MA­JOR MEA CULPA

CFL ad­mits of­fi­cial blew crit­i­cal call against Bombers, but Blue con­cede they made their own share of mis­takes

SundayXtra - - FRONT PAGE - By Paul Wiecek [email protected]­ress.mb.ca Twit­ter: @PaulWiecek

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.

JOHN WOODS / THE CANA­DIAN PRESS FILES

Blue Bombers head coach Mike O’Shea dis­plays his usual coun­te­nance.

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