Schultz: Penalties, challenge system taking fun out of CFL

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Chris Schultz
7/21/2014 9:35:42 PM
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What concerns me heading into the fifth week of football is the pace of the game and consequently it's entertainment value.
 
Maybe it is because in NFL football the money is so big and they have such an immense population base to work with the entertainment value is never evaluated, but in this league it always is.
 
The two reasons for concern are penalties and the challenge system.
 
Penalties have hurt games this year. In week 4 there were 90 penalties called for 773 yards. That averages to 23 a game and 193 yards. Too much.
 
Each game had at least 20 penalties when you combine two teams and six of eight teams last week had 10 or more. Now you can blame the refs but they do have to call what they see because if they don't they won't be CFL refs for much longer.
 
I thought Hamilton coach Kent Austin summed it up the best talking about the Tiger-Cats' 10-7 loss in Calgary. In reference to his player he had the quote "they are paid to perform, they are paid to produce and they are paid to win."
 
They are also paid to take as few penalties as possible to perform, produce and win. In the world of excess penalties and consequence of boring football it is not about referees, it is about the quality of the player. And that is truly both sides of the border. Teams lost seven full lengths of the football field last week. Too much.               
 
Next concern is the challenge system on pass interference and other situations. I don't like it.
 
I am all for it in playoff football to a high degree but it takes too long to go through the process and when not reversed seems like a waste of time. And the referee has no choice but to get it right in under as little time as possible.
 
I do remember the Alouettes and Ticats last year and if there was a challenge system it would have been Montreal playing Saskatchewan in the 101 Grey Cup. That was a playoff game and that is my main point.
 
Playoffs only, and if you want to challenge the coin flip to start the game, do it!
 
Playoff football must be perfect, regular season football not so much.
 
I am optimistic as the season moves on the challenge system will reach as close to perfection as possible as defensive backs adjust and perfect their craft. But man and I have to be honest here, it grinds the game to the point I am grinding my teeth.
 
The quality of football is about the quality of the football player.
 
Great players produce exceptional games because they know how to play the game as close to perfect as possible. Right now it's far from perfect and here is hoping it changes fast.
 
 Nothing is more important to the football fan, and that includes me too.
Swayze Waters (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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