Send No Yards To The Graveyard

Guest Blogger | Updated Aug 18, 2011

Written by Guest Blogger: Mitchell Blair

CFL Commissioner Marc Cohon is one who will ask the fans for rule changes to make his game better. Suggestions by the fans have resulted in some changes that have made the game better, but one suggestion this fan has made has not yet made it. That suggestion involves no yards and the removal of it altogether.

No yards is simply a judgment call by officials that as some CFL fans will attest provide nothing but comedy relief. There are too many times when I watch games where the return team is seemingly out of the five yard zone that is needed but a penalty flag still flies. Unless a player is standing right on top of the returner, I don’t know how an official can determine that a player is five yards away from the ball –especially when the ball is bouncing around as well.

Yes, I realize that some will think I am trying to Americanize the game by calling for a fair catch or something, but I am not advocating that either. What I am calling for is that returners be given a chance to return the football by being allowed to catch it. If he is interfered with, the kicking team should be given a 15 yard penalty. This could result in some hellacious hits being leveled on returners, but again if the hit is determined to be malicious in nature, it will cost the kicking team 15 yards.

If the ball bounces whether it be forwards or backwards, the play continues until the ball has either been played or has been touched by a member of the kicking team. Yes, that would result in a penalty as well towards the kicking team, but that team does not want the ball rolling back towards their own goal-line especially when the wind is a factor which it can be during CFL games—especially at Mosaic Stadium.

I find the no yards rule to be tedious. There is way too much gray matter involved in calling the penalty. There is also no consistency in calling the penalty which is why I think it should be scrapped altogether. I realize there is no consistency when it comes to pass interference as well, but that’s a whole other barrel of monkeys. The bottom line is no yards is too judgmental, especially once the football has hit the turf. There is no need for it. The NFL doesn’t have a problem with punt returns and lack of them so I don’t think it would hurt the CFL return game. C’mon Commissioner Cohon, lets abolish no yards at least for one year and see what happens.