There were some star names left off the CFL team award winners issued on Wednesday.
Topping that list would be Saskatchewan defensive lineman Willie Jefferson. The six-foot-six, 240-pound disruptor makes offences game plan for him and know his whereabouts on every single snap. Jefferson leads the league in quarterback pressures with 34 – nine more than the next closest defender. He paces the Riders with eight sacks and does whatever Chris Jones asks within the defensive scheme. Ed Gainey’s 10 interceptions are eye-popping but on a play-by-play basis, Jefferson is much more impactful and deserved to be the Riders Most Outstanding Defensive Player.
Award total count for Alex Singleton: three. Bo Levi Mitchell: 0. That’s just wrong. Singleton is an elite player on a dominant defence, but what Calgary’s franchise quarterback was able to accomplish with a badly injured shoulder and constantly revolving receiving corps was outstanding. The Stampeders looked to be in cruise control getting to 13 victories and that’s all Mitchell does.
“Name of the game is winning and that’s all Mitchell does, regardless of the roster Calgary puts out there,” one rival football executive said.
Bo Knows winning and he should’ve been the Stamps MOP.
Another quarterback got slighted: Trevor Harris. The Redblacks offence has a quick-strike ability when Harris is on the field, which is likely why Ottawa voters went with Greg Ellingson over his pivot. Despite missing three games, Harris was impressive and carved up Calgary’s No. 1 ranked defence like no one else in 2017, yet anyways. The Redblacks late-season comebacks against the Lions, Riders and Ticats – led by Harris – got Ottawa in the playoffs with a chance at home field in the East. That’s the exact reason why Harris deserved the Redblacks MOP nod.
How “Speedy B” didn’t run away with Hamilton’s Most Outstanding Player honour seems astounding. In 10 games playing primarily receiver, Brandon Banks has 935 yards receiving and seven touchdowns – a legitimate chance for a 1,000-yard season. The diminutive playmaker was a key reason Hamilton’s offence and entire team got turned around and played well in the back half of the schedule. Linebacker Larry Dean has put forth a strong campaign, but Banks has been outstanding.
That same word applies to Andrew Harris. Matt Nichols might be the Most Valuable Player for the Bombers, but the Canadian back was more outstanding. The dynamic offensive weapon should become the second player in CFL history to rush for 1,000 yards and go over 800 receiving, an extremely rare accomplishment. 281 touches for Harris, that number alone should be highlighted, same for the Winnipeg native and the team’s most prestigious individual accomplishment.
Five elite players were more deserving than the actual recipients.