why hasn't anyone found another Gizmo Williams?

I just thought of this.

you look at the vast majority of returners in this league and what do you have?

a lot of guys who when they catch the ball, like to dance around on the field and be fancy with their feet and try to out maneuvre their opponents.

So I ask, why hasn’t anyone found another Gizmo Williams? who when he got the ball he just ran like hell up the field after finding the crease and BOOM… gone!

those 26 punt return TD’s that he got (and all the ones called back!) wasn’t because he danced and tried to be fancy. He just let his speed and his power get him there.

all these guys like Grice Mullen and MayPray and Thigpen, among others do a lot of dipsey doodling and dancing around on the field… and they have maybe a few.

Thigpen has been tamed… since his big start. and Maypray has done squat all since the start as well.

Not really, he just hasn't broken one for a TD in a bit.His returns are still umong the best in the league.And last week he had one of his best overall performances again not getting a single TD though, the closest making it all the way to the Toronto 17 yard line.

The guy was pretty amazing. But I don't think you can say he just headed up field, blasting past or through everybody all the time. Usually, he had to wait for a seam to open up, like in the return at the beginning of this clip from a 1997 game.
[url]Toronto 25 at Edmonton 24 - CFL 1997 (part 2) - YouTube
Looks like he did a bit of dancing when he first got the ball there before slicing through the coverage team for another amazing TD run. Other clips I've found of him, he takes the ball all the way across the field until he finds a seam. Not exactly dancing, but similar.

But I have to agree with you, he defintely was one of the best returners ever. Interesting "side-by-side" style comparison in this game between him and Pinball. Too bad the whole game isn't there - a lot of chops in the film.

As for Thigpen being tamed, you're right that he didn't seem to have the same speed or acceleration after his first few games. A few of us Ticat fans have been wondering if he had an undisclosed injury that was slowing him down. Or was it a matter of the adrenalin of playing in his first games, or maybe the desire to show what he could do followed by "been there, done that". But if last week in Toronto was any indication, he may have gone wild again. Hope so, anyway.

ya but he was on pace for a huge season.

he's way behind the guy from Toronto, in overall yardage.

Gizmo was the only guy I was afraid of everytime you kicked the ball to him.

the only other guy that I was worried about a little was Stokes. he currently sits 2nd on all time punt TD's with 9.

that's like 17 less than Gizmo! hahaha

ya that footage is classic Gizmo.

ya he had to at times make a few moves to wait for that seam to open. but once it was there, he was gone!

you watch these guys today and they're always waiting and trying to out dance their tacklers.

Why hasn't anyone found another Doug Flutie? Why hasn't anyone found another Tony Gabriel? Why hasn't anyone found another Grover Covington? Why hasn't anyone found another Russ Jackson?

The reason that no one has found another Gizmo Williams is because he was a once-in-a-lifetime player. He's incomparable. The reason no one has found one is because one doesn't exist.

With Gizmo, it wasn't just his physical ability, he understood the return game better that anybody else IMO. His instincts were incredible, he was strong, rarely mishandled the ball and was incredibly durable. In other words, he was a total package. Others possess the physical attributes but so far nobody compares above the shoulder pads.


he was an amazing returner..

pretty cool guy too!

  1. Gizmo was one of a kind. There aren't other Gizmos out there just sitting around waiting to be "found."

  2. Owens doesn't do much dancing -- he is mostly catch it and run upfield.

  3. When Gizmo played, there were fewer players on the game roster and fewer imports, so the coverage teams were not as good as they are now. Teams often now employ designated imports whose primary/only job is to play special teams (e.g. Toronto's Ejiro Kuale). These guys are usually DBs or LBs and are invariably superb athletes who excel at kick coverage.

I prefer to think of those as judicious edits (albeit mostly Toronto highlights). ;->

A ton of work goes into editing these things for YT and posting them. Putting up a whole game in five-minute segments would take days of work.

Most times, I think you're right. Maybe the coverage is better now? I doubt it, but you never know. Gizmo was one of a kind. Completely different body type from most returners.

But for some recent straight ahead returns, check out a few of Thigpen's runs from the Toronto game. His best one in my opinion, the one that told me he was back to his opening form, was at the end of the first quarter (24:18 in this clip [url]Video - TSN). The guy looked like he was sprinting straight up the field, and then leapt over two players before he was finally brought down. A few of his other returns were pretty good too, although in about half his returns, the coverage team caught him fairly early.

