Calvillo had an outstanding performance this year. He lead the league in every QB rating and was voted the Outstanding Player in the CFL. He has been the engine of the team that has excelled in the past several years. Yet he has critics claim he cannot win the big games and, he has been called the Jim Kelley of the Buffalo Bills who lost three superbowl games in a row.Is winning the numbers of Grey Cups the critera upon which to evaluate QB's? The Als have had four QB's in their history. Who was the best of these 4 QB's.
In 1949 the Als, led by Frank Filchock, had their first Grey Cup victory. Filchock came to the Als from the New York Giants. He, along with Merle Hapes, was suspended from the NFL and, became a winning QB, He led the Als to victory over the Calgary club in a game that established the beginnings of the hoopla surrounding our Grey Cup game. I can't remember what happened to Filchock after that victory. I think he continued play with another team. His brief tour of duty with the Als precludes him from the "Best Ever" status.
Sam Etcheverry came to the Als in 1953 and established himself as a truly great QB. In his time Etcheverry established many passing records- one of which still stands.This is the longest TD pass in history in which Etcheverry threw to Hal Patterson for 109 yards. Etcheverry was a true all star. He led the Als to three Grey Cup games but was not able to beat the Edmonton Esks in the big games. Etcheverry, however, did lead the Als to defeat Calgary in the 1970 Grey Cup. He was a winner as a coach, never as a QB.
The QB who was the winner of the 1970 Grey Cup game was Sonny Wade who was rated the star of that game. Following this Sonny Wade had a number of good years at QB and won two additional Grey Cups in the 1970's. Wade came from a small college [ Emory ] and was overlooked by the NFL. Wades three Grey Cup wins has to rate him as the most sucesful Als QB. While Wade did have sucess , for some reason, he did not have the flash of Etcheverry [ and that of Calvillo today ] and the team brought in several QB's to compete with Wade. In Wades last Grey Cup game in the late seventies a QB from Southern California [Jim Jones ] got the start because he was deemed as a better runner that Wade. These two had alternating QB roles in that season. However Jones was ineffective and, Sonny Wade was inserted into that game late in the final quarter. With Wades passing the Als began to score and, caught up with the Stamps. In the final minutes of that game [ the conditions on the field were horrid- wind rain etc ] the Als were deep in to Calgary's end of the field and lined up to kick what would have been a winning field goal. The try was unsucessful. Had Wade been the starting QB I believe the Als would have won that game and, Wade would have had his fourth Grey Cup.
Finally, can we consider AC as the best all time QB? While winning only one Grey Cup he has been an outstanding QB for several years and holds most of the Als passing stats.
If we decide that the winner of the most cups entitles that QB as the "best ever" then Sonny Wade is the " best ever!' He was the Als most productive QB and, was able to win the big games. He is number one! Sonny Wade did not break passing records and, never attained the glory of a Sam Etcheverry nor the passing skills of AC. However He did win. It will be interesting to see if AC can catch u[p to Sonny Wade?