December 8, 2016

A star-studded history

Receiver Allen Pitts and quarterback Dave Dickenson

The Calgary Stampeders’ 2016 crop of Canadian Football League all-stars established a franchise record and also put the Red and White on the brink of a milestone.

The nine Stamps players announced as part of the CFL’s all-star squad this week surpassed the previous Calgary high of eight in both 2000 and 2010.

In addition, Bo Levi Mitchell, Jerome Messam, Derek Dennis, Micah Johnson, Tommie Campbell and Ciante Evans were all first-time all-stars as members of the Stamps (Messam previously earned the honour when he was with the Eskimos). That means 99 different Stamps players have been recognized as CFL all-stars since the recognition of the country’s best players was initiated in 1962.

Over the years, four Stamps named Johnson (Will, Alondra, Micah and Rick) have earned a combined total of 10 all-star berths.

Conversely, there’s only been one Smith (Brandon in 2014).

There’s been two all-stars named Hall — Richie and Darryl — but no Oates.

There’s been a Bass (Danny) and a Tuna (Bruce Covernton).

The Calgary all-star list includes an Earthquake (Earl Lunsford), a Matador (Rene Paredes), an Eagle (Day), a Sponge (David Sapunjis) and a Polecat (Bob Poley).

If this year’s batch of nine all-stars represents the high-water mark for Stamps CFL all-stars, the low point came in 1984 and 1985 when Calgary got shut out in back-to-back years. The Stamps had a combined total of nine wins and two head coaches during those two years, but no league all-stars.

Calgary also came up empty in 1989 (despite winning 10 games) and in 2007.

The Stamp who has been honoured as one of the league’s best the most often is linebacker Wayne (Thumper) Harris who was a CFL all-star eight times between 1962 and 1971.

Defensive lineman John Helton was a seven-time honouree as a Stamp (including six in a row from 1971-76), slotback Allen Pitts was a CFL all-star six times and Will Johnson and Rocco Romano were each recognized five times.

Joffrey Reynolds, the Stamps’ all-time leading rusher, was a four-time CFL all-star.

A total of 24 Stamps have earned exactly three CFL all-star nods, with defensive end Charleston Hughes joining the club this year. The list also includes such luminaries as Doug Flutie, Jon Cornish, Nik Lewis, Kelvin Anderson, Herm Harrison and Alondra Johnson.

Defensive end Will Johnson during a game against Ottawa in 1992 (Photo by Scott Grant)

Defensive end Will Johnson during a game against Ottawa in 1992 (Photo by Scott Grant)

Other random Stamps all-star facts:

  • In a 19-year period from 1998-2016, Stamps tailbacks Kelvin Anderson, Joffrey Reynolds, Jon Cornish and Jerome Messam earned a combined total of 11 all-star berths
  • From Eagle Day in 1962 to Bo Levi Mitchell this year, eight different Calgary quarterbacks have been CFL all-stars. The others are Doug Flutie (three times), Peter Liske, Rick Johnson, Jeff Garcia, Dave Dickenson and Henry Burris
  • Only two Stamps have been the CFL’s all-star centre — Bob Poley in 1986 and Brett Jones in 2014
  • Ciante Evans and Tommie Campbell this year became the third pair of Calgary cornerbacks to be named a CFL all-star in the same season. The others are Brandon Browner and Dwight Anderson in 2010 and Marvin Coleman and Al Jordan in 1996
  • Gary Allen is the only Stamps player to earn all-star recognition at two positions in the same season. Allen was honoured both as a running back and a kick returner in 1986