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

Just Posted

Vernon product Quinn Jones, better known as Jaq Havoq, released his sophomore album Mood Swings ahead of fall 2020. (Contributed)
Vernon product drops sophomore album

Jaq Havoq examines love, heartache and depression in Mood Swings

Vernon once again boasts the lowest gas prices in B.C. Oct. 20, 2020. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Vernon boasts lowest gas prices in B.C.

Gas going up, and down, throughout the North Okanagan

The body of Natsumi Kogawa, 30, was found in the Gabriola Mansion on Davie Street, Vancouver, in September 2016. Vernon man William Schneider, who was found guilty of second-degree murder, now awaits the decision of his appeal hearing Monday, Oct. 19, 2020. (Vancouver Police Department photo)
No decision yet for Vernon man appealing murder sentence

William Victor Schneider was convicted in relation to Natsumi Kogawa’s death in 2016

An early morning fire destroyed the Willems Fire Products mill Friday, Oct. 16. (Contributed)
Fire claims longtime Lumby mill

Go Fund Me established to help family-owned business rebuild

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP received footage of a suspect vehicle littering hate flyers around 21st Avenue in Vernon Oct. 17, 2020. (RCMP)
WATCH: Footage offers lead in hate-fuelled flyer probe: Vernon Mounties

Vernon police received footage of an older model green truck distributing flyers in the early morning hours Saturday

FILE – People wait in line at a COVID-19 testing facility in Burnaby, B.C., on Thursday, August 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
167 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death recorded as B.C. enters 2nd wave

Three new healthcare outbreaks also announced

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A 20-year-old man was pronounced dead following a three vehicle collision on Highway 1 west of Revelstoke Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020. (File photo)
One dead after Highway 1 crash near Revelstoke

20-year-old man pronounced dead at the scene of a three vehicle collision west of Revelstoke

Steven Stuart Gardner has been charged with possession of a firearm contrary to an order and possession of a firearm without a licence. He has also been charged, under the Motor Vehicle Act, with driving while prohibited. (Crime Stoppers photo)
Car connected to shooting, dumped in Chase leads to unrelated arrest

Investigation of Kamloops shooting leads police to a rural Chase property

Volunteer registered nurse Stephanie Hamilton recieves a swab from a driver as she works at a Covid-19 testing site in the parking lot at Everett Memorial Stadium on Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020 in Everett, Washington. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
13 more COVID-19 cases in Interior Health region

There are 624 cases in the region since the start of the pandemic

This 2020 electron microscope image made available by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases shows a Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 particle isolated from a patient, in a laboratory in Fort Detrick, Md. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-NIAID/NIH via AP
At least 49 cases of COVID-19 linked to wedding in Calgary: Alberta Health

McMillan says the city of Calgary has recently seen several outbreaks linked to social gatherings

École de L’Anse-au-sable. (Google Maps)
COVID-19 confirmed at Kelowna Francophone school

École de L’Anse-au-sable is not affiliated with local SD23

UBC geoscientists discovered the wreckage of a decades-old crash during an expedition on a mountain near Harrison Lake. (Submitted photo)
Wreckage of decades-old plane crash discovered on mountain near Harrison Lake

A team of Sts’ailes Community School students helped discover the twisted metal embedded in a glacier

To guarantee water supply in 1933, Summerland’s Dominion Research Station (now Summerland Research and Development Centre) installed its own Okanagan Lake pumping station. Today, all communities on Okanagan Lake use lake water to supplement their water systems, except the District of Summerland. (Photo courtesy Summerland Museum)
Dominion Research Station once drew water from Okanagan Lake

In 1930s, facility in Summerland used lake water to have a guaranteed supply

Most Read