Damon Allen

I was wondering if someone could give some insights and reflection on Damon Allen’s career. As a Ticats fan born in the early 90’s, most of my memories involve him as an old guy with the Argos who could make some plays. Despite his incredible numbers, it seems as though nobody talks about him in the same breath of Calvillo, Moon, and Flutie. Was he one of the best ever, or was he just above average for an extended period of time?

IMO, no doubt it is the latter.

Yeah there has always been this debate about Allen. I see him as being a great player. Some facts:

Won 3 GC with 3 diff teams
Was MVP of 3 GC games
2nd in passing
1st in total yards
2nd in rushing
League MVP 1

Those are incredible facts IMO

I’ve always thought he was dismissed a lot because he played a long time. As if his durability was a detriment. I’ve never understood why he hasn’t been part of the CFL post retirement. Heck he wasn’t even elected to HOF on first ballot.

He’s at every Argonaut home game, seemingly “hosting” corporate guests and big wigs for the Argos.

Career totals are a result of a long career, at least in his case. His season to season accomplishments not so impressive.

Yeah, like I said earlier there has always been this debate about Allen. Different observers, different opinions.

You can’t put up the numbers and earn the accolades he did without being an incredibly gifted athlete. As a Lions season ticket holder though, he was incredibly frustrating to watch. You just never knew which Damon Allen was going to turn up. Very inconsistent. By the time Wally arrived in 2003, he had overstayed his welcome in BC and the club was wise enough to go “all in” on Dave Dickenson at quarterback. By this time, the fans were tuning out the Lions and perceived Allen (rightly or wrongly) as complacent. Giulio Caravatta (former Lions QB/punter and now their colour analyst on radio broadcasts) says he was a lousy teammate, never wanting to share his craft with guys lower on the depth chart.

Interestingly, Damon had a career resurgence with the Argos and was instrumental in beating the Lions in the 2004 Grey Cup. Yes, definitely Hall of Fame worthy, but not sure I would put him up among the greatest CFL QBs of all-time (the elite division with Flutie, Moon, Ploen etc) but probably a tier or two below.

This doesn’t surprise me. I had the honour of meeting him once and he was very affable. He’s the perfect guy to have working the room for you.

Is he? I didn’t know that. That’s an interesting role for an alumni.
Thanks Ice.

Yup I wouldn’t put him in the “top tier” of all time.
And I agree with you about his Lion days.
He did have a great resurgence in Toronto as you say under the tutelage of Kent Austin as his OC who really pushed him. He also built an offense around him and his skillset. It all crashed when the Argos brought in Ricky Williams and Pinball insisted that he be the centre piece and Kent got the boot over that disagreement.

Allen played his best ball in biggest games. 3 GC wins and 3 GC MVP and that speaks volumes to me.

He had this non exciting but really effective nimble style, sometimes looking lethargic almost. Not the head first hell bent style of a Dunigan that fans and media love. Probably allowed him to play 10 more years than Matt.

I think Allen gets short-changed in the “Grey Cup Wins” stat. He won three as a starter, but also won a fourth (1987) coming in off the bench after Matt Dunigan went down. The Esks were down by 14 points when Allen went in, so he led them to a comeback victory, which is arguably more impressive than winning as a starter. But he had to take a back seat to Ricky Ray after his fourth win in 2017 because Ray is currently an Argo, and anything an Argo does is more impressive than when others do it.

That said, many of Allen’s seasons were undistinguished. He spent three unremarkable years in Ottawa (1989-91), didn’t stick with the Ticats (92) who decided being a playoff team just wasn’t for them, did another year in Memphis, and the longest stretch of his career was in BC (1995-2002) where they went years without being considered a top team.

Perhaps the most telling factoid of Allen’s career: he led the Lions to a Grey Cup win in 2000, becoming the first sub-.500 team ever to win the championship. I think that’s Damon Allen in a nutshell: regular season mediocrity, but comes up big in the post-season when it counts.

Like Ray and Burris (and unlike Calvillo or Flutie), his team (BC) gave up on him late in his career. But in Allen’s case this didn’t happen until after he reached the age of 40.

So yes, I think longevity is a big part of the Legend of Damon Allen. He was rarely the best (arguably not even among the top three CFL QBs most seasons), but no one was better in the Grey Cup, and no one did it longer.

Gifted athlete who could run and throw, came up big in every Grey Cup he played in but could also be confounding with ill-timed errors (kind of like Burris in that regard). He got better as he got older and relied less on his legs and more on his reading ability. But definitely in the second tier among all-time CFL QBs IMO – behind Flutie, Jackson and Moon for sure, and arguably behind several others.


What is with so many Tiger-Cats fans and this inferiority complex?
I don’t recall any such claims when the Argonauts went 31 years without a Grey Cup.

Give it a rest. ::slight_smile:

Ricky Ray was credited, accurately, as the starting QB of record for four GC wins (only two of which were with the Argos). As was reported accurately at the time, no other starting QB has ever been the QB of record in four GC wins.

Allen has been mentioned many times over the years as having won four Grey Cups, three as a starting QB and one as a backup who came off the bench to lead his team to victory. He has not been shortchanged compared to Ricky Ray in terms of recognition for winning the Grey Cup.

I personally don’t buy the whole concept of crediting the starting QB (or any QB) with a victory in such a team-oriented sport as football. But for those who do like that stat, both Ray and Allen have received proper recognition over the years.

That’s great. Two posts previous to mine in this thread mentioned that Allen had won three Grey Cups. I pointed out that it was four.

The anti-Argo stuff plays much better on the Ticats forum.