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

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

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

Just Posted

Shirley Falstead is running for city council in the byelection. Photo: Submitted
Shirley Falstead enters Castlegar council race

Shirley Falstead is the first candidate to aim for the council seat in byelection

This Dec. 2, 2020, file photo provided by Johnson & Johnson shows vials of the COVID-19 vaccine in the United States. (Johnson & Johnson via AP)
Interior Health notes 80 new COVID-19 cases over the weekend

108 people in the region have died from the virus

Selkirk College’s Tenth St. Campus in Nelson is among the locations where Interior Health will deliver the COVID-19 vaccine within the West Kootenay. Photo: Selkirk College
West Kootenay vaccine locations announced

Interior Health has released a list of places to receive the COVID-19 vaccine

A West Kootenay man died in an avalanche on March 4 while snowmobiling near Mount Payne, which is indicted by the red flag. Illustration: Google Maps
Father of 3 dead after avalanche in West Kootenay

The man was snowmobiling with a group when incident occurred March 4

Last week warming temperatures were a concern for Avalanche Canada forecasters, and those trends likely contributed to an avalanche that killed a West Kootenay snowmobiler on Thursday, March 4. Jen Coulter file photo.
Warming trend contributed to Kaslo fatality: Avalanche Canada

Concern for persistent layers has reduced since then

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

Montreal Canadiens right wing Paul Byron (41) fights for control of the puck with Vancouver Canucks defenceman Quinn Hughes (43) during first period NHL action in Vancouver, Monday, March 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Captain Clutch: Horvat nets shootout winner as Canucks edge Habs 2-1

Vancouver, Montreal tangle again on Wednesday

A special committee has been appointed to look at reforming B.C.’s police act and is inviting the public to make submissions until April 30, 2021. (Black Press media file)
Have thoughts on B.C.’s review of the provincial Police Act?

Submissions will be accepted until April 30

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Cottonwoods Care Home in Kelowna. (Google Maps)
New COVID-19 outbreak at Kelowna care home includes fully vaccinated seniors: Henry

Two staff and 10 residents tested positive at Cottonwoods Care Centre

Excerpts from a conversation between Bria Fisher and the fake truLOCAL job. Fisher had signed a job agreement and was prepared to start work for what she thought was truLOCAL before she learned it was a scam. (Contributed)
B.C. woman warning others after losing $3,000 in job scam

Bria Fisher was hired by what she thought was a Canadian company, only to be out thousands

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix provide a regular update on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, March 2, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 cases: 545 Saturday, 532 Sunday, 385 Monday

Focus on Prince Rupert, Lower Mainland large workplaces

Rising accident rates and payout costs have contributed to billion-dollar deficits at ICBC. (Comox Valley Record)
B.C. appealing decision keeping ICBC injury cases in court

David Eby vows to ‘clip wings’ of personal injury lawyers

Most Read