Each week the CFL puts out game notes profiling team and player records. This week the league noted that Brad Sinopoli of Ottawa has gone over 100 receptions on the season. With three games remaining, Sinopoli could make 121 receptions this season, which would be the fifth most all-time.
In the CFL there are targets that every player heads into the season looking to reach to prove their worth. For receivers getting around 1000 yards and/or making 100 catches would certainly constitute success.
Sinopoli has certainly had a successful year. When the league mentions current success it always reminds you of those who have gone before. The man at the head of that individual season receptions list is Canadian Football Hall of Famer Derrell, “Mookie” Mitchell.
1998: An Incredible Year
“Mookie” put together his best season ever in 1998 when he caught a CFL record 160 passes and became just the third player to eclipse the 2,000 yards receiving hitting that mark exactly. For yardage it was three yards off of the second best season held by Terry Greer and 36 yards off of the single-season record held by Allen Pitts.
To go along with his 2,000-yard season in 1998 Mitchell, as well as most receptions in a single season, also tied a record for most receptions in a game with 16.
For Mitchell that was his best year in the league. It certainly wasn’t the only good season he had in the CFL. Mitchell was a prolific pass catcher in the CFL and his great play started early. In 1997, his rookie year he had 1,457 yards and 17 touchdowns with the Toronto Argonauts.
Mitchell won two Grey Cups, one with the Argos and one with the Esks. When he eventually left to go to Edmonton he became the veteran presence on the team and undoubtedly was a factor helping the team reach and win it all.
A footnote of interest for UK fans is that Mitchell suited up for the Scottish Claymores in their debut season. The Claymores were 2-8 in what was still the WLAF in 1995 and Mitchell had just 11 catches for 145 yards and one touchdown.
Better times were around the corner for both the team and the player. In 1996 the Claymores would win the ‘World Bowl’ and by 1997 Mitchell would find himself being the CFL’s Most Outstanding rookie and winning the Grey Cup with Toronto.
‘Mookie’ would become a 3 time CFL all-star and in 2006 was inducted into the Hall of Fame. It’s that incredible 1998 season that really stands out though. Rightly so as remarkable performance should be remembered. Twenty years later when the CFL refers to the achievements of its current crop of stars that one season still leads the way for pass catches.
Records were made to be broken. One day it may well fall. In the meantime it is always nice to be reminded of the play of those who came before.