Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Who To Choose

From Al Maki-Globe Sports

Let's knuckle down and be brutally honest: There hasn't been a clear-cut most outstanding player in the CFL this season - not one guy you'd give it up for without hearing an argument.

There are top players having really good years just as there have been some remarkable one-game performances. But a definitive, that's the man? From the start of the season till now? Pick one and you'll get an earful from someone else claiming his pick is the obvious choice. Try it.

Cory Boyd, the Toronto Argonauts' sensational running back, is the league leader with 1,291 yards. There's no doubt the Argonauts wouldn't be the same 8- 8 team without him, which makes him both outstanding and valuable and all-East, all-CFL, all ...

Arland Bruce, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats' equally sensational pass catcher, is the league leader in receiving yards with 1,303. There's little doubt the Ticats wouldn't be the same 9-7 team without him, which makes him ...

Anthony Calvillo, the Montreal Alouettes' quarterback, is always in the pick mix. He may have missed two games with a bruised sternum but he has thrown for 4,427 yards, 29 touchdowns, just seven interceptions and holds the highest quarterback efficiency rating in the CFL.

It's the same I say-you say debate in the West, where you have to believe the MOP nominee comes from the 11-5 Calgary Stampeders. But which player? Slotback Nik Lewis thinks it should be quarterback Henry Burris. Burris likes Lewis because, "He's our leader."

Burris has thrown 34 touchdowns (also 20 interceptions). Lewis has 81 receptions for 1,151 yards, almost half of which have come after he's made the catch. He has nine touchdowns, too. Plus a thing for Twitter.

So who gets it? Right.

Saskatchewan Roughriders quarterback Darian Durant.

The most outstanding player award, like all the other individual player honours presented during Grey Cup week, is voted on by the Football Reporters of Canada (motto: "What was the final score again?"). But to help clarify things, we contacted a handful of CFL team officials and asked them to name the top player, East and West.

Naturally, this led to a spirited discussion, beginning with a GM who said his top choice in the West was, "Durant. I just like him, dynamically, better than Burris. Poised [but] he has been inconsistent."

Overall, the consensus was the 2010 MOP nominee from the West would be Burris.

Here are some reasons why, with names withheld so everyone could speak freely:

"So what if Burris has thrown all those interceptions [and fumbled six times]? Calgary is in first place with him," a general manager said.

"If it doesn't go to the quarterback then who has been more outstanding?" a coach asked. "Has there been a receiver with more than 2,000 yards or a running back with more than 1,700? No. And you know it's not going to a defensive player. The MOP award is like the Heisman Trophy? It goes to quarterbacks, then running backs, then receivers."

Burris has never won the MOP title. The last Stampeders to win individual awards were kicker Sandro DeAngelis (2006 outstanding special teams player) and Lewis (2004 outstanding rookie). The last Stampeders player to claim the top prize as outstanding player was Dave Dickenson 10 years ago.

"We get nominated," Lewis said. "We just don't win."

In the East, Boyd versus Bruce versus Calvillo had one coach remarking, "[Hamilton quarterback] Kevin Glenn has had a quietly good year. He's been real effective."

But from the start of the season until now, the overall nod went to Calvillo as the East's MOP because, as one GM noted, "He's too consistent, always in command. [Boyd and Bruce] are good but I like Calvillo."

The same GM also liked middle linebacker Juwan Simpson as Calgary's top player, which pretty much says it all about this season. Just when you think you're comfortable with how a team is performing, it makes a mess of itself.

Just when you think you know who the best player is, he falters - even a little - and another guy grabs your attention.

Burris and Calvillo are the experts' choices. The rest of us want to know, what was the final score again?

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