The 2023 Canadian Football League (CFL) season is only two months away, and all nine teams are going through their final preparations for what should be an action-packed and exciting campaign. Before the first kickoff on June 8, there is the matter of the 2023 CFL Draft on May 2, which sees a fresh crop of talent enter the mix. The teams involved in the draft would give their right arm to unearth a potential superstar that goes on to achieve what the following three CFL legends achieved in the game.
It is impossible to mention the CFL’s best-ever players without talking about Doug Flutie. At 5ft 10in and 180lbs, Flutie’s physique is not one of your typical quarterback, but the Maryland native did not let that stop him from becoming one of CFL’s all-time greats. Flutie played in the NFL for the Chicago Bears and New England Patriots after being drafted 285th overall in the 1985 NFL Draft. Flutie’s small frame and the fact he’d agreed to play in the USFL for the New Jersey Generals put teams off. Flutie left the NFL in 1989 and signed for the BC Lions of the CFL.
NFL’s loss was undoubtedly the CFL’s gain because Flutie shone brightly in Canada. Flutie spent eight seasons in the CFL and only endured a losing season once. He threw for 41,355 yards, 270 touchdowns, and had a 103.9 passer rating. Flutie also scored 66 rushing touchdowns between 1990-97. If Flutie still played today, Online Sports Betting would have his team as favourites to win every game because he was that good.
By the time Flutie called time on his illustrious career, he had won three Grey Cups, been crowned the Grey Cup MVP thrice, was voted the CFL’s Most Outstanding Player six times, and been a CFL All-Star on six occasions. He still holds the CFL record for passing yards in a season (6,619) and passing touchdowns (48).
George Reed was an elite-level running back that spent his entire career with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Reed played 203 games in all, and what a player he was. Reed racked up a record-breaking 16,116 rushing yards, an immense total that only Emmitt Smith and Walter Payton of the NFL have managed to surpass. Reed scored 134 rushing touchdowns, which remains a CFL record to this day.
Reed loves football, which is one of the reasons he served as the president of the Canadian Football League Players’ Association (CFLPA) from 1972-1981 while he was still an active player. He became the president of the CFLPA again in 1986-1993 once he hung up his boots for good.
Jackie Parker was a freak of nature, although we mean that in the nicest possible way. Why say such a thing? Because Parker did not only excel in one position, but he was an incredible football player equally adept at playing quarterback as he was running back, defensive back, and even a kicker! Parker’s career is made all the more astonishing because he almost did not make it into his teens. As a child, he suffered a ruptured appendix, then contracted a flesh-eating disease where doctors wanted to amputate Parker’s leg, but his mother would not allow it. Parker, thankfully, fully recovered and went on to become one of the CFL’s all-time greats.
The NFL’s New York Giants drafted Parker 325th overall in 1953, although he never turned out in a Giants uniform. Instead, Parker turned out for the Edmonton Eskimoes, who was then part of the Western Interprovincial Football Union, and later the CFL. After nine seasons with Edmonton, Parker played three seasons for the Toronto Argonauts before ending his career with the BC Lions in 1968.
Parker’s career statistics are almost unbelievable. He threw 16,476 yards and 88 touchdowns, received 2,308 yards and 19 touchdowns, rushed 5,210 yards for 67 touchdowns, made 12 interceptions as a defensive back, and made 40 field goals! There has never been a player like Parker since, and there will likely never be one in his mould.
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