TSN unveiled their annual Top 50 CFL Players list on Tuesday, but not everybody can agree on their ballot.
CFL on TSN panellist and Hall of Fame receiver Milt Stegall went public with his top five players on Wednesday, naming Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ left tackle Stanley Bryant as his highest-ranked player. Joining Bryant on Stegall’s shortlist were fellow Bombers Zach Collaros, Willie Jefferson and Adam Bighill. Toronto Argonauts’ defensive end Ja’Gared Davis finished fourth, while Stegall had a tie for fifth place between Bighill and Hamilton Tiger-Cats’ linebacker Simoni Lawrence.
That ranking drew the ire of another CFL legend in Hall of Fame quarterback Doug Flutie, who argued a pair of B.C. Lions receivers needed to be on the list.
“Come on Milt Stegall, show some love for those two dawgs in BC, Bryan Burnham and Lucky Whitehead!” Flutie said in a tweet. “Oh yeah, that’s right, you were a Winnipeg Blue Bomber. This list makes sense now.”
Flutie played eight seasons in the CFL and was named the league’s Most Outstanding Player a record six times. The three-time Grey Cup MVP threw for 41,355 yards, 270 touchdowns, and 155 interceptions before returning to the NFL where he started 52 games over the following eight years.
Stegall played 14 seasons in the CFL, all with Winnipeg, racking up 15,153 receiving yards and a league-record 144 touchdowns. He remains strongly attached to the Bombers organization but took the accusations of bias in stride.
“Both are in my top 10. But when [you’re back-to-back] Grey Cup champs, there’s a good chance many players in the top 10 [will] come from that team,” Stegall responded. “If this list was done in 1996/97, how many players in the top 10 would be from your [back-to-back] Grey Cup champ Toronto Argonauts?”
Flutie, who may have been guilty of some bias of his own given that he began his CFL career with the B.C. Lions, couldn’t argue with that logic.
“I see your point…” he commented. “Will always stay fired about this. Loved my time in the CFL!”
Ultimately neither Hall of Famer was too far off base, as all of Stegall’s Bombers picks ended up in the top five of the actual list, with quarterback Zach Collaros taking the top spot. Burnham and Whitehead finished eighth and ninth in the voting respectively.
That’s not bad analysis from a pair of players who would have no doubt topped the list a time or two in their playing days.