- Historic Performance: Mathieu Betts leads with career-high 18 sacks.
- BC Lions’ Pride: First from team to lead league since 2012.
- Record-Setting Canadian: Established single-season Canadian sack record.
Mathieu Betts of the BC Lions has been named the CFL’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player for 2023, marking an exceptional achievement in his career. The CFL Awards, part of the excitement of the Grey Cup Festival, celebrated this announcement amidst an eventful week from November 13-19 in Hamilton.
Betts’ season was nothing short of spectacular, setting a career-high with 18 sacks, the highest in the league since Keron Williams’ 12 in 2012. This feat also established a new single-season Canadian sack record, surpassing John Bowman’s 19 in 2015. His performance included 44 defensive tackles, two special teams tackles, three tackles for a loss, three sack fumbles, and a blocked punt. Notably, Betts showcased his prowess with one sack on nine occasions, two sacks three times, and a career-best three sacks in Week 3.
This victory positions Betts as the sixth Canadian to win this award and the first since Alex Singleton in 2017. It’s also the 14th time a member of the BC Lions has claimed this title, a testament to the team’s enduring defensive strength. Betts received 49 first-place votes, underscoring the impact of his performance throughout the season.
Betts’ landmark achievement highlights not only his individual skills and dedication but also the defensive capabilities of the BC Lions, setting new standards in the CFL’s defensive play. His record-setting season will undoubtedly be remembered as a significant moment in both his career and the annals of Canadian football.
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