I am sure you have heard by now the buzz we have created by landing an exclusive interview with Tom Higgins, the Director of Officiating for the Canadian Football League.
The buzz is probably because he rarely gives interviews and is seldom seen on any of the sports networks in Canada unless he has to respond to a controversial call by one of his officials, and that certainly was the case in the final few seconds of the game between the Eskimos and the Alouettes, where a possible game winning touchdown was scored by the Eskimos and not reviewed by the command centre. The Alouettes go ahead touchdown play was in fact reviewed and awarded to them. Clearly the final outcome of the fame was decided by these two calls by the officials.
We will be asking Tom Higgins about those controversial last few seconds, as well as other pertinent questions. Here is my list of questions, and I would ask you to submit yours, should you not be able to get through. Once our lines are open I expect a full board.
1. My first question for you tonight Tom is one that I know you responded to on TSN, which of course is a Canadian sports television network. For the benefit of our American listeners who saw the game on NBC Sports, why was the previous Montreal touchdown reviewed by the command centre and not the Eskimo touchdown play?
2. What are the essential differences between the CFL Rules and the NFL Rules on the following:
a. Length of Field
b. Number of Downs
c. Number of Players
d. Time Outs
e. Line of Scrimmage
f. Length of Time in Huddle
g. Punt Returns & Blocking
h. Missed Field Goals
i. Punts to the End Zone
j. Play Clocks
k. Roughing the Passer
3. Why has there been an abundance of calls made this year by the officials. One commentator in the Esks/Montreal game counted 10 penalties in the first 10 minutes of the first quarter, to which he said “At this rate we will be here to midnight”. They were mostly offsides, illegal procedure, or holding . Now given this was broadcast to a U.S.TV audience, our listeners are asking us why so many calls? One listener told us that there were only three flags in the entire first quarter of the first exhibtion game of the season between the Dallas Cowboys and the Miami Dolphins.
Is this a case of players not having enough exhibition games, because they only get two in the CFL, players just playing poorly, or your officials being told to call everything, even border line calls???
4. What is the new rule this year regarding roughing the quarterback?
5. How do you pick CFL officials?
6. What training do CFL Officials go through?
7, Do they work full time as officials during the football season?
8. How much do CFL Officials get paid? How much more or less do NFL officials make?
9. How are officials evaluated?
10. Is there a policy regarding the dismissal of certain officials? Who makes that decision and what is the firing process?
11. How do you decide which officials get to referee which games?
We may not get to all these questions and so I encourage listeners to send yours in and we will try and balance our questions with yours.