The Canadian Football League (CFL) Awards 2023 held in Niagara Falls were a celebration of outstanding talent and achievements in Canadian football. The event was marked not only by the recognition of exceptional players but also by a heartfelt tribute to a CFL legend. Let’s dive into the highlights of this memorable occasion.
Honoring a Legend: George Reed Most Outstanding Player Award
The 2023 CFL Awards introduced a significant change by renaming the Most Outstanding Player award to honor the late George Reed. Reed, a CFL icon, left an indelible mark on the league’s history before passing away at the age of 83. He retired in 1975 as the CFL’s all-time leading rusher. This name change reflects the league’s deep respect for his enduring legacy.
The deserving recipient of the George Reed Most Outstanding Player Award was Chad Kelly of the Toronto Argonauts. Kelly, the team’s quarterback, played a pivotal role in their success, leading them to a record-tying 16 wins in the 2023 season. His remarkable season statistics included 4,123 passing yards, 23 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions. Notably, Kelly also made significant contributions in rushing, accumulating 248 yards and scoring eight touchdowns.
Exceptional Players Recognized
The Toronto Argonauts shone brightly at the 2023 CFL Awards, with several of their players receiving accolades for their exceptional performances throughout the season. Let’s take a look at the outstanding individuals who were honored:
Most Outstanding Canadian: Brady Oliveira, Blue Bombers
Brady Oliveira, the running back for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, was recognized as the Most Outstanding Canadian. His stellar season saw him lead the league in rushing, amassing an impressive 1,534 yards and scoring nine rushing touchdowns. Oliveira’s performance marked a significant milestone, as he became only the second Canadian player to rush for over 1,500 yards in a season since 2013.
Most Outstanding Defensive Player: Mathieu Betts, Lions
Mathieu Betts, a formidable defensive player for the BC Lions, had a season for the books. He set a single-season CFL record for a Canadian player with an astounding 18 sacks. In addition to his sack record, Betts recorded 42 tackles and forced four fumbles, solidifying his reputation as one of the league’s top defenders.
Most Outstanding Rookie: Qwan’tez Stiggers, Argos
Qwan’tez Stiggers, a rookie for the Toronto Argonauts, burst onto the CFL scene with an impressive debut season. He showcased his skills with five interceptions and 53 defensive tackles, making a significant impact on his team’s success.
Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman: Dejon Allen, Argos
Dejon Allen, the right tackle for the Toronto Argonauts, earned recognition as the Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman. His exceptional performance included allowing only two sacks, contributing to the Argos’ formidable offensive line.
Most Outstanding Special Teams Player: Javon Leake, Argos
Javon Leake, known for his prowess in returning punts, was named the Most Outstanding Special Teams Player. His electrifying four punt-return touchdowns made him a standout player in the 2023 season.
Annis Stukus Trophy (Coach of the Year): Ryan Dinwiddie, Argos
Ryan Dinwiddie, the head coach of the Toronto Argonauts, received the prestigious Annis Stukus Trophy for Coach of the Year. With an impressive 16-2 record, tied for the best in CFL history, Dinwiddie’s leadership played a pivotal role in the Argos’ success.
Tom Pate Memorial Trophy: Brett Lauther, Roughriders
Brett Lauther of the Saskatchewan Roughriders was honored with the Tom Pate Memorial Trophy, recognizing his sportsmanship and contributions to the community.
Jake Gaudaur Veterans’ Award: Brayden Lenius, Roughriders
Brayden Lenius, a Canadian player for the Roughriders, received the Jake Gaudaur Veterans’ Award for exemplifying attributes of Canada’s veterans.
Hugh Campbell Distinguished Leadership Award: George ‘Gio’ Hopkins, Stampeders
George ‘Gio’ Hopkins, the Stampeders’ equipment manager, was presented with the Hugh Campbell Distinguished Leadership Award for his outstanding leadership and contributions to the CFL.
CFL Commissioner’s Award: Bob Young, Tiger-Cats
Bob Young, the owner of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, received the CFL Commissioner’s Award in recognition of his significant contributions to the CFL.
Jane Mawby Tribute Award: Laurence Pontbriand
Laurence Pontbriand, the CFL’s senior manager of football and officiating development, was honored with the Jane Mawby Tribute Award for her behind-the-scenes contributions to the league.
A Glimpse into the CFL
The CFL is Canada’s premier football league, featuring nine teams based in different cities. The 2023 CFL season spanned 21 weeks, comprising 18 games for each team and three weeks off. The season typically runs from June to November and culminates in a three-week playoff series leading to the Grey Cup championship game in late November. The CFL, officially formed on January 19, 1958, through the merger of the Interprovincial Rugby Football Union (“Big Four”) and the Western Interprovincial Football Union, holds a special place in Canadian sports history.
Canadian Football League Awards 2023 – FAQs
- Who received the George Reed Most Outstanding Player award at the 2023 Canadian Football League Awards? Chad Kelly, the Toronto Argonauts’ quarterback, was honored with the prestigious George Reed Most Outstanding Player award.
- How did Brady Oliveira of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers stand out in the 2023 CFL season? Brady Oliveira led the league in rushing, accumulating 1,534 yards and earning the Most Outstanding Canadian honors at the Canadian Football League Awards 2023.
- Which defensive player set a single-season record for Canadian football with 18 sacks at the 2023 CFL Awards? Mathieu Betts, a BC Lions defensive player, achieved a remarkable feat with 18 sacks, earning him the title of Most Outstanding Defensive Player.
- Who was recognized as the Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman at the Canadian Football League Awards 2023? Dejon Allen, the right tackle for the Toronto Argonauts, secured the Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman award, showcasing his outstanding performance.
- Which coach was honored with the Annis Stukus Trophy for Coach of the Year in the 2023 CFL season? Ryan Dinwiddie, the head coach of the Toronto Argonauts, received the Coach of the Year award with an impressive 16-2 record, tied for the best in CFL history.
In conclusion, the 2023 Canadian Football League Awards celebrated the best of Canadian football and paid tribute to a legendary figure in the sport. The event showcased the remarkable talent and dedication of players, coaches, and contributors who continue to make the CFL a cherished part of Canadian sports culture.