Is Calvillo CFL’s greatest QB?

The question, is it was bound to be, is asked in a Toronto Star column.

But can he be considered among the greatest to play three-down football, or is he simply a guy who played long enough to rack up some pretty big numbers? Judging by the reaction of some long-time CFL observers, it’s somewhere in the middle of those two: one of the best, but not the greatest ever.
Of the people interviewed for the article, Russ Jackson and Nick Volpe (?) vote for Flutie, while our own Obie goes with Warren Moon.

The article then summarizes their careers in a table:

[b]The numbers[/b] (years/passing yards/rushing yards/TDs/Grey Cups) Anthony Calvillo...18 / 72,429 / 3,467 / 415 / 3 Damon Allen ..... 23 / 72,381 / 11,920 / 394 / 4 Doug Flutie ....... 8 / 41,355 / 6,759 / 270 / 3 Warren Moon ..... 6 / 21,228 / 1,700 / 144 / 5
Stats they don't include, however, are MOP wins and all-star selections. I don't feel like looking up all-star records (which would heavily favour Calvillo and Flutie over the others), but as for MOP wins, the score is: Moon and Allen 1 each, Calvillo 3, and Flutie 6.

That's 6 in 8 years for Flutie, with the exceptions being his first year in the league and the year he was injured. And he played in an era that included all-time greats like Allen, Matt Dunigan, Tracy Ham, Danny McManus, Mike Pringle, and Pinball Clemons.

The whole time Flutie was in the league, there was never any question about who was the best QB. You can't say that about any of the others. In Moon's 6 years, another QB won MOP 3 times. Since Calvillo became a permanent starter in 2000, 5 other QBs have won it.

IMHO, anyone who doesn't pick Flutie must have been watching some other league in the 1990s.

Incidentally, the reader poll on the same page currently stands as follows:

[b]Who's the greatest quarterback in the history of the CFL?[/b]Damon Allen (4%) Anthony Calvillo (11%) Doug Flutie (38%) Russ Jackson (13%) Warren Moon (24%) Jackie Parker (4%) Someone else (5%) Total Votes: 2525

Having great stats doesn't necessarily make you the greatest - I think if Flutie had played 20 seasons he might have set passing and rushing records for a QB. Kevin Glenn set a Ticat passing record last year does that make him the greatest Ticat QB ever?


Great Article below written by an American !!

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As great as Calvillo is, i'd put both Moon and Flutie ahead of him. Maybe even Russ Jackson too.

Definately Flutie, he had that ability to scramble and make things happen. Amazing to watch, he was made for the CFL.

Doug Flutie. I think AC is making a case for being in the top three along with Moon in my books, but Doug was the most dynamic pivot I've ever seen in Canada, IMHO.

Oski Wee Wee,


Being a volunteer at the 1996 Grey Cup in Hamilton not only did I get a picture of myself holding the Grey Cup but I also had the honour of holding the MOP trophy that DF won later that night. What a memory.

In my mind DF was the greatest to ever play in the CFL. I "hated" him as a die-hard Cat fan but respected him enormously.


Ask any of them if they could have Flutie for two years, Moon for five years or Calvillo for 14 years, who they would pick :slight_smile:

Flutie was the most exciting, Moon was the most complete and AC is the most productive and most precise of the 3. He's thrown 100 less interceptions than Moon and 60 touchdowns more than Moon (CFL/NFL numbers combined).

I have enjoyed watching all 3 of them but they couldn't be more different...

:thup: :thup: :thup:

i think it is inevitable ricky ray will be all alone as the top QB of all time.

AC has been/continues to be a great CFL QB. The greatest ever? In my humble opinion the answer is no. Reason being, I believe AC is very much like Gordie Howe. Two very good players who played a lot of games on very good teams thus their stats flatter their ability. If AC hadn’t been run out of Hamilton would he be considered in this question? If Warren Moon or Doug Flutie played as long as AC would we be having this discussion?

AC is a classy guy who has persevered through serious adversity and is a great ambassador of our game. He’ll be in the Hall of Fame and deserves credit for the near dynasty in Montreal these past years. So, it’s no disrespect to the man to say he isn’t the greatest QB to ever play in the CFL.

AC is a great QB. One of the absolute best without a doubt. But the greatest was Flutie. If he'd played his entire career in the CFL, I think his numbers would be huge but the bookends of his career were in the US. Moon would be up there had he stayed in Canada. Also, if Dunigan had been able to stay healthy I think he would've put up huge numbers as well. Lancaster and Jackson were great too. Damon Allen would be on the list too. But the geatest? Gotta be Flutie.

An Argo-Cat fan

Yes, IF Flutie played his entire career in the CFL, he would likely be the greatest CFL QB ever and hold the all-time passing records.
That being said, Dickenson could very well have been the best CFL QB of all time if it weren't for chronic injuries that ultimately shortened his career.

The problem with deciphering the "greatest" is that terms such as; ifs, buts, coulda, shoulda, woulda etc etc don't count..

Therefore, Calvillo should get merit as the greatest.

Calvillo has the greatest longevity stats. If that is the ultimate determinate of greatness then every sport's record book needs to be opened up and players reassessed. Whoever has the most in any catagory must be the greatest to have every played. In this logic.

It's not so much the most in any category that determines the greatest, yet moreso year by year peer comparatives adjacent with longevity that would dictate greatest.

Even though Damon Allen played 23 seasons, and pre-Calvillo, possessed the majority of QB all time-category records, yet I would not rate him in the top 5...possibly not even top 10
This is due to the fact that his year by year play/stats, while quite admirable, were usually intertwined with other elite QB's of his era(s) His overall career numbers were padded with extraordinary longevity.

Flutie and Calvillo however, were usually far and away, largely superior to league peers of those eras, that encased both with legendary status.
These players were similar to Gretzky and Jordan. So far ahead of the rest and easily the best.

Look at Calvillo's stats again this year. Tops in all categories.
And by a huge margin over his peers at that.
Flutie was, easily, and by far, the most dominant QB of his era, and if he had played just a few more seasons in the

would you rather have someone who is a god for a few seasons or someone who is great for many?

Who was better, Bobby Orr or Chris Chelios? Different sport, same question.

i never saw bobby orr, so i can't say.