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Football

'The kicked convert is... the most boring part of the game'

Local fan trying to convince CFL kicked convert is a 'wasted play'

He's a retired school teacher and longtime CFL fan but Ken Miller of East St. Paul is more than an armchair quarterback.

He's stepped up to the line of scrimmage to execute an idea to make the league better.

Ruth Bonneville / Winnipeg Free Press 
Retired phys-ed teacher Ken Miller recently had the opportunity to plead his case for a more exciting convert rule to director of officiating Tom Higgins.

Ruth Bonneville / Winnipeg Free Press Retired phys-ed teacher Ken Miller recently had the opportunity to plead his case for a more exciting convert rule to director of officiating Tom Higgins.

Miller, 60, recently sent an email to the CFL which outlined his suggestion to eliminate the kicked conversion after a touchdown. His email was passed along to Tom Higgins, the CFL's director of officiating who is also responsible for overseeing the procedure of any rule changes.

Higgins called Miller on Sept. 19 to confirm he read the email and to discuss the idea.

"The kicked convert is by far the most boring part of the game, 99.9 per cent of the time it's a done deal. That's when you go to the fridge or leave your seat (at the game) to go to the concessions," said Miller. "With my idea, it creates a lot more fun with the score, it would make it a lot more exciting and people could be staying an watching the convert. With the kicked convert, I'll go get my hotdog. To me, it's a wasted play.

"I just want to see the league be as exciting as it can be and I think this would make a difference.

Miller said he "almost died" when Higgins called him back.

"Tom was such an great guy to talk to, so easy-going and friendly. He said he liked the idea and it would be a point of discussion (in the future)," Miller said. "He makes you feel like the fans matter."

Higgins, reached at his Calgary office, said the fans do matter which is why he tries to respond to fan emails and talk to fans in each city.

"This is not uncommon (to get a suggestion from a fan) but it is appreciated because during the course of the year we compile all the ideas," Higgins said, noting there is a three-step process at the league level for potential rule changes.

"Ken is pretty excited because he feels he is being listened to and that's special about the CFL. Some leagues are TV-revenue driven but we're fan-driven. We're affordable and authentic and we're proud of that."

Higgins said he submits a list of about 25 rule-change suggestions to the eight CFL teams in January. The teams vote and about 10 suggestions are brought in February to the 11-member CFL rules committee, which includes Higgins, a representative from each team and a member of each of the players' and officials' associations. After discussion of the suggestions takes place, the rules committee votes and submit its recommendations in March or April to the CFL's board of governors, who will approve any rules they wish to change.

Miller said he also spoke to Wally Buono on Monday over the telephone and said when he told Buono about his suggestion, Buono "didn't knock it down." Miller said he has received mostly positive feedback from friends and family with his idea.

ashley.prest@freepress.mb.ca

Here's what Miller would do

Ken Miller's suggestion to change the CFL rule to eliminate the kicked conversion of a touchdown:

 

After a touchdown, teams could run or pass the ball with two options for points:

-- earn one point to cross the end zone from the five-yard line

-- earn two points to cross the end zone from the 10-yard line

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 3, 2012 0

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