MAJOR MEA CULPA
CFL admits official blew critical call against Bombers, but Blue concede they made their own share of mistakes
THE CFL issued a statement Saturday admitting its officials blew a crucial call in Friday night’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ 25-23 loss to the Calgary Stampeders at Investors Group Field. Here’s the statement in its entirety: “Near the conclusion of last night’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers vs. Calgary Stampeders game in Winnipeg, an illegal procedure call had a significant impact on the game. Our review of the call has concluded it was an incorrect call. The official who made it is being disciplined in accordance with the gravity of the situation.”
A “no end” call on Bombers receiver Darvin Adams on a third-and-one play late in the fourth quarter negated a first down and forced Winnipeg to instead attempt a 50-yard game-tying field goal.
Place kicker Lirim Hajrullahu missed the kick and the Bombers fell to 4-9 with the loss.
Head coach Mike O’Shea was adamant after the game Adams confirmed with a line judge on the play he was lined up on the line of scrimmage as required — a contention TSN replays appeared to confirm.
The replays appeared to show Adams checking with the official and the official pointing at Adams as though to confirm he was properly lined up.
The call cost the Bombers a first down on the Calgary 36-yard line with 50 seconds to play, plenty of time to either engineer a winning touchdown drive or at least attempt a game-tying field goal from a more makeable distance.
Bombers CEO Wade Miller issued a statement after the league’s mea culpa:
“We’re deeply disappointed in what happened last night regarding the officiating error, as acknowledged by the league today. While we understand that mistakes happen, it is extremely frustrating for our organization, and our fans, that it occurred at such a crucial point in the game, and our season.”
Sources said members of the Stampeders coaching staff commiserated with the Bombers coaching staff on the field following the game, advising the Winnipeg coaches they also felt the official had blown the call.
The CFL under director of officiating Glen Johnson has moved to a zero-tolerance policy for even the most minor of on-field infractions. That’s resulted in significantly more penalties being called this season than in prior years and has led to petty infractions that have nothing to do with the outcome of a play — such as when Adams lined up his toe along the sideline on a quarterback sneak — being called where they would have been ignored in previous years.
The impact of the blown call goes beyond one play or even one loss. Winnipeg is hosting the Grey Cup game in November and desperately needed a win Friday to keep its playoff hopes alive and their local fan base interested and buying Grey Cup tickets, 12,000 of which remained unsold at last report.
Blue Bombers head coach Mike O’Shea displays his usual countenance.