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TrueBlue4ever

The MBB All-time Blue Bomber team: Receiver nominees

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I'm still disappointed at the lack of respect older players are getting in some of these categories. I appreciate that newer players are bigger, faster, stronger, more advanced training so they would be "better"  in a head to head comparison, but I try to view it in a " how did they stack up against the best of their era" comparison. That's why Rigney losing out to Bryant in the tackle category is frustrating. Bryant is no doubt the best in the game right now, with 2 consecutive Best Lineman awards, but Rigney was an all-star 7 times. Bill Frank was a monster in his time here too. That longevity and domination over his counterparts during that era should not be washed away by recency bias.

To that end, Leo Lewis should be above pretty much anyone not named Roberts in this category (and IMO should have topped out the kick returner category too). The bio will come out later, but he was the club`s all-time rushing leader prior to Charlie, and had a ridiculous 6.8 yards per carry average if my memory serves. And I say this as an unabashed fan of Willard Reaves, the first superstar I observed when I was weaned on Bomber football. 

And as much as I can appreciate the talent of Blink, I will always be sore about 2001 and his contribution to the club`s failed Grey Cup aspirations that year. First a petulant walk out during the club`s 12 game winning streak because he was tired of the team concept that saw him returning kicks and filling in for Troy Mills and Eric Blount in the 4th quarter when he wanted the star treatment and a dominant starting role. In the short term lead to the end of the streak in Toronto to a lousy Argos team, then a loss at home to the equally mediocre Stampeders (that actually snuck them into the playoffs), stalling the team`s momentum. Longer term it led to a change in Rick Worman`s spread offense game plan, and put the focus on Charlie, who thought that a drunken bender until 4 am in Montreal the night before the championship game was the way to prepare. Milt Stegall has never come out and blamed Charile, but he often decried the lack of dedication to practice and training that he (Stegall) took so seriously, offering grudging respect by saying Roberts had more raw talent than anyone, if only he had put any kind of the effort Stegall did into his game prep, how much better could he have been? As for the Grey Cup, when asked how disappointing it was to never get a ring, Stegall once said "I can't speak for other players, but at least I know when it came time to play in those games, I showed up rested, practiced, prepared and able to give my best in those contests, I couldn't control others who took a different approach". Dig a little deeper and the name Roberts was often tied to those comments. And don't remind me who fumbled on the goalline in 2007 where Kevin Glenn dove to recover it and busted his arm. Grrr!!!!!!!

I will be voting for Lewis and Roberts, but if I was coaching an old-style offence with a fullback/running back combo, I would put Andrew Harris at the fullback position and watch him rip off big yards on screen passes and effectively block in pass protection or as a lead blocker in the eye.

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10 minutes ago, TrueBlue4ever said:

I'm still disappointed at the lack of respect older players are getting in some of these categories. I appreciate that newer players are bigger, faster, stronger, more advanced training so they would be "better"  in a head to head comparison, but I try to view it in a " how did they stack up against the best of their era" comparison. That's why Rigney losing out to Bryant in the tackle category is frustrating. Bryant is no doubt the best in the game right now, with 2 consecutive Best Lineman awards, but Rigney was an all-star 7 times. Bill Frank was a monster in his time here too. That longevity and domination over his counterparts during that era should not be washed away by recency bias.

To that end, Leo Lewis should be above pretty much anyone not named Roberts in this category (and IMO should have topped out the kick returner category too). The bio will come out later, but he was the club`s all-time rushing leader prior to Charlie, and had a ridiculous 6.8 yards per carry average if my memory serves. And I say this as an unabashed fan of Willard Reaves, the first superstar I observed when I was weaned on Bomber football. 

