Saturday, 23 February 2013
It's About Time
After years of being passed over for other, mostly deserving, players, Earl Winfield was one of six men announced as part of the 2013 class of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame.
Joining Winfield is fellow Tiger-Cat Miles Gorrell, as well as former Argo Dan Ferrone, former referee Jake Ireland, former St. FX head coach Don Loney and former University of Alberta star Brian Fryer.
Those guys are all deserving, except Ireland, but for me, this is all about Winfield.
I have long called for Winfield's inclusion in the Hall of Fame and I an ecstatic that he will finally take his rightful place among the game's greatest players.
I will never understand why it took so long (Winfield retired following the 1997 season) for Winfield to finally get the call. The guy had the numbers – over 10,000 yards receiving, second-most punt return touchdowns in league history – and anyone who saw him play will attest to the fact that he was a difference maker. The only thing lacking from his résumé is a Grey Cup ring, and that might have been used against him, but that shouldn't have been. He entered the league in 1987, one year after the Ti-Cats won the Grey Cup, and left in 1997, two years before the team won their most recent championship. It's just bad timing that Winfield isn't a two-time Grey Cup champion.
But Winfield made an impact without winning a championship. He had perhaps the greatest Labour Day performance of any player in CFL history. No one will forget his 1988 game against the Argos. He was a special player and I always viewed him as a Hall of Famer. I'm glad those that decide these things finally came around to my way of thinking.
So a big congrats to all the 2013 inductees, but an especially big congrats to one of the greatest Tiger-Cats of all time, Earl "The Pearl" Winfield.