February 27, 2013

Is Football's All-Time Passing Leader Not Cut Out For the Pro Football Hall of Fame?

By - Brad Heerschop

It has long been a discussion as to whether or not Canadian Football League (CFL) players should be honored in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. However, it is well known that CFL players will not be inducted unless their NFL achievements have made it possible.

That said, the name in itself lends to the thought process that all "pro" football players with lifetimes of unheralded accolades and achievements should be considered for Canton. So why then shouldn't Anthony Calvillo, football's all-time passing leader, be given a nod into those hallowed walls?

Photo by: Olivier Jean
Calvillo, currently of the CFL's Montreal Alouettes, has thrown for a staggering 78,494 yards during the course of his career, which places him well ahead of Brett Favre's NFL record of 71,838 yards. Calvillo ranks second in all-time passing touchdowns with 449, has a career completion percentage of 62.5% and boasts an incredible quarterback rating of 95.9. He has won 3 Grey Cups (the CFL's equivalent of the Super Bowl) in 2002, 2009 and 2010, and was named the game's MVP in 2002. Calvillo has also received the CFL's Most Outstanding Player Award on three separate occasions (2003, 2008 and 2009) and has been named a CFL All-Star 10 times.

Bear in mind that Calvillo is still active when considering this already long list of notable achievements.

On the other hand, people would argue that the CFL has their own Hall of Fame, and thus, their players should not be eligible for the Pro Football one.

In addition to that, the CFL is a pass-first league, due to the much larger field. Calvillo's incredible numbers can be attributed to a few key components: Not only is the field 10 yards longer than the standard 100 yard field we are used to, but it is also 65 yards wide, compared to the 53 and 1/3 yard fields of the NFL. The extra size of the field allows for many more options and views downfield for a CFL quarterback. Add to this the fact that the CFL has 12 men on the field at a time, giving Calvillo an extra option on every passing down.

One could argue as well that the defenses that Calvillo dissects are much more susceptible to breakdowns in coverage than those in the NFL.

To top things off there are 18 games per season, compared to only 16 in the NFL, again giving the edge to the quarterbacks of the CFL.

It is my belief that Canton should not allow CFL players into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but the fans who feel Calvillo and those of his caliber should be inducted will not waiver on their opinion that these athletes should be honored with Pro Football's highest achievement.

There is however, a simple solution. This argument could all be put to rest if the name were changed. Change the name from the Pro Football Hall of Fame to the NFL Hall of Fame. That would end all controversy surrounding this topic and allow football's greatest to be honored in their own respects.

But until this name change takes place, this will always be a point of contention for CFL and other football fans around the globe.


  1. It's fine as is IMO. The CFL isn't the same level of competition, even though both are considered "pro" leagues. I wouldn't hold my breath as far as the NFL changing the name of their Hall Of Fame, either. Since they're the NFL, they don't care what ANYBODY thinks. Lol

  2. Agreed. I think the name should be changed, but the NFL won't do it. It just seems logical, is all.