this and I can’t get this time back” before realizing they should be doing something more meaningful with their time.

    If you wait around for the NFL to “fix” anything you are going to be disappointed.

    Refball will continue and this conversation will deja vu on into eternity. Luckily for the NFL, the fans are already caught on the hook all the NFL has to do is reel you in year after year.

  15. Funny how no one can let a missed penalty call go when it happens to the Saints. But no one talked about it at all when the Saints hit Favre (then with the Vikings) high and low at the same time which should have resulted in a penalty at that time. That play ended the Vikings post-season and would have put the Vikings in field-goal range had the penalty been called. All this sympathy for the Saints? Where was the outcry when the roles were reversed?!

  16. While we’re rehashing this over and over, let’s include the NFC ‘Bounty Gate’ championship game in the discussion. Send all complaints to Karma.

  17. This sounds a lot like when Coca Cola, with 99% of the market, decided to change their formula to emulate the 1% of the market. Not saying NFL rules are all good, but don’t look to Canada for a change.

  18. Every time there is a pass defensed, the defending team has to hold its breath to see if a flag will be thrown. It is annoying.

    Now we want to add to that a delay while we hold our breath and see if the offensive team’s coach will throw his challenge flag? No thank you.

    This was one really really missed call, but the potential “fix” is much much worse.

  19. I am a Canadian who has seen the CFL system, and I think it’s actually way worse. I would rather have well-trained officials who use their judgment in those situations. Here is what will become the new norm – teams will save their one challenge for the end of every football game in case they are losing. If they are losing, they will throw an endzone bomb at the end of the game and challenge for PI every single time.

    I think the medicine is worse than the disease. Accept the fact that there are sometimes where officials have to make judgment calls. You can’t remove all judgment from the game.

  20. “In the CFL, coaches have the ability to challenge pass interference calls, with some limitations. ”
    =====================================

    Wait, since there was NO call. Can CFL coaches challenge something that wasn’t called in the first place? This is a slippery slope, because the Rams could have challenged the non-call facemask penalty

  21. The NFL is just ruining itself. I’ve watched for over 50 years and the game has lost a ton of integrity for me. What is the purpose of watching a 3.5 hour game to just have one or two bad calls ruin the WHOLE game?

  22. How about when the NFL reached into their bag of tricks to find a rule that no one knew even existed, then mis-applied it anyway, reversing a Tom Brady fumble and sending the Pats to their first Super Bowl win against the Rams, and the Raiders to 17 years of post-Gruden misery?

    Did you complain about that call then?

    No? then please let it go already.

    This Raider fan thanks you.

  23. The problem with allowing pass interference to be challenged is almost every play watched in slow motion has some degree of interference. Coaches will challenge as last ditch effort in a game. One Grey Cup was decided based on a pass interference challenge and it was a really ticky tacky call.

  24. CFL games are too long.. The solution the nfl should do is bring in one challenge for a officials messed up call and if the team challenges it and gets it wrong, it costs them a timeout.

  25. To be fair, if PI calls could be challenged, the Saints likely would have lost to Pittsburgh, and the NFC championship would have been in LA.

  26. Makes sense…check. Prevent embarrassing results…check. Working in Canada…oops. Bigger embarrassment to admit CFL has the answer. Must table for the next commissioner.

  27. Wait, since there was NO call. Can CFL coaches challenge something that wasn’t called in the first place? This is a slippery slope, because the Rams could have challenged the non-call facemask penalty”

    In the CFL you could have challenged both non-calls, and likely won both.

  28. Here’s an idea…just as (as someone once put it) the NBA ignores “time and space” when they “advance the ball” late in games, perhaps the NFL should penalize a team for taking a knee (or otherwise running a play that ends in the backfield on purpose) without a “good faith” effort to move beyond the line of scrimmage.

    Meaningful incentivizing rules? Perhaps immediate clock stoppage? Five yard penalty? Because running off, what, a maximum of 120 seconds (Two minutes out of a 15 minute period!) with no ACTION is not all that sporting, as well as anticlimactic.

  29. You said the CFL rules could have been used but then said the CFL rules allow a challenge for pass interference. But there was not a pass interference call, so if there is no call you can’t challenge it. As bad as the call was, and there are many, the NFL should not allow reviews for non calls.

  30. “You said the CFL rules could have been used but then said the CFL rules allow a challenge for pass interference. But there was not a pass interference call, so if there is no call you can’t challenge it. As bad as the call was, and there are many, the NFL should not allow reviews for non calls.”

    That is not the rule in the CFL.

    You can challenge that pass interference occurred or did not occur, whether it’s called or not called.

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