Calvillo’s Hall Pass

Posted: July 20, 2011 in NFL

A very wise friend of mine mentioned something very interesting to me the other day and it made me dive head first into my first real research based blog. He said to me over the conversation of football “Do you think Anthony Calvillo should be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame (PFHOF)?”

What a thought, having one of, if not the best player in Canadian Football League history inducted into the hall of fame. This got me thinking two things; first off does he have the numbers? To be in the hall of fame you have to be a great in the sport, someone who set records, broke records and has an impact on the sport. The other thought was does the PFHOF recognize CFL players in their induction process? Let’s begin.

The first thought which was does he have the numbers, is a clear winner. When you look at his career passing yards, he has totalled so far 69,199 passing yards and 396 passing touchdowns and a career 62.8% pass completion percentage. Right there that tells me they should start moulding his head. Those numbers are staggering, considering he was considered not good enough for the NFL.

However he is not just a stat collector on paper, as he has played for the Montreal Alouettes for 14 straight seasons, been their starting QB for at least 12 of those years and has led them to three championships. Not to mention they are currently the reigning back to back Grey Cup Champions.

So that’s the first part, he has great career statistics. When I look at the list of the same stats of the NFL he is right up there with the best of them. If his stats were translated over into the NFL he would be second behind only Brett Favre who has 71,838 career passing yards. Which means that by the end of this current CFL season which Calvillo will be playing in, he could be the all time passing yards leader in professional football in North America.

When it comes to all time passing touchdowns in professional football Calvillo would rank fifth, trailing only Brett Favre, Dan Marino, Peyton Manning and Fran Tarkenton. Now Manning is still playing and is younger by about four years younger so he will most likely stay ahead of Calvillo in that department forever. Manning is also one of the best QB’s of all time and could very well soon hold the title of the best QB of all time, but that’s another story I can’t wait to write.

Now I know that the NFL happy readers will be thinking to themselves “POS, are you seriously trying to compare CFL stats to the NFL?! Are you mad?!”

My answer of course to that question is no, I may be overly patriotic and have an affinity for those things that make us unique, but I am certainly not mad. Consider on a level playing field those stats that I mentioned above, they demand your attention and later your respect.

Warren Moon is in the PFHOF for various reasons, all of which are completely justified and earned. Mostly for the fact that he had almost 50,000 yards in the NFL and while in the CFL won five consecutive Grey Cup titles with the Edmonton Eskimos.

However that is a special case in which a player is a first ballot inductee and you cannot even consider leaving him out of the shrine. Calvillo may be considered a bit of a homer pick, but he did attend Utah State, so it’s not like I’m pushing the home town vote here or anything.

After looking at the selection process, does no mention of inductees have to be NFL players, or mostly NFL products. Warren Moon made his name in the NFL, but not before taking the CFL by storm and then heading south to play in America.

The fact that Calvillo has either never left by choice, or simply because no team thought he was good enough does hold some merit. We all remember when Casey Printers of the BC Lions tried to go and play in the NFL. He later ended up on the practice squad of the Kansas City Chiefs only later to return to the CFL as his skills were not NFL calibre and he received no playing time.

I would argue that Calvillo never had to leave, why would he? He had a great team in Montreal, he loved the city, was having an amazing professional career albeit in a less popular league than the NFL. But does that truly devalue his talent?

Professional sport is professional sport, like I always say about these athletes we may think they suck for whatever reason but at the end of the day they’re paid to play the game. All we can do is criticise from what we see and think we know, but they’re the ones cashing in on their athletic ability.

Then of course we can add on the cancers he has survived during the twilight of his career while still putting up all time great numbers. In 2010 Calvillo was diagnosed with Thyroid cancer. He was able to finish the year, but just weeks after winning his third, and second consecutive title, he underwent surgery to remove a growth on his thyroid. Combine this with his wife’s cancer in 2007 and I would say you have quite the survival story, but that’s just me.

Now I know that the PFHOF is not about sympathy votes, and feel good stories. But to be putting up the numbers he has put up, won championships, survived cancer to himself and his wife, doesn’t he deserve the honour and the recognition?

The football hall of fame states its motto as “to honor, preserve, educate and promote.” What better way to honour his legacy, preserve his drive, educate others on his survival and promote the game internationally then to induct a CFL great? I am not saying that all CFL players deserve to be in there, but when you talk about the best CFL player of all time doesn’t he deserve a statue? At the very least a head.

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