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New helmet thingamajigs arrive

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We'll have more on this after we have a chance to talk to Buck Pierce et al later. But for now football fans might be intrigued by this news from CFL headquarters:

--Ed Tait

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CFL INTRODUCES COACH-TO-QUARTERBACK HEADSETS FOR 2010 SEASON

Latest technology will improve the flow of a Canadian Football League game

Toronto, ON - June 8, 2010 - The Canadian Football League announced today that for the first time, the league will equip quarterbacks' helmets with special headsets that allow coaches to communicate directly with their pivots between plays.

"It's an innovation that will improve communication with the quarterback and improve the flow of the game," said Kevin McDonald, the CFL's Director of Football Operations.

"This is a more efficient way for a coach to call a play or communicate with his quarterback, instead of using numbers or signals."

Here's how the system will work:

Each team will have three separate radio-in-helmet units, one for each QB that dresses for games.

Only one system is allowed to be "active" on field at any one time.

Communication is one-way: the QB has a headset in his helmet but no microphone.

Coaches on the sideline and in the team's spotter's booth atop the stands can communicate via the system.

The device will be turned on once a team gains possession and turned off when there are ten seconds remaining on the play clock, and the signal will not be switched back on until the play has been whistled dead by the officials.

A league employee will handle this duty in stadium; the signal will be monitored and recorded in the Command Centre at CFL headquarters to ensure fair operation.

The specially equipped helmets will be marked with an identifying decal.

The introduction of quarterback headsets is the latest in a series of technological advances for CFL's football operations.

These include the 2006 introduction of video review on CFL sidelines, allowing coaches to challenge officials' calls using instant replay, and in 2009, the centralization of that video review at a more technologically advanced Command Centre at CFL headquarters.

"We're always looking for ways to improve or speed up CFL games , while respecting the tradition and continuity of what is already a great game," said CFL Commissioner Mark Cohon.

"After working on the implementation of quarterback headsets with our teams, we're confident this is a step in the right direction for our game, our league and, ultimately, our fans."

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