Week 4 Preview

Dear CFL:

If you have to create infographics of penalties, you obviously:

a) think you have a problem; and

b) want to make it clear that you’re not the source of the problem.

Needless to say, we all have yelled ‘C’MON REF!‘ at some point early on in this season.

Personally, I have been rather frustrated with the amount of penalty flags I see each and every game.

And I’m faaaaaaaaaaaar from the only one.

So, in response to those who think that the referees have been abusing their penalty powers, the CFL released these infographics yesterday:


(You know, these infographics might be the most professional material the CFL has ever put out.)

My first question in looking at these infographics is since when do we refer to penalties as fouls?

My second question is: aren’t roughness fouls also preventable fouls?  I would think that shoving a guy after the whistle is somewhat preventable.

My third question is what is a technical foul? And really, aren’t all fouls predictable and therefore preventable in some way?  If a kicker kicks a kickoff (heh) out of bounds, it may be more of a technical foul because there isn’t any roughness involved, and it’s not as if the kicker wanted the ball to go out of bounds.  But couldn’t it have been prevented had the kicker kicked the ball better?  Maybe he should’ve squib kicked it if there’s a substantial wind…


The CFL’s argument is that nearly 60% of the penalty flags that have been thrown thus far this season didn’t need to be thrown.  And of those, only a small fraction have anything to do with the new rules.

While I would agree with this in part, the fact is that more penalties are being called in general according to someone who has a lot more time on their hands than me. It’ll be interesting to watch how this analysis changes as the season goes on.

Regardless, the CFL and its players need to figure out how to deal with the epidemic of penalty flags, because nobody has enjoyed watching these flag fests over the past couple of weeks – not even ME.

Here are this week’s games:

Week 4

And here are your previews:

  • The Kitty Cats come off a bye week where they said BUH BYE to running back Nic Grigsby ($10 says he ends up with the Riders by Labour Day).  The Als are smarting a bit after losing a close game to those awful Blue Bumblers.  While the Cats are a better team on paper and also have game-breaker Brandon Banks (hmmm…he needs a nickname), the Als are rather formidable when they’re playing at home.  So…I’m going to go out on a limb and say Montreal wins this one. Prediction: Montreal by 4
  • I can’t believe the spread in this game is only 3.5 points – especially after the Schmoes shredded the RODBLACKS last week.  I think this is the week where we actually find out if the RODBLACKS are, as they say, ‘for real’ (I hate that phrase), or if they’re the scout team I think they are.  I still don’t think that MATTY ICE (Matt Nichols) is a good QB.  Must I link to the most hilarious interception you may ever see to prove my point?  Okay.  I will.  The Schmoes’ defensive was back in gear last week, but I expect the RODBLACKS to come out with a bit more fire since they’re playing at home.  Nevertheless, the Schmoes will still win this game.  Prediction: Edmonton by 12
  • What can I tell you about this game that you don’t already know?  I can tell you that Weldon Brown won’t be suiting up for the Riders again this season.  And I can tell you that this spells trouble.  Up until he had to leave last week’s game due to injury, he had pretty much shut down Emmanuel Arceneaux.  I fear the same won’t occur this week.  For some reason the Lions don’t run the ball much, which I always think is a mistake because Andrew Harris is a goooood running back.  So let’s put it this way: if the Lions start running the ball, the Riders are going to have even more problems.  The Riders are desperate to win at home and keep the boo birds at bay.  Therefore, I think they Riders will play ‘not to lose’ instead of ‘to win,’ and that never works out well.  Prediction: BC by 6
  • The Stumps have juuuuuuuuuuuust been getting by the last couple of weeks.  A one point win over the Kitty Cats and a five point win over the Arblows doesn’t exactly scream ‘COMMANDING’.  Maybe it’s still a bit of a Grey Cup hangover, but they’re just not all that sharp.  Lucky for them, though, they get to play the Bumblers.  The Bumblers have shown that their defence will make teams pay for their mistakes, so if the Stumps’ offence can keep from turning over the ball, the Stumps should cruise to a win.  Plus, I just don’t think that Free (Drew) Willy will be able to put up enough offence to keep pace with the Stumps. Prediction: Calgary by 10

2015 CFL Preview – Part 1 of 4

One of my work colleagues said he was waiting with ‘bated breath’ (a turn of phrase that I did not believe he had in his vocabulary) for my first CFL note of the year.  And why was he so excited?

Because it’s…


Why yes it is – and it’s about time!

After what felt like an interminably looooooooooong off season, CFL training camps finally got underway this past weekend. And that means three four things:

1. The hockey season is almost done (THANK GOODNESS).

2. Summer is (supposedly) here.

3. Your email inbox will be filled with CFL-centric missives for the next 6 months if you subscribe to this here blog.

4. AND, I will spend an inordinate amount of time writing said CFL-centric missives and finding appropriate pictures to post with them.

Don’t you love this time of year??

As part of my four-part series (yes, four (4) part series) setting up the 2015 CFL season, this week we’ll look at the new rules being implemented by the CFL and highlight a few of the other important changes that occurred around the league during the off-season.

Rule Changes

Kim Murphy and all other CFL refereeing crews are going to be busy this year. (John Mahoney / THE GAZETTE)

The most obvious rule change is moving the convert after a touchdown back to the 32 yard line from the 12 yard line. ‎This is supposed to make single point converts less automatic and tempt coaches to go for a two-point convert more often. Helping make the choice to go for two even more tempting is the rule change bringing the scrimmage for a two-point conversion up to the three yard line, from the five yard line. Personally, I don’t have any major issues with these changes. The two-point convert option is underutilized and it’s a far more exciting play than lining up for a regular convert.

The other major rule change is prohibiting any contact between a receiver and a defender five yards past the line of scrimmage. To me, this change is a complete overreaction to the lack of offence last season. The lack of offence last year can be rather easily explained by the number of starting QBs that suffered major injuries and the number of rookie starting QBs.‎ People will be frustrated for the first half of the season as flags fly on every other play. Defenders will get used to the rule, but it will take some time – and fans will have to be patient. Get ready for some long games during the first few weeks of the season as everyone adjusts to the new rule and Jake ‘Methuselah’ Ireland (he’s gotta be 90 years old by now) and his crew in the CFL Command Centre figure out how to interpret it.

New Commissioner

Quote from a colleague: “He’s done more with his law degree than I have.”

Jeffrey L. Orridge (who, like a true lawyer, still uses his middle initial – even in press releases) was appointed CFL Commissioner earlier this year.  As an American and Harvard law grad, he wasn’t on anybody’s list of top choices for the Commissioner job. A closer look at his resume, though, shows that he brings a wealth of corporate sports experience, including at the international level, and a unique set of skills to the top job. He’ll need those skills to fill the shoes of the affable Mark Cohon, who was a fan favourite.

Other notable league-wide events:

  • The Arblows finally found a home. After a protracted negotiation, MLSE bought Toronto’s least favourite team. The Arblows should fit in well with MLSE’s other commodity, the Leafs – Canada’s least favourite (and most grammatically incorrect) team. The Arblows’ eventual move to BMO Field will hopefully right their sinking ship like it did for Les Alouettes. Regardless, it’s nice to have all nine CFL teams owned by ‎nine different owners again and end the multi-year conflict of interest.
  • The CFL extended its broadcast deal with TSN through 2021. ‎ Unfortunately this probably won’t motivate TSN to get rid of Rod Black anytime soon.

Next time I’ll preview the East Division.