It’s CFL nominations time again. As former US president Harry S Truman once said, “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” Football is first and foremost a team sport. So the ideology Truman ascribes to here is one truly successful teams can aspire to. No one player is bigger than the team as the old cliché goes.
In the end anyway if you do enough to help your team win and you do it well, the individual recognition will follow. This is the time of year that just such recognition can happen. If you find yourself having made a significant contribution to your teams efforts then there’s a chance that will be noticed.
For some players that notice has happened as the CFL have announced their annual award nominees and they are listed below.
There was a strong case for a defensive nomination for MOP this year but it is no surprise then that the two finalists for the MOP award are once again both quarterbacks. Especially because of the 17 winners this century alone, 13 have been quarterbacks.
Bo Levi Mitchell Calgary Stampeders.
This is Mitchell’s third nomination for MOP. He was previously nominated in 2015 & 2016 (winning in 2016). This year he went 356 of 585 for 5124 yards and 35 touchdowns. Mitchell had two games where he passed for 400+ yards and led the Stamps to the West title (again) despite a decimated receiving corps.
Jeremiah Masoli Hamilton-Tiger Cats
After Hamilton made him the starting QB, Masoli repaid their faith with his best year as a pro. He went 378 of 572 for 5209 yards and 28 touchdowns. He also had 63 caries for 473 yards and 2 touchdowns. During the season he passed for 300+ yards in 12 games, which is a Tiger-Cats record and is tied for fourth in CFL history. He is the first Hamilton player to be nominated for this award since 1999.
Adam Bighill Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Bighill joined the Bombers as a free agent in May and has been sensational for them throughout the season. This is Bighill’s fourth team defensive-player nomination, (all previously with the B.C. Lions). He has 105 tackles, a league-best four forced fumbles, four sacks, eight tackles for a loss, a fumble recovery and two interceptions, one returned for a touchdown.
Bighill was at the heart of an impressive Bombers defence. The team finished tied for first with a turnover ratio of +13, and second in points allowed (23.3 ppg).
Larry Dean Hamilton-Tiger cats
Dean matched Bighill with 105 tackles on the season. He finished the season with 113 total defensive plays and helped Hamilton give up the least yards and rushing yards per game of any team in the East.
Andrew Harris Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Harris won this award last year so this feels like a title defense! He led the league in rushing with a career-high 1,390 yards and 8 touchdowns on the ground. Harris also had 58 receptions for 451 yards and scored another 3 touchdowns through the air.
Brad Sinopoli Ottawa REDBLACKS
Sinopoli set a CFL record for a Canadian receiver with 116 receptions on the season. The record saw him pass Ben Cahoon (112). He has also helped us here at Ninety-Nine Yards remember some former greats. Sinopoli finished third in receiving yards in the CFL with 1,376 and had 36 second down conversion catches.
This is a re-run of last year in this category as the same two players have been nominated.
Stanley Bryant Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Bryant who is nominated for the second year in a row was part of the O line that uncorked Harris for his CFL rushing title. The Bombers offence scored the most offensive touchdowns (53) and tied for third for fewest sacks allowed (36) in the league too.
Brandon Revenberg Hamilton-Tiger Cats
Revenberg’s Ti-Cats were the team tied them with Winnipeg for third fewest sacks allowed (36) this season. He was a solid presence on an O line that had a 5,000+ yards QB and that led the league in time of possession (31:24) per game.
Ty Long BC Lions
Long combined both kicking and punting responsibility for the Lions this season. He led the league in punting (48.8 yards per punt) and net punting (38.5 yards per punt) while averaging 65.3 yards on kickoffs. He also made 43 of 49 field goal attempts this season (87.8%) and went a perfect six-for-six from 50+ yards. Acting as a dual kicker/punter Long has put points on the board and had a large impact on field position for his team.
Lewis Ward Ottawa REDBLACKS
Ward has had a record setting season as rookie kicker for Ottawa. He hit 51 of 52 field goals including an ongoing streak of 47 straight which is the all-time record for most consecutive made field goals in professional football. He also led the league with a 98.1% field goal kicking percentage, setting a single-season CFL record (the previous record was 94.7% held by Rene Paredes).
Jordan Williams-Lambert Saskatchewan Roughriders
Williams-Lambert played in 17 games and made 62 catches for 764 yards with four touchdowns. He finished first among Riders in receptions, tied for first in touchdown receptions and second in receiving yards.
Lewis Ward Ottawa REDBLACKS
Ward’s ongoing record-setting discussed above was quite a focus throughout the season. Not bad for a player that wasn’t initially expected to make the team!
Coach of the year
This sees a match-up of two coaches with plenty of CFL experience. They go back together too, as they were on the same team in Calgary in 2010, with Jones as the Stamps defensive co-ordinator and Campbell as the running backs coach.
Chris Jones Saskatchewan Roughriders
Saskatchewan head coach-GM Jones was named the West Division’s coach of the year for the third time in his career. Jones was the West’s nominee for the award in both 2014 and 2015, when he was the head coach of the Edmonton Eskimos.
The Roughriders had an improved 12-6-0 record this year and were in the running for the West Division until the last week of the season.
Rick Campbell Ottawa REDBLACKS
Campbell led the REDBLACKS to an 11-7 season that saw them win the East Division. Ottawa are one game away from competing in the Grey Cup for the third time in four years.
Ottawa head coach Campbell previously won this award in 2015.
The winners will be announced at the CFL Awards on Thursday, November 22 in Edmonton.
Image from cfl.ca