NOTE: The Rules Committee has declared its total abhorrence of Rough Play and Unnecessary Roughness. Officials are instructed that no tolerance whatsoever is to be given to infractions under this Section.
A player shall be penalized and subject to disqualification for any act of rough play against an opponent, including but not limited to:
PENALTY: L25 and disqualification of offending player
If Team B is the offending team on a play from scrimmage, Team A shall be awarded a first down in addition to the yardage penalty.
When a player has been disqualified, the Referee shall inform the coaches of both teams and the official scorer.
In the event of dual fouls under this Article 2, the offending players shall be disqualified and penalties balanced at the point of application. If the fouls occur on a scrimmage play, Team A shall not be awarded a first down by virtue of the penalty against Team B.
Roughing the Passer
Delivering a direct blow to the passer’s head or neck area with the helmet when the offender has a clear view to the passer and there are no mitigating circumstances.
Spearing Delivering a spear to an opponent’s head or neck area when the offender has a clear view to the opponent and there are no mitigating circumstances.
PENALTY: Team A – L25
Team B – L25 and AFD
Any player called for two Grade 2 Unnecessary Roughness fouls in the same game will be disqualified from that game.
A player shall be penalized for any act of unnecessary roughness against an opponent, including but not limited to:
Using the helmet as the initial or primary point of contact to butt, ram, spear, or deliver a blow to an opponent who is in a vulnerable position, including but not limited to, a passer, a receiver in the act of catching a pass, a ball carrier in the grasp of another tackler or a ball carrier on the playing surface not attempting to advance,
NOTE: The expanded definitions of butt, ram and spear are:
Butt: When a player suddenly and quickly moves their head to strike an opponent with their helmet or face mask.
Ram: When a player who is in motion and on their feet uses their helmet as the primary point of contact to deliver a blow to an opponent. If the facemask is the initial point of contact on the opponent, it shall not be a penalty under this rule.
Spear: When a player uses the top of their helmet as the primary point of contact to deliver a blow to an opponent.
PENALTY: Team A - L15
If both teams offend, the penalties shall be applied against each other but Team A shall not be awarded a first down by virtue of the penalty to Team B.
Because the act of passing puts the passer in a particularly vulnerable position to injury, special rules against roughing the passer apply. Once the ball is released, defensive players must avoid all unnecessary contact with the passer. A player shall be penalized for any act of Unnecessary Roughness to the passer, including but not limited to:
Blocking an opponent, other than the ball carrier, from the rear in such a manner that the player charges into the opponent's back or falls across the back of the legs.
Where it is legal to block an opponent below the waist, the block must be delivered to the front plane of the body of the opponent for it to be legal. When a block is delivered below the waist, the front and back planes of the body shall be defined by a line that passes through the centre of the body.
The application of this penalty is determined by the initial contact, which must be observed by the official, and shall not be called if, in the judgment of the official:
It shall be illegal for a Team A player who moves from a position more than 3 yards outside the offensive tackle towards the ball snap position, at any angle, to deliver a forcible block or block an opponent below the waist in an area up to 5 yards in advance of the line of scrimmage from sideline to sideline.
Chop blocking means contacting an opponent at or below the knees at the time that opponent is already being engaged by another player, with or without actual physical contact.
It shall be illegal to contact an opponent at or below the knees when that opponent is:
It shall be illegal for a Team A player that started in the Close Line Play Area to deliver a block below the waist to a Team B player in the offensive backfield while moving towards his own Dead Ball Line on an opponent who he is not currently engaged with (with or without contact).
It shall be illegal for defensive players to push-block a teammate towards the other team’s dead ball line on any play where the offense lines up in a place kick formation including kicked convert attempts and field goal attempts.
It shall be illegal to block an opponent below the waist in the following circumstances:
It shall be illegal for any player to deliver a forcible block on an opponent while moving back towards their own dead ball line anywhere on the field.
It shall be illegal to use a whipping motion to deliver a blow to an opponent with the leg or foot while executing a roll block or while on the ground or on the way to the ground.
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Content compiled and written by Jeff Harbin et (sic) Andre Proulx
The CFL Official Rule Book is published annually by the Canadian Football League. Any inquiries regarding the CFL Official Playing Rules may be directed to Darren Hackwood, Associate Vice-President of Officiating at firstname.lastname@example.org. Any inquiries regarding CFL Statistical Scoring Rules may be directed to Jeff Krever, Head, CFL Player and Game Statistics at email@example.com.