Thursday 22 November 2012

Williams Named Top Special Teamer

In what should come as a surprise to no one, Chris Williams was named the CFL's Most Outstanding Special Teams Player for 2012.

Williams was outstanding in every way in 2012 and he was especially so on special teams, where he set a league record for return touchdowns in a season with six. He is the first Tiger-Cat to be named the league's top special teamer.

Williams was thrice named the CFL's special teams player of the week and twice named the special teams player of the month. Picking Williams was a slam dunk... except for one person.

Williams received 56 of a possible 57 votes, which means just one person voted for BC's Tim Brown. I am curious who the joker was that voted for Brown. No offense meant to him, but seriously? Williams was the best special teams player by a wide margin (and I'd argue that the second best played on the same team, Tiger-Cat kicker Luca Congi). This strikes me as the same silliness as when a baseball player isn't named on 100 per cent of Hall of Fame ballots even if they are undeniably a Hall of Famer. Whoever didn't vote for Williams knew that Williams would win, so instead cast a pity vote for Brown. If there was ever a player who deserved to be an unanimous selection, it was Williams this year.

The league handed out their other awards as well. JC Sherritt was named the league's top defensive player, Jon Cornish was named the top Canadian, Chris Matthews took home the top rookie prize, Jovon Olafioye was named the best offensive lineman, Brian Bratton won the Tom Pate Award and the most overrated player in the CFL (whose name will no longer be mentioned here) was undeservedly named the Most Outstanding Player.

While Williams was great on special teams, I'd argue that he should have also been named MOP (instead of you know who). The argument against Williams has been that he played on a 6-12 team that didn't make the playoffs, but I don't think that criticism has a lot of merit in an MOP race. An MVP race, absolutely, but not an MOP one. Williams was more outstanding in every measurable way to the guy who won (and to Cornish) that it is stunning he wasn't the winner of the award. The guy that won the award put up a paltry six touchdowns to Williams' 17, had just 11 more catches and 30 more receiving yards than Williams, and only got as much publicity as he did because he broke what is one of the most meaningless records I can think of (after QB wins): a total yards record.

That player had over 3,800 total yards, but a whopping 1,588 came on kick returns. Getting a lot of return yards is not impressive. All that record proved was that the Argos gave up a lot of points and that allowed that player to put up those numbers by returning so many kickoffs. He had more kickoff returns than any other player, so even if he had a mediocre year returning the football (which he did, since he had no return touchdowns) he had more opportunity to put up yards. Yet somehow he is the MOP and Williams is not.

There is no question in my mind that Williams was the most outstanding player this year and I honestly don't believe that No. 2 was even close.

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