And as much as I can appreciate the talent of Blink, I will always be sore about 2001 and his contribution to the club`s failed Grey Cup aspirations that year. First a petulant walk out during the club`s 12 game winning streak because he was tired of the team concept that saw him returning kicks and filling in for Troy Mills and Eric Blount in the 4th quarter when he wanted the star treatment and a dominant starting role. In the short term lead to the end of the streak in Toronto to a lousy Argos team, then a loss at home to the equally mediocre Stampeders (that actually snuck them into the playoffs), stalling the team`s momentum. Longer term it led to a change in Rick Worman`s spread offense game plan, and put the focus on Charlie, who thought that a drunken bender until 4 am in Montreal the night before the championship game was the way to prepare. Milt Stegall has never come out and blamed Charile, but he often decried the lack of dedication to practice and training that he (Stegall) took so seriously, offering grudging respect by saying Roberts had more raw talent than anyone, if only he had put any kind of the effort Stegall did into his game prep, how much better could he have been? As for the Grey Cup, when asked how disappointing it was to never get a ring, Stegall once said "I can't speak for other players, but at least I know when it came time to play in those games, I showed up rested, practiced, prepared and able to give my best in those contests, I couldn't control others who took a different approach". Dig a little deeper and the name Roberts was often tied to those comments. And don't remind me who fumbled on the goalline in 2007 where Kevin Glenn dove to recover it and busted his arm. Grrr!!!!!!!

I will be voting for Lewis and Roberts, but if I was coaching an old-style offence with a fullback/running back combo, I would put Andrew Harris at the fullback position and watch him rip off big yards on screen passes and effectively block in pass protection or as a lead blocker in the eye.

I really appreciate the effort in trying to generate discussion during a long off season, but this is the reason that I didn't really participate that much in these polls.  Most of the guys here were not even born during the days when some truly amazing players did their thing for the blue and gold so I get why they might pick Bryant over Rigney or Frank.  You can't blame them for not knowing what they don't know, but for those of us that do, the suggestion that he's "better" than them or more deserving than them is truly laughable.  At the same time, I've also been hesitant to speak up to much due to the fact that there are some more seasoned fans who seem to use this process to simply impress by naming every obscure Bomber player that they can regardless of the fact that most of those players would never, ever, make the list for "all time great".

But if nothing else, these threads have generated a little bit of conversation through the winter, and for that, I'm grateful.  

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1 minute ago, WBBFanWest said:

I really appreciate the effort in trying to generate discussion during a long off season, but this is the reason that I didn't really participate that much in these polls.  Most of the guys here were not even born during the days when some truly amazing players did their thing for the blue and gold so I get why they might pick Bryant over Rigney or Frank.  You can't blame them for not knowing what they don't know, but for those of us that do, the suggestion that he's "better" than them or more deserving than them is truly laughable.  At the same time, I've also been hesitant to speak up to much due to the fact that there are some more seasoned fans who seem to use this process to simply impress by naming every obscure Bomber player that they can regardless of the fact that most of those players would never, ever, make the list for "all time great".

But if nothing else, these threads have generated a little bit of conversation through the winter, and for that, I'm grateful.  

That really was my only overriding goal. A poll is just a poll, no binding decisions have been made or irrefutable votes for life cast. And I have seen the favoritism play out across the board, with recency bias and generational bias (which I will admit to - I have a Jonesing for the 1984 team and all players of that era), and I certainly agree about posters who list "obscure" players, which seems to be motivated by which era those posters grew up in. But we all have a right to crow about our favorites, and hopefully this little exercise got us through the winter if nothing else. And I can say that some of the name-dropping of players of another time has been helpful in enlightening me about some past greats I would have overlooked. I appreciate everyone's input here, and have enjoyed the spirited but respectful debate that has taken place (although whoever voted Alexandre Gauthier as one of the two best offensive tackles of all time......I have no words there, lol!)

