In May, NFL owners voted to allow their teams to use sideline video this preseason as part of an ongoing trial began in 2015; but did not authorize use during the regular season, tabling that decision until after this season.
The NCAA recently voted to allow their teams to begin using video during games in the 2017 season, in the coaches booths and in the locker room.
Well, the CFL just jumped right ahead of both. CFL teams, through a league-wide deal with market leader SkyCoach, have already begun using instant replay at practice and tonight, in the CFL preseason opener, will begin using it on the sidelines during games. SkyCoach will provide instant replay to iPads on the sidelines for all CFL games and practices this season.
Hundreds of high school teams nationwide already use SkyCoach’s technology during games.
Calgary Stampeders quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell noted, “I’ve wanted this since college…In the mock game, we had one on the second play where I thought Joe (West) broke his route too deep, but really he broke his route at the right depth. When we’re on the same page, it’s easy for us to look at that and say, ‘You know what, you were good on your depth and I’ve just got to make a better throw.’ Now you’re not arguing on the sideline, you’re not getting the riffles between guys. So it’s a big deal to have that and really be able to create different plays off of it.” Mitchell noted, “I wouldn’t say it’s an advantage because they [opponent] also have it but I do think it’s going to create better football.”
Coaches and players watch video all week in preparation for an opponent. It kinds of seems silly that they weren’t allowed to watch video during games (once the technology was able to provide the video). Now that the technology is available, there really is no reason everyone shouldn’t have access to video during games.
Tonight’s CFL opener between Als and the Blue Bombers begins at 8ET and is available on TSN and ESPN3.