With the 2010s ending and a new decade beginning, I’m ranking the top CFL quarterbacks from the past 10 seasons of Canadian football.
The Cream of the Crop
1. Bo Levi Mitchell
Mitchell became the starter for the Calgary Stampeders in 2014 and led them to two Grey Cup titles. Each Grey Cup win he also won Most Outstanding Player (M.O.P.) of the game.
In 2018 he also led the league in passing touchdowns with 35. He was a CFL All-Star in 2016 and 2018 (as well as league’s M.O.P.) and a West All-Star each year — as well as in 2015. He’s crossed 5,000 yards twice — 2016 and 2018.
In his career, he has more than twice the number of touchdowns to interceptions (169 to 70). He’s beaten all CFL quarterbacks for most consecutive wins with 14 and is the fastest starter to 60 wins, needing just 72 games.
The combination of prolific individual stats and making four Grey Cup appearances in five seasons are good enough to make him the top signal-caller of the decade.
2. Henry Burris
Burris spent time with three different teams in the decade, starting in Calgary for two years, then Hamilton for two, then three in Ottawa. He passed 5,000 yards in 2012 and then threw for a career-high 5,703 in Ottawa in 2015.
In 2015 Hank led the league in passing yards, as well as in 2012 and 2013. Burris also led the league in touchdowns twice (2010 and 2012) and was a two-time league MOP (2010 and 2015).
Like few other CFL quarterbacks have ever done so, Burris was a three-time All-Star with three different teams in the 2010s. He was a West all-star in Calgary in 2010 and an East All-Star in 2012 with Hamilton and 2015 with Ottawa. He ended his career on a high note as a Grey Cup champ in 2016, also winning the game M.O.P.
Lastly, he set a single-game record for completions (45) in 2015 and a single-season record (481) in 2015.
3. Mike Reilly
Reilly got his chance when he signed with Edmonton Eskimos in 2013. He took over and led the team to a 4-14 record, but his 24 touchdowns that season was a sign of good things to come.
During his time in Edmonton, he was among the most prolific CFL quarterbacks in the league. He was the starting pivot for the 2015 Grey Cup-winning Esks and was named the league’s M.O.P. in 2017.
His 2017 season also included the most passing and rushing touchdowns. He led the league in passing yards three years in a row from 2016–2018, passing the 5,000-yard threshold each year.
4. Ricky Ray
One of the greatest signal callers of all-time, the former Eskimo and Argonaut is currently fourth on the CFL all-time list with over 60,000 passing yards. His 324 touchdowns are fifth in league history.
To begin the 2010s, Ray spent two years in Edmonton before finishing his career in Toronto. He led the Argos to a Grey Cup win in his first year with the team in 2012 and in his final year as a full-time starter in 2017, defeating the heavily favoured Stampeders.
He was a two-time CFL All-Star (2013 and 2014) and three-time East All-Star (2013, 2014 and 2017). Ray was a three-time Terry Evanshen award winner, and also led the league in passing yards and touchdowns in 2014.
A Legend Who Crossed Over Into This Decade
5. Anthony Calvillo
Even though he only played four years in this decade, Calvillo certainly had an accolade laden four years.
He was Grey Cup winner in 2010, a CFL All-Star in 2012, an East All-Star from 2010–12 and led the league in passing yards and touchdowns in 2011. Not a bad sendoff for a guy who holds the records for most passing yards and touchdowns in CFL history.
Guys With A Couple Brilliant Years, But Not Consistent
6. Darian Durant
Durant spent 11 years in Saskatchewan, leading them to two Grey Cup titles. He led the league in passing yards in 2010, touchdowns in 2013 and won the Grey Cup in 2013.
Furthermore, he also holds the record for most passes without an interception with 323. He put his individual brilliance on display when he threw for over 5,500 yards in 2010 and threw 31 touchdowns in 2013