In-helmet headsets included in new CFL rules
Published Wednesday, June 30, 2010 11:20AM PDT
CFL quarterbacks will be hearing voices this season.
For the first time in CFL history, quarterbacks will wear helmets fitted with special headsets that will allow coaches to talk with them between plays. The league believes the move will improve both communication with quarterbacks and as well as the flow of a game.
"With the 20-second play clock anything we can do to help the offences get out of the huddle and speed the tempo up is good for the game," said Winnipeg quarterback Buck Pierce. "Getting out of the huddle and up and down the field is what the CFL is all about and this will increase that process."
Veteran Anthony Calvillo of the Montreal Alouettes agrees.
"It just gets you the play a lot quicker," he said. "It'll get you in and out of the huddle a lot quicker."
But Eskimos coach Richie Hall worries about the system breaking down during games so he'll still have hand signals and his quarterbacks will wear wristbands, just in case.
Each team will have three helmets specially fitted with the headsets, one for each quarterback that's dressed, but only one system will be active on the field.
Coaches on the field and up in a spotter's booth will be able to talk to the quarterback, but communication will only be one way. There will be no microphone in the player's helmet.
The system will be active once a team gains possession of the ball but will be turned off when there's 10 seconds remaining on the play clock. The signal won't be switched on again until the play has been whistled dead by the officials.
This will be conducted by a league official located in the stadium. The signal will be monitored and recorded at the CFL's command centre to ensure fair operation.
The specially equipped helmets will be marked with an identifying decal.
But the addition of headsets won't be the only new rule unveiled in 2010 by the CFL.
In overtime, teams that score a touchdown will have to go for a two-point convert instead of kicking the ball through the uprights. The rule change was among those suggested for overtime by fans from across Canada.
It marked the second straight year the CFL adopted a rule change first suggested by its fans.
As well, teams that give up a field goal will have the choice now of making the scoring team kick off or taking possession at their own 35-yard line instead of the ball automatically being kicked off.
In other changes, there will be no interference calls made on passes deemed uncatchable and, on a punt, if the ball hits the ground and strikes a member of the cover team, it will result in a five-yard penalty instead of a 15-yard penalty.