All time great CFL receivers: Ben Cahoon
I love the history of pro football, and I love the CFL. Which is why in the past on the 99 Yards website CFL pages we have looked at some of the greats of the game. So far, we have looked back at a variety of special teams players. As well as defensive superstars quarterbacks, and running backs (See end of article).
But what about the men out wide? I thought it might be fun to look back at some of the great CFL names in that area of the game. After all, UK based NFL fans with a love of the history of the game can tell you plenty about men like Jery Rice, Randy Moss, Don Hutson, Steve Largent, Calvin Johnson and many many more.
Well I am here to tell UK based gridiron fans that the 3 down game has a pantheon of its own. We started looking at these legendary 3 Down wideouts with Milt Stegall. Now it is time to move on to Alouettes’ great Ben Cahoon.
Ben Cahoon and the Montreal Alouettes equals success
The 1998 CFL Draft was pretty good to the Montreal Alouettes. In the third round they took Hall of Fame O-lineman Scott Flory. But even before that, in the first round they had taken a man who would be synonymous with an incredible period of success for the club. That man was Ben Cahoon, who they took with the sixth overall pick out of BYU.
From his first season (1998) to his last (2010) in Montreal, Cahoon and the Als enjoyed remarkable success. Over that span they went 151-82-1. They appeared in the playoffs every year he was there. Making it to the Grey Cup on eight occasions, and winning it three times. Firstly in 2002. Then rounding out with three consecutive Grey Cup appearances and back to back titles in 2009 & 2010.
Cahoon caught 33 passes in his rookie season in 1998. Then his career blossomed as he never made less than 51 catches in a season after that. His most productive season probably came in 2003 when he had 112 catches for 1,561 yards and 13 touchdowns.
He would finish his career with 1,017 receptions, 13,296 yards receiveing and 65 touchdowns. He also had nine seasons in which he had 1,000 receiving yards, and 30 career games in which he had 100+ yards receiving.
Making the tough catches
Ben Cahoon listed at 5-foot-9 and 185 pounds. Hardly the prototypical big bodied ‘go to’ receiver. Yet he was ultra dependable.
Before getting to the CFL he saw it as a stepping stone, “I … thought I’d come here and dominate and then get to the NFL. I came up here and was absolutely shocked and blown away by the talent level at training camp. I made the team my first year by the skin of my teeth”.
Once he made the CFL his home however he was more than comfortable. In fact it felt like If the ball was anywhere near him, Cahoon would catch it. Especially when a big catch was called for. His speciality was making tough grabs over the middle and making it all look routine.
Ben Cahoon: The awards
A three time CFL All-Star (1999, 2004 and 2008), Cahoon was also a ten time East All-Star too (1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009). He was nominated MOC 9 times by the Als as well as twice winning the Most Outstanding Canadian award in the CFL (2002 and 2003).
He was the CFL all-time receptions leader at retirement, and still sits third all-time with 1,017 grabs. Cahoon is also the Grey Cup leader in receptions. Ben Cahoon put up 47 career Grey Cup game receptions alongside 658 yards. (The latter also being a Grey Cup record).
The 3 time Grey Cup champion was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2014.
Beyond the wide receivers
Special teams players we have looked at have included kickers Paul Osbaldiston, Lui Passaglia, Bob Cameron and Dave Cutler. As well as legendary returners Michael “Pinball” Clemons and Henry ‘Gizmo’ Williams.
On the quarterbacking front we have looked at the likes of Damon Allen, Ron Lancaster, Tom Wilkinson, Tracy Ham, Tom Clements, Dieter Brock and Sam Etcheverry.
Not to mention defensive superstars such as Wayne Harris, Willie Pless, Angelo Mosca, Dickie Harris, Norm Fieldgate, Jim Corrigall, and Bill Baker.
While the backs we looked at were legendary too. Including Kelvin Anderson, Charles Roberts, George Reed, Johnny Bright, & the legendary Mike Pringle.
Players make the game and great players make up part of the rich fabric of the history fo the game. So if you want to know more why not pick some out and take a look?
Ben Cahoon lifts the Grey Cup. Image from cbc.ca