If Calgary Stampeders' kicker Rene Paredes played in the NFL or the NCAA, his attempt to break a league record for the most consecutive field goals in a season would likely be dead. Thanks to a quirk of the CFL's statistics rules, though, the field goal Paredes had blocked by Montreal's John Bowman during the Stampeders' 38-27 comeback win over the Alouettes Saturday counts as a fumble rather than a missed field goal attempt, making him 4-for-4 on the day, helping him earn the league's Gibson's Finest special teams player of the week award and preserving his streak of 29 straight field goal attempts this year, one short of the league record of 30 B.C. kicker Paul McCallum posted in 2011 (setting it against Calgary, oddly enough). Here's the blocked kick in question (to see TSN's buildup to it, go back to 3:00):
There's an explanation from TSN's Dave Randorf and Paul LaPolice of why it wasn't counted on the clip after the kick itself. Further on that front, Lowell Ullrich of The Province writes that league statistician Steve Daniel ruled Paredes' kick doesn't count as an attempt thanks to it not crossing the line of scrimmage:
Daniel, who reversed field last year when he ruled a streak of games with a touchdown pass by Travis Lulay remained intact even though he didn’t play, said the rule is properly interpreted and is explicit.
“No kick is a legal kick or actual attempt until it crosses the line of scrimmage,” he wrote in an email Monday.
No asterisk either.
This is an unusual situation, to say the least, and it's well worth having a debate over if that's the best way to handle blocked field goals. On that front, it's notable that both the NCAA and the NFL tend score blocked field goals differently than the CFL does. There are specific examples that show that, and the best involve field goals returned for touchdowns (as they tend to stay behind the line of scrimmage, unlike many blocked field goals that just miss the uprights). First, consider the NCAA's SEC championship game last Dec. 1, where the Alabama Crimson Tide beat the Georgia Bulldogs 32-28. In the second quarter, Georgia linebacker Alec Ogletree (now with the St. Louis Rams) blocked Cade Foster's 49-yard field goal attempt. The ball stayed behind the line of scrimmage, and Ogletree scooped it up and ran for a touchdown:
Here's a similar NFL example from the Minnesota Vikings' 27-24 win over the San Francisco 49ers on Sept. 27, 2009. Vikings' kicker Rian Longwell tries a 44-yard field goal to end the first half, but it's blocked by Ray McDonald and returned for a touchdown by Nate Clements:
And one from Hamilton's 51-8 CFL win over Edmonton last Sept. 15, where Tiger-Cats' defensive back Dee Webb blocked Brody McKnight's field goal attempt and receiver Bakari Grant returned it 58 yards for a Hamilton touchdown:
All of those plays may look next to identical: the kick's blocked, it doesn't go beyond the line of scrimmage, and it's returned for a touchdown. However, they're scored differently. In the NFL, the box score of that San Francisco-Minnesota game has Longwell going two for three on field goals, and a perusal of the play-by-play data confirms the blocked kick was the only one he missed. It's the same for Alabama's Foster: he's oh-for-one in the box score, and play-by-play information shows he only missed the blocked kick. Both of those rulings are endorsed by the NFL and NCAA statisticians' manuals (a big hat-tip to Chris Pika for those links), although it's interesting that the NCAA allows a field goal attempt to be credited to "Team" rather than the kicker if the official statistician decides it's thanks to a botched snap or hold. By contrast, the box score of that Ticats'-Eskimos' game doesn't give McKnight a field-goal attempt, but it does give him a fumble. That's consistent with the ruling in the Paredes case.
This isn't to say that the CFL is wrong here, or that it necessarily should conform to the NCAA and NFL standards. This league has plenty of unusual rules, and they often lead to great outcomes: consider the rouge and the bizarre finish it set up in 2010, or how the league's lack of fair catches and post positioning at the front of the end zone set up two spectacular plays in 2011. Whether ruling blocked field goals that don't cross the line of scrimmage to be fumbles rather than field goal attempts is a valuable difference or a useless one is worthy of debate, but it shouldn't be dismissed merely because it's different from American football rules. It should survive as a unique rule or be changed on its own merits (or lack thereof). It's well worth having a discussion about if the CFL should alter this rule, but the league has a rule in place and is acting consistently with it. It's just a rule that's very different from most other high-level football leagues, and while that alone isn't necessarily good or bad, it's definitely notable.
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