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On 2019-03-25 at 8:57 AM, TrueBlue4ever said:

So Bastaja and Black get in as the guards, and Walby and a surprising Stanley Bryant are leading the way at tackle, so next we will consider the running back spot. Originally I was going to make the first category fullbacks, and leave only a single running back spot, which would have made an interesting debate when limited to one choice, but I am going to reverse course on that. The fullback spot is hard to research going back, I suspect people would have pretty much unanimously chosen Mike Sellers, and today the dual back set does not much exist with 5 receiver sets in vogue now. Even when two backs line up they often both can be a tailback. So I will just make one category for running backs and we will have 2 to choose from. Early nominees from me, without having done a lick of research on it, will include Fritz Hansen, Gerry James, Leo Lewis, Mack Herron, Jay Washington, William Miller, Willard Reaves, Robert Mimbs, Michael Richardson, Charles Roberts, Fred Reid, and Andrew Harris. I've tried to include those who won at least one rushing title, made an all-star squad, or were nominated as the team's MOP. Let me know of any others you'd like added. Bios up on Friday.

Dave Raimey needs to be in there.  Led the CFL in rushing. He's in the Blue Bomber HOF as well as the CFL HOF.  Multiple West Division & CFL All Star.

Edited by SpeedFlex27

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Many people here are not making an honest effort in doing any actual research into the Bomber players pre-1980.  It shouldn't be that hard considering the research consists of looking at one CFL team, not the other 8.  If you are saying it will be a hard to pick between Reaves, Roberts and Harris for the top two running backs in Bomber history, it shows a great deal laziness in researching players with respect to their peers throughout history.

The correct answer is Leo Lewis is an automatic first choice with the second choice being one of Roberts, Hansen (depending on your definition of running back) and Reaves.  Harris has not been here long enough to warrant discussion.  Lewis is objectively viewed as the best Bomber running back in history and probably a top 5 - 8 running back in CFL history.  He had a combination of longevity and elite seasons.

For lessons on how to compare the greatness of pro athletes across different decades/eras, I would suggest a trip to the History of Hockey board on the Hfboards and the current top - 100 hockey players of all-time project that is nearing its conclusion - a much more difficult project considering it covers a much longer period of time, far more teams and leagues other then the NHL.

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28 minutes ago, blueandgoldguy said:

Many people here are not making an honest effort in doing any actual research into the Bomber players pre-1980.  It shouldn't be that hard considering the research consists of looking at one CFL team, not the other 8.  If you are saying it will be a hard to pick between Reaves, Roberts and Harris for the top two running backs in Bomber history, it shows a great deal laziness in researching players with respect to their peers throughout history.

The correct answer is Leo Lewis is an automatic first choice with the second choice being one of Roberts, Hansen (depending on your definition of running back) and Reaves.  Harris has not been here long enough to warrant discussion.  Lewis is objectively viewed as the best Bomber running back in history and probably a top 5 - 8 running back in CFL history.  He had a combination of longevity and elite seasons.

For lessons on how to compare the greatness of pro athletes across different decades/eras, I would suggest a trip to the History of Hockey board on the Hfboards and the current top - 100 hockey players of all-time project that is nearing its conclusion - a much more difficult project considering it covers a much longer period of time, far more teams and leagues other then the NHL.

Man - hobbies can be a lot of work...

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3 hours ago, blueandgoldguy said:

Many people here are not making an honest effort in doing any actual research into the Bomber players pre-1980.  It shouldn't be that hard considering the research consists of looking at one CFL team, not the other 8.  If you are saying it will be a hard to pick between Reaves, Roberts and Harris for the top two running backs in Bomber history, it shows a great deal laziness in researching players with respect to their peers throughout history.

The correct answer is Leo Lewis is an automatic first choice with the second choice being one of Roberts, Hansen (depending on your definition of running back) and Reaves.  Harris has not been here long enough to warrant discussion.  Lewis is objectively viewed as the best Bomber running back in history and probably a top 5 - 8 running back in CFL history.  He had a combination of longevity and elite seasons.

For lessons on how to compare the greatness of pro athletes across different decades/eras, I would suggest a trip to the History of Hockey board on the Hfboards and the current top - 100 hockey players of all-time project that is nearing its conclusion - a much more difficult project considering it covers a much longer period of time, far more teams and leagues other then the NHL.

