The Illegal Movement Fluctuation

Published on October 8, 2016 8:26 PM by dbo.

In Week 14, an Illegal Movement penalty was called on Hamilton centre Mike Filer on third down late in a close game against Saskatchewan Sept. 24th. Unfortunately, rather than serve as a resource to educate and calm fans, CFLdb became a source of misinformation.

Rule 4 — Section 2 — Articles 1 and 2 of the 2016 Official CFL Rulebook reproduced on CFLdb were not updated to changes introduced in 2009 and 2011. In 2009, Article 2, point (a) referencing illegal tactics by the offence to draw the defence offside added the phrase “… or moves the ball forward.” In 2011, Article 1 added the sentence “The Centre may adjust the ball for the purpose of snapping it, but such adjustment is limited to one time.” Both these changes were missing from the 2016 and 2015 versions of the CFL Rulebook reproduced on CFLdb.

CFLdb deeply regrets the missing information which misrepresented the 2016 Rulebook to those referencing it. I am greatly embarrassed by such inaccuracies on the site. All versions of the rulebook on the site have now been updated to reflect the published versions for this error. I offer my sincerest apology to those who viewed the incorrect version.

How This Happened

It appears a combination of missed yearbooks, changes not being copied forward and a physical copy lead to this change being dropped from the rulebook reproduced on CFLdb. Only one version, 2013, contained the additions. I rely on the changes in the rulebook from year-to-year to be identified by bold print. In the case of the 2011 change, it was not bolded nor referenced on the 2011 Rule Changes summary page. As for the 2009 change, it was bolded in the text but not referenced on the 2009 Rule Changes summary page. As the first updated rulebook added to the site, the process for updating the site was not perfected for detecting all changes. More recently I have been trying comparisons to detect changes such as this. These changes still were overlooked by this process. More work will be done to try to find ways to detect missing text as well as text that has been deleted.

When the penalty was called, I knew there had been a rule added for the infraction despite the proclaimed ignorance of the rule by the broadcast team. I did not attempt to look it up. As is the norm, the site received a lot of traffic from people searching for the rule, since it is so rarely called and therefore not familiar to most fans. It wasn’t until some time later (within 24 hours) I decided to look for the rule when it appeared visitors were not able to find it. I then realized the rulebook was incorrect, but was unfortunately too busy to research and correct immediately. The furor died down and the priority dropped. I expected someone to review the official 2016 CFL Rulebook in pdf format and report the issue. No one did. I went about correcting it today.

What Next

I do not follow any fan discussion across the Internet on these CFL topics, however, I expect this was much discussed. For those that used the incorrect version of Rule 4 Section 2 published on CFLdb to claim this was an incorrect call (and by extension proved bias or incompetence) and made accusations or other statements against the CFL, CFL officials or others, I hope you can find it in yourselves to apologize, even silently, to them and place the blame on CFLdb. Forum posts and other publications should be updated accordingly, and the blame laid at the feet of CFLdb, which provided the misinformation. CFLdb bares the full responsibility for the misinformation causing fans to believe no such rule existed. If you believe that it was still an incorrect call, I can’t help you there, but CFLdb can still be blamed for the misinformation that may have been quoted.

The CFL and CFL officials take enough criticism, most undeservedly, and do not warrant additional recrimination for a mistake on my part. If you want to argue the fraction was not committed, that’s OK, with the understanding it is a subjective call. Comments that accuse the league or officials of incompetence for calling a rule that does not exist, however, should not stand.


As you can see, eyeballs are needed for verification of data on the site. CFLdb is focused on improving the engine that drives the site, and to allow that focus, needs more assistance in reviewing additions and reporting errors. If you see an error, please report it. If you would like to assist in verification, please contact me to confirm work required. Gifts are often provided to major contributors.


Comments are closed.


The Illegal Movement Fluctuation was published on October 8, 2016 8:26 PM by dbo.

812 words.

This article is categorized under and tagged with rules.

Related Stuff