Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Is Anthony Calvillo the Greatest of All Time?

With Anthony Calvillo's assault on the record books underway – he broke the career mark for touchdown passes last Friday, and, barring injury, will break a few more before the year is over – one question is being posed by the media and fans alike:

Is Anthony Calvillo the greatest player to ever play in the CFL?

The simple answer is no. Anthony Calvillo is one of the greatest to ever play the game, and is definitely the greatest player of the last decade, but he is not the greatest of all time.

It is hard to compare players at different positions, so the focus here will solely be on Quarterbacks, and even among that smaller group, Calvillo is not the best.

I am not old enough to have seen some of the greats, like Russ Jackson or Ron Lancaster, play. I've heard stories and seen highlights, but clips and anecdotes are not enough for me to make an informed decision.

I was but a pup when Warren Moon finished his career in Edmonton with a fifth consecutive Grey Cup, and while I remember what Moon did in the NFL, I can't say for sure how great he was. I don't doubt that he was, but I can't speak to it since I didn't see it.

I did get to see all-time greats like Danny McManus, Matt Dunigan, Damon Allen and Tracy Ham play, and while they were all phenomenal Quarterbacks, I would not rank any of them ahead of Calvillo.

So while I can't comment on players I never saw, and while I don't think a group that I did see play deserve mention above Calvillo, there is one player that I am old enough to remember and who, for my money, will always be the greatest Quarterback, if not player, in CFL history.

I think it is pretty obvious that I am talking about Doug Flutie.

Flutie won six Most Outstanding Player awards in seven seasons, won three Grey Cup championships, and was voted in 2006 as the greatest player in CFL history by TSN.

But with Doug Flutie it wasn't just about the stats or the awards or the championships. Doug Flutie brought magic to the field, and with all due respect to every other player I've seen play – including Anthony Calvillo – no one else has come close to replicating that "Flutie Magic."

No other player before or since has dominated the way that Doug Flutie did. If Flutie had played in the CFL for his entire career, his name would be all over the record book.

Anthony Calvillo is one of the best to ever play in the CFL, but the label of "The Best" will always be used to describe Doug Flutie.

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