Published on January 21, 2014 8:52 PM by dbo.
Announcing his retirement today, Anthony Calvillo passed into his post-football-playing life as the greatest ever. Over 79,000 yards, the pro football record, 455 TD passes, 125 – 300+ yard games, 11 – 4000+ yard seasons and more accomplishments mark what Calvillo did on the field. More than just an arm in a football jersey, Calvillo led and inspired many in how he handled himself over 16 years in Montreal.
Some may dispute such a title. Ron Lancaster didn’t have the advantages of the modern game (18 game schedules, spread formations and read offences), but Calvillo only took advantage of the game given him. Ignore the quantitative facts because Calvillo didn’t play in some other league, something Cavillo had no control of. Not an exciting enough player to qualify as the best, the opinion of someone with no memory and no perspective. He may not have played for your team, like Ron Lancaster, or played down south like many others, or been as exciting or revolutionary as Condredge Holloway, but I believe there is no question, until his records fall, Calvillo was the best quarterback the CFL has seen. There is also no doubt to me that Lancaster, Holloway, Moon, Flutie, Allen and many others have a special place as accomplished quarterbacks in this league, and each has their own attributes and capabilities that make them great.
Calvillo was so much more than just his accomplishments on the field. What made Anthony a great QB was not only his play, but the way he carried himself. A true hero, someone not only to emulate, but to look to for strength. If he got through his challenges, you could face yours. Faced with career, family and health issues like many families face, he made it through and continued to perform at a high level, but never put the game before more important things. Off the field, a gentle, humble, family man, not made for the constant public spotlight, but performed his duty for the team, accessible and honest. Never quit in the face of criticism over the lack of Grey Cup victories and an ever-fickle fan base, making his three victories in eight appearances more sweet. Calvillo is the perfect leader of a team to cheer for. Overcoming so much, his victories, even when the odds were in his favour, were one of an underdog, adding to the euphoria of each championship.
Much was written today on Calvillo’s retirement, from former player and current commentator Glen Suitor to Dave Naylor and many others. These and many others on Twitter stood up to say Merci Anthony. I too wish to say Merci Anthony and bonne chance!