Willard Reaves was a great back. Absolutely dominated his position in the CFL & was feared as he could deliver some punishing hits as a back & was strong enough to run over tacklers. On the next play he could finesse, dangle a tackler & then explode by him. He also had the advantage of a great OL blocking for him. Loved watching guys like Reaves, Miller & others play as they were all deserving of the praise heaped on them.

However, I was fortunate enough to see Dave Raimey play. He played on a very bad football team. He didn't have the luxury of a great OL opening holes for him. Matter of fact, the OL that played in front of him was the worst in the CFL from 1967 thru the 1969 season. There wasn't a great qb calling the plays as Ken Ploen had retired to be replaced by the inept rookie John Schneider. There was no genius coordinator calling the plays just the hapless Joe Zaleski. Raimey had just one teammate who could be a threat as a receiver in flanker Ken Nielsen. That was it for the Bomber offense as far as personnel went. Raimey had to virtually do it all on his own.

The result was he didn't have better stats than a  number of other backs on this list. Yet between 1965 & the first 2 games of the 1969 season he rushed for almost 4,000 yards & was elected into the CFL HOF in 1989. That speaks volumes for a player stuck on not just a bad team at the time but a dreadful team! He was a CFL All Canadian in 1966 as well as a Western Conference All Star in 1965, 1966, 1967 & 1968 for Winnipeg. He was the CFL leading rusher in 1966. He was a dangerous kick returner as well with  3,234 KO yards for the Bombers. I know that this may sound like a cliche but he did put the Bombers on his back multiple times & carried that team as there was literally no one else that could do it. I don't see the nominees listed yet but once they are, he & Lewis will be my 2 choices.

 

And no, Raimey was not an obscure player nor am I trying to impress anyone here with my knowledge. I'm trying to contribute & partake of that knowledge as I saw most of these players play. I known how good some of them were against their contemporaries. I too, am frustrated that a current player in Bryant won as a tackle over some other of the greats but it is what it is, I guess.

Edited by SpeedFlex27

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On 2019-03-25 at 5:25 PM, TrueBlue4ever said:

And as much as I can appreciate the talent of Blink, I will always be sore about 2001 and his contribution to the club`s failed Grey Cup aspirations that year. First a petulant walk out during the club`s 12 game winning streak because he was tired of the team concept that saw him returning kicks and filling in for Troy Mills and Eric Blount in the 4th quarter when he wanted the star treatment and a dominant starting role. In the short term lead to the end of the streak in Toronto to a lousy Argos team, then a loss at home to the equally mediocre Stampeders (that actually snuck them into the playoffs), stalling the team`s momentum. Longer term it led to a change in Rick Worman`s spread offense game plan, and put the focus on Charlie, who thought that a drunken bender until 4 am in Montreal the night before the championship game was the way to prepare. Milt Stegall has never come out and blamed Charile, but he often decried the lack of dedication to practice and training that he (Stegall) took so seriously, offering grudging respect by saying Roberts had more raw talent than anyone, if only he had put any kind of the effort Stegall did into his game prep, how much better could he have been? As for the Grey Cup, when asked how disappointing it was to never get a ring, Stegall once said "I can't speak for other players, but at least I know when it came time to play in those games, I showed up rested, practiced, prepared and able to give my best in those contests, I couldn't control others who took a different approach". Dig a little deeper and the name Roberts was often tied to those comments. And don't remind me who fumbled on the goalline in 2007 where Kevin Glenn dove to recover it and busted his arm. Grrr!!!!!!!

 

I think about this every now and then and it still bothers me... just imagine what kind of player Charlie would've been if he had put in even half the effort Milt put in... probably the most purely talented player I've ever seen play...

Edited by bearpants

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17 minutes ago, bearpants said:

I think about this every now and then and it still bothers me... just imagine what kind of player Charlie would've been if he had put in even half the effort Milt put in... probably the most purely talented player I've ever seen play...

Had Charlie Roberts expended anywhere near the preparation time that Milt Segal put in, he would have totally eclipsed George Reed as the best running back the CFL has ever seen, but a Red Bull plus a couple of chocolate bars as breakfast, game day or nor isn't gonna do it. He would have been a legend rather than just another talented runner.

