Someone once said, “Let my people go.” For some CFL fans, it will feel like a sermon from the mount in preparation of the exodus. Every year CFL players are leaving to chase a dream, higher pay and a shot at what some would call “the big show.”
As a fan of a team or player it will hurt at first, and for a while, you will come to hate the player, the NFL, and maybe even U.S and CDN dollar exchange. I’m sure there will be a CFL twitter support group popping up as time goes on to help with the seven stages of grief.
With Bo Levi Mitchell being yet another name on the list of possible CFL players ready to make the trek south of the border to pursue an NFL contract I look at the reason why he is prepared to make that jump to the NFL.
Why Bo Levi Mitchell is the next Jeff Garcia:
Season Snapshot – Jeff Garcia 1995-98 Calgary Stampeders
Jeff Garcia put the work in and got an early chance at success after Doug Flutie left for Toronto in 1996. Yes, the same Doug Flutie that cut his teeth in Calgary and eventually found himself a pivot in the NFL. Anyone see a trend here?
Jeff Garcia averages per season 1995-98
96.0 QB Rating
4108 Passing Yards
27.75 Passing TDs
61.8% Pass Completion
Season Snapshot – Bo Levi Mitchell 2015-08 Calgary Stampeders
Bo Levi Mitchell put the work in as well. He was a QB that worked himself up from the 3rd string option in Calgary. At one point he was sitting on that Stampeders depth chart in 2013 just above Brad Sinopoli. Mitchell took his time getting to know the game behind Drew Tate and Kevin Glenn. The Calgary QB didn’t disappoint and when he became a starter showed the league that his arm was not only a canon, but his legs could work as well. He was just mobile enough to skirt the pocket and find room to make plays. His arm proving it had accuracy and length for big downfield plays.
Bo Levi Mitchell averages per season 2015-2018
100.1 QB Rating
4868 Passing Yards
28.75 Passing TDs
64.5% Pass Completion
Just by looking at the averages of the two QBs you can see the comparison I’m trying to make here. Not only did both quarterbacks dominate the passing game. They both had an incredible ability to connect with receivers. What an astonishing completion percentage over those four years reviewed.
It isn’t about just the numbers, but it is about aging in a sport with uptrends all moving in the right direction. Jeff Garcia left the CFL for the NFL at the ripe old age of 29. Can you guess which Calgary Stampeder Quarterback turns 29 this March? There is an age in sports where players reach a peak and begin to age with grace. For Quarterbacks in the NFL that age is in the wheelhouse of 28-33. The formula points in favour of Mitchell making the jump very soon.
Both Mitchell and Garcia made the CFL and exciting game to watch when they stepped onto the field. Is it time to watch a future CFL Hall of Fame candidate leave for that U.S Dollar contract and return to his native country? If you are reading this and sipping out of your Stampeders coffee cup, the answer is a “NO WAY.” If you are a fan of any other team in the CFL that has watched Bo Levi Mitchell and his Calgary Stampeders dominate the stat sheet, trophy case, and standings for the last five years, I can hear the resounding “PEACE OUT LEVI.”
Tweet me a “No Way” or “Peace Out Levi” @projectsmith
Banner image from thestar.com
Mike Smith is a founding partner of the BleedRedblacks podcast, and is a season ticket holder in Ottawa. He is particularly interested in statistical trends within the game and can be found on twitter.