As I said earlier, there is speculation on the Tiger-Cats forum that he was playing through an undisclosed injury for most of the season. I really hope so. Otherwise, it just comes down to poor coverage by Toronto in one game - a distinct possibility, but I sure hope it's more than that.

It would be interesting to see if Calgary would consider letting Lumsden handle kickoff returns. They've got him on ST, but more as a blocker, from what I gather. I don't know if he has the hands to be a returner though - definitely wouldn't put him on punt returns until I was sure. Maybe give it to him on a reverse?

I agree about the footwork. I get so annoyed when guys dance around when they could've ran and gained 10-15 yards in that span.

yea, they seem to be more concerned about making the guy miss the tackle by out-duelling him rather than use their speed to get past them.

Dorsey this year was really bad at that. Instead of turning it on full speed and run for the hole, he'd be sitting there trying to make the first guy or two miss and then everyone would crash in and he'd be done for.

I just have to make one comment about something said in one of the above posts... Giz was not 'one of the best' he was THE best, period. That's not even arguable.

Giz certainly was unique in his physicality. Not a lot of guys would run the stairs at Commonwealth - ALL OF THEM - as part of his training above and beyond practices. (Anyone who has been to CW's upper deck can only be in awe of this regimen.) And then he'd go lift weights with the LBs and DLinemen.

The unique combination of power and skill, combined with an understanding of how STs worked was one of the things that gave him the edge. That and the very nature of the Canadian game. Giz' talents didn't translate to the NFL (though I'd have to say I don't think he was a) used properly and b) had the ST support he needed).

The other thing was that he was a 'new kind' of returner. It was like he was 'designed' to return. Before Giz there were Receivers and DBs who would return with success (I think of Larry Highbaugh with the Esks) but those guys were counted on as returners secondarily. Giz and the Esks changed all that and because of that the very nature of STs started to change. Now, even if there would be someone who matched Giz in physical and mental acumen I have to wonder if the way STs are played now would allow for the same success.

An amuzing story about an encounter I had with Gizmo. I was formerly quite involved with Muscular Dystrophy and helped produce the Jerry Lewis Labour Day Telethon broadcast in Calgary. Our honorary chairperson was Rick Johnson, QB with the Stamps. I had contacted Rick and asked for Stampeders to answer phones on the Sunday telecast, Rick informed me that the coach had the Stamps on a strict curfew and he wouldn't let Rick et al take part (the coach at the time I think was either Wally or the guy ahead of him.) The telethon was at the Westin Hotel where coincidently the Eskimos were playing. On Sunday night, Gizmo, Matt Dunnigan and one other guy showed up at the door and Gizmo explained that his brother had died from MD and the three of them would like help on the phones. We of course welcomed them with open arms and Gizmo was interviewed while the other 2 Eskimos answered phones. One of the phone people called me and said I had a personal call, it was Rick Johnson who told me the coach had phoned him in a panic and he would be down with 2 other guys within the hour. We finished the night with 3 Eskimos and 3 Stamps working together on the phones in a rare and great show of solidarity.

Coincidently, that was the last time the Stamps turned us down for the labour day telethon.

Very true. Actually, I think I've only seen one full game there, the 1967 Grey Cup game. The entire broadcast is there - pre-game, ceremonial kickoff, half-time show, commercials. All in glorious black and white.

Let's just say that we were incredibly lucky to have both these guys in the league at the same time. Who was better? The answer is clear. Gizmo wasn't an Ar&%na(t. However...

Gizmo is the CFL's all-time leader in punt returns (1,003), punt-return yardage (11,177), kickoff returns (335) and kickoff-return yardage (7,354).

During his 12 year playing career with the Argos, Pinball had: career pass receptions (682), punt return yards (6,025), punt returns (610), punt return touchdowns (8), kickoff return yards (6,349), and kickoff returns (300). He also set single season single-season punt return yards (1,070 in 1997), punt returns (111 in 1997), and kickoff returns (49 in 1997). Clemons also amassed a career 25,438 combined yards during the regular season, a CFL record.

The Giz was just so quick! It didn't take much of a seam for him to be through before guys could even turn around. Maybe the most exciting player ever. Certainly up there with all the greats.

I wouldnt go that far. Most exciting kick returner and thats all. Otherwise he was pretty one dimensional. Didnt do much at reciever.

well... let's just say that I don't think that more opposing fan, player, coach and management sphincters clenched in fear when Giz fielded a kick as any other player in any other situation. Seriously.