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33 minutes ago, Tracker said:

Had Charlie Roberts expended anywhere near the preparation time that Milt Segal put in, he would have totally eclipsed George Reed as the best running back the CFL has ever seen, but a Red Bull plus a couple of chocolate bars as breakfast, game day or nor isn't gonna do it. He would have been a legend rather than just another talented runner.

that said the night before a LD game he was seen by many (including my self) out late with booze and women I was sure he was going to be hung over and play miserably. Yet he busted off close to 200 yards rushing in a laugher. 

 You can never know a would have happened IF this or that. Maybe his body wouldn't have held up as long as it did if he trained like milt. Or maybe if he did it from a young age he would have run a 40 faster then 4.6 coming out of college and been Darren sproles 2.0 in the nfl or better. 

He was such a phenomenal player, right up there with milt as my favorite bomber. Harris is my favorite current bomber. Leo Lewis is one of the greatest bombers of all time. Picking 2 is nigh impossible. With that said id currently, take blink and Lewis. Though I feel like Harris with blink in a sellers type role would be ungodly. 

Its hard to compare guys cross any generational gap. I think you have to take what they did in their respective eras and compare the dominance. Rather than compare the athletes. Athletically, even the guys from the 01 team would have trouble measuring up today. 

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My Charles Roberts experience  came when I ran in to him leaving polo park one day.  I wish I could remember the exact game that weekend but I can't.  Anyways,  I was with my son who was around ten at the time... we had watched the Bombers lose the day before.  My son was carrying several bomber player cards so I immmediatley turned to my son and said, " there he is, ask him"... ... of course meaning you ask for the autograph for your card.  Charles gave us the dirtiest looks before my son could even ask,  then Charles mumbled some other garbage and stormed past us.   I wish I could remember the exact game,  cause I think he sucked in it and obviously thought that's what we were gonna ask..... either way though,  Me and my son were happy when he finally hit the road.   To this day he likes Sellers wayyyyy more.....and for the NFL he is a redskins fan to this day.   

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4 hours ago, NorthernSkunk said:

My Charles Roberts experience  came when I ran in to him leaving polo park one day.  I wish I could remember the exact game that weekend but I can't.  Anyways,  I was with my son who was around ten at the time... we had watched the Bombers lose the day before.  My son was carrying several bomber player cards so I immmediatley turned to my son and said, " there he is, ask him"... ... of course meaning you ask for the autograph for your card.  Charles gave us the dirtiest looks before my son could even ask,  then Charles mumbled some other garbage and stormed past us.   I wish I could remember the exact game,  cause I think he sucked in it and obviously thought that's what we were gonna ask..... either way though,  Me and my son were happy when he finally hit the road.   To this day he likes Sellers wayyyyy more.....and for the NFL he is a redskins fan to this day.   

He shouldn't have treated your son like that.  Too bad.

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Sorry everyone. Life (and more pressingly work) intervenes this week, start of a new fiscal year coupled with a hunch or projects kept me working overtime on many things, with precious little time to devote to the bios. Took about 3 times as long as usual to crank it out, but it is up now. Thanks for your patience and the good debate. I ultimately decided to leave Mike Sellers off the list (sorry) since it was taking so long, we had 13 others, and he did not even crack 900 career yards rushing with the club. But I will say he may be the 2nd or 3rd most effective pass catcher out of the backfield (behind Harris and Lewis) the club has ever employed. If we had a fullback position, he would be a leading candidate (so would Harris if we modified his game) and who can forget him dragging the entire ‘Rider D that one drive in a pre-Banjp Bowl game without his helmet on. Just a tank, never used to his full potential because he shared the backfield with Roberts. 

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Leo Lewis and Charles Roberts are deservedly running away (no pun intended) with the poll, so it is time to move on to the receiving corps. I will split up the candidates into slotback and wide receiver categories, but as some were referred to as wingbacks (which morphed in to the slotback position) and flankers (which as best as I can tell was the original wide receiver position), I may inadvertently have put a receiver in the wrong category, so please alert me to any errors. Also, the CFL listed every all-star as a wide receiver (even Stegall, a career slotback), so my slotback list is pretty much from my memory, and wide receiver is my default where I wasn't sure.

