If you are watching a contest as a neutral you usually hope that it will be close and entertaining. So far the 2018 CFL MOP race is only fulfilling the latter stipulation. The truth of it is that Mike Reilly is having a great 2018 season in the CFL. In fact he is having such a great season that at this point, 65% of the way through the regular season, it is difficult to see who could challenge him for the Most Outstanding Player trophy this year.
Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that Reilly is in this position. He is already the reigning MOP after all & has been playing at a consistently high level for some time now. It always seems incredible when you watch someone in their sport maintain a blisteringly high standard. You wonder how they can keep doing these things but then as Terry Pratchett once noted, ‘It is well known that a vital ingredient of success is not knowing that what you’re attempting can’t be done’
The Esks QB finished the 2017 CFL season being named MOP, having played in all 18 games and completed 447 of 654 passes (68.3 %) for 5830 yards and 30 touchdowns. Meaning he was first in the league for yards passing, tied for 1st with Trevor Harris with 30 touchdowns thrown, and was 1st in the league for most rushing touchdowns at 12.
Reilly posted some dominant figures in 2017 then. Yet he could even surpass them this year. He currently leads the league in passing yards (3,943), passing touchdowns (26) and rushing touchdowns (11). If he were to maintain the pace of those 37 total touchdowns (26 passing + 11 rushing) he would finish the season with 55 total TD’s – one less than Doug Flutie’s all time single-season record for combined TD’s. Just bear in mind the level of play we’re talking about here too – Flutie is the only player ever to go over the 50 TD mark on a season.
For all that though we still have 8 weeks of regular season play ahead of us. Things could change. Someone could burst out of the pack behind Reilly, his figures or his performance could slump. We just don’t know. What we do know right now though is that he is far and away the favourite for the 2018 MOP award. As things stand it’s his to lose.
For fans in the UK not used to the term ‘Most Outstanding Player’ (MOP), this is the way the CFL chooses to designate the league’s best player. There is an argument to be made that most outstanding player and most valuable player, (which you may be more used to from the NFL), are not the same thing.
Most Outstanding Player is supposed to mean the best overall player in the league, while Most Valuable Player is generally regarded as the most valuable player to their team so the argument goes. I am not sure of the veracity of such an assertion. Both leagues tend to pick their best players for these awards it seems at times.
We shouldn’t get bogged down in the semantics of nomenclature. Either way it’s about appreciating the best players at their position in each league. Right now Mike Reilly is leading the way…whatever the name of the award.
original image from cfl.ca