CFL will use extra on-field official to watch for illegal blows to quarterback

If the extra official sees an illegal blow that has not already been flagged, they will advise the head referee, who can then assess a penalty for roughing the passer

The Canadian Football League will add an extra official to the field for the rest of the playoffs to watch for any blows delivered to the head or neck of a quarterback.

The development comes after Saskatchewan Roughriders quarterback Brandon Bridge was hit late in the fourth quarter of last weekend’s West semifinal loss to Winnipeg. Bridge was rocked by a helmet-to-helmet hit from Jackson Jeffcoat, who was not penalized as the head referee’s view was blocked on the play.

If the extra official sees an illegal blow that has not already been flagged, they will advise the head referee, who can then assess a penalty for roughing the passer, the league said Thursday.

“It is very important that this sort of potentially dangerous play is penalized on the field in addition to being subject to supplementary discipline,” CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie said in a statement. ”Not only is it important to the integrity of the game, it can act as a deterrent. That is why we are adding an additional set of eyes, with a strictly limited but well-defined mandate, to our officiating crew.

READ MORE: Heading soccer balls can cause damage to brain cells: UBC study

“No system is fail-safe and no human is incapable of error. And nothing we do on player safety should be held up as the ultimate solution. Our approach must constantly evolve. But we believe this is a step forward. We will continue to look for ways to not only penalize dangerous play but, more importantly, prevent it.”

At a team availability on Tuesday, Bridge said that he underwent concussion testing following the hit, but was feeling better and could have played this weekend if the Roughriders had won.

The Blue Bombers will visit the Calgary Stampeders in the West final on Sunday while the Ottawa Redblacks will host the Hamilton Tiger-Cats for the East crown.

The extra official will have no other responsibilities and cannot suggest or call a penalty for other infractions. The league said it will discuss the change in the off-season with the Canadian Football League Players’ Association and the league’s rules committee, officials and governors.

“We’d like to think that the recent attention given to player safety can prompt a change for the better,” said CFLPA executive director Brian Ramsay. ”However, it’s what is not being talked about that concerns our members. If the league and team management were really serious about improving player safety, they would agree with our long-held complaint that the league’s 11-person rules committee has only one player representative. The other 10 are all appointed by league management.

“That committee should and does have the power to set the rules and standards that have a direct impact on player safety. Moreover, players should have an equal voice on that committee. Currently, that isn’t happening, which only raises questions in our minds about the real priority given to player safety.”

The Grey Cup is set for Nov. 25 at Edmonton.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Interior Health will not expand Police and Crisis Team

Southeast Division Chief Superintendent Brad Haugli asked IH to expand the program

Rosslanders celebrate Canada Day in style

Locals organized a museum scavenger hunt, a Mt. Roberts flag-raising ceremony and evening fireworks

Hwy 1 flooding causes massive delays on certain Arrow Lakes ferry routes

Motorists have been waiting around three hours to get on ferries

Rossland Museum and Discovery Centre expands operations online

The facility also opened back up to the public earlier in June

Rossland’s Sourdough Alley a ‘muddy collection of shacks’

Rossland’s earliest thoroughfare was once derided as a ‘muddy collection of shacks’

VIDEO: Musqueam Chief captures captivating footage of bald eagle catching meal

‘This is why we have chosen to live here since time immemorial,’ Chief Wayne Sparrow’s nephew says

Police ramp up efforts to get impaired drivers off B.C. roads this summer

July is dedicated to the Summer CounterAttack Impaired Driving Campaign

Migrant workers stage multi-city action for full status amid COVID-19 risks

‘COVID-19 has exacerbated an existing crisis’

Okanagan school drops ‘Rebels’ sports team name, citing links with U.S. Civil War

Name and formerly-used images “fly in the face” of the district’s human rights policy, says board chair

PHOTOS: B.C.’s top doc picks up personalized Fluevog shoes, tours mural exhibition

Murals of Gratitude exhibit includes at least one portrait of Henry alongside paintings of health-care workers

In troubled times: Independence Day in a land of confusion

Buffeted by invisible forces and just plain worn out, the United States of America celebrates its 244th birthday

Stop enforcing sex work laws during COVID-19, advocates say

There are provisions in Canada’s prostitution laws that make workers immune from prosecution, but not from arrest

Liberal party finished 2019 having spent $43 million, raised $42 million

All political parties had until midnight June 30 to submit their financial reports for last year

B.C. teacher loses licence after sexual relationships with two recently-graduated students

The teacher won’t be allowed to apply for a teaching certificate until 2035

Most Read