On Sunday, I was watching the end of CFL playoff game between the Saskatchewan Roughriders and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. While the Blue Bombers won the game 23-18, the game was marred with a vicious game-ending helmet-to-helmet hit.
In the closing seconds of the game, Blue Bombers defensive end, Jackson Jeffcoat (University of Texas), blasted Roughrider quarterback, Brandon Bridge (Alcorn State and South Alabama), with a vicious, blindside headshot. Bridge laid motionless on the turf for a measurable amount of time and eventually walked off the field. Here’s a GIF of the hit in question.
To my surprise, nothing was called on the play. Not a single penalty flag laid on the turf after this hit. Why? This was a blatant penalty, how could this have been missed? In the USA football, we call this a targeting penalty. The on-field officials missed the hit in question. I’ve included a tweet with the different views of the hit in question.
Ex Post Facto, the CFL responded to the missed call. Here’s CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie statement.
Saskatchewan Roughriders quarterback Brandon Bridge was leveled with a high hit by Winnipeg Blue Bombers defensive lineman Jackson Jeffcoat late in the fourth quarter of his team’s playoff loss. No penalty was called on the play and Commissioner Randy Ambrosie released a statement admitting that the called was missed.
“The high hit on Brandon Bridge late in the Western Semi-Final (play 137) was clearly a missed call,” Ambrosie said in a statement. “Watching this occur, and seeing via the ‘ref cam’ that the on-field referee’s view was blocked, my reaction is we need to look this off-season at allowing the Command Centre to make the call on plays such as this one, clear matters of player health and safety.”
“We need to do more than admit an error. We need to search for a solution.”
According to Global News this isn’t the first incident involving a Roughriders quarterback. The Roughriders stater, Zach Collaros didn’t play on Sunday due to another uncalled helmet-to-helmet hit.
The Roughriders lost quarterback Zach Collaros (University of Cincinnati) in the final week of the regular season when he was hit helmet-to-helmet by BC Lions defensive lineman Odell Willis on another play where no flag was thrown, with the play penalized only after a coach’s challenge.
Ambrosie admitted after the game that a penalty should’ve been assessed on the play prior to the review and Willis was fined for the hit.
The question is, should there be any punishment for Mr. Jeffcoat? In the NFL this would’ve resulted in a fine and a possible suspension