Regarding the list - to keep the candidate list from spinning out of control, I was going to limit the number of candidates in each category to 10. In fact, I came up with 9 slotbacks and 12 wide receivers, and chose not to include a further 7 receivers (all wideouts) due to the constraints of the list. I will tell you who I have omitted, and why (in my rationale anyway), so if you feel that one of the receivers on the omitted list (or someone else I have not mentioned at all) deserves to be on the final list, tell me, BUT tell me also who they should replace, because I am not making the candidates' pool bigger. And singular big moments do not equate to an all-time career, so Alfred Jackson and his 307 yard receiving game do not warrant inclusion on the candidate list

My basis for initial inclusion was any receiver who is in the club's hall of fame, or had at least one CFL all-star nod in their career. I have left off a few receivers who did win the club's rookie of the year award - in those cases I felt their one good season was not enough to establish them as an all-time great. I hope no one will begrudge me leaving the likes of Mitch Running and Eric Guliford off the list because of that.

So the ones I left off the list despite meeting the baseline criteria in some instances are:

Derick Armstrong - only 2 seasons here, only one 1000+ season, and an acrimonious departure

David Williams - chemistry with Dunigan, but only one decent year here, and did a lot more with the BC Lions, so not enough career mileage to warrant a nom

Geroy Simon - accomplishments with other teams do not factor in, so his Hall of Fame career with BC is a moot point. He only topped 700 yards once in his 2 seasons here.

Chris Matthews - rookie of the year, but his 1 & 1/3 seasons in Winnipeg were too brief compared to other candidates. NFL success not a factor to consider

Albert Johnson III - his receiving numbers were pretty pedestrian and his time here limited, he was more of a return specialist (which already earned him a spot on the all-time team)

Eugene Goodlow - hard to keep him off this list, but his phenomenal 1981 year (100 catches - first ever to do that, and 1494 yards with 15 TDs is brilliant) on its own does not get him into the conversation of all-time great based on lack of longevity. He basically had only that one year of stats (injured 5 games into the next season, had he finished out that year on the pace he was at, I probably would have added him to the list).

Arland Bruce III - "Runako Reth" only had one 1000+ yard season and 2 years in Bomber colours, and his achievements elsewhere do not count.

 

NOW, BEFORE YOU TELL ME STEGALL AND POPLAWSKI ARE WINNING THIS, SO DON'T BOTHER DEBATING  - YOU WILL PICK THREE FROM EACH GROUP.

With the advent of the 5 receiver set, I will take the top 2 slotbacks and top 2 wide receivers and place them on the team. The #3 choice at each position will go head-to-head in a subsequent run-off vote to be placed in the "5th receiver" spot. 

 

The slotbacks:

Gerald Alphin, Terrance Edwards, Rick House, Gord Paterson, Joe Poplawski, Tom Scott, Milt Stegall, Jim Thorpe, Gerald Wilcox

 

The wide receivers:

Darvin Adams, Jeff Boyd, Clarence Denmark, Farrell Funston, Robert Gordon, Bud Grant, Mike Holmes, Bob LaRose, James Murphy, Ken Nielson, Ernie Pitts, Perry Tuttle

 

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My initial take is definitely Stegall and Poplawski are locks at slotback, the third spot is an interesting battle between Edwards, House, and Wilcox. Diving into their stats may help with the ultimate choice. Murphy is locked in a one wide receiver spot, and some interesting candidates for the other position and the #3 runner-up. Pitts and Nielsen may pull ahead of a crowded second tier that includes Boyd, Gordon, Holmes, and Grant (factoring in their respective era-based successes). Older players will have less flashy numbers due to changes in the style of the passing game, so remind your self to consider their success against others of that same era. If I'm lucky I can get the bios done by the end of the weekend, but don't hold me to it. I'll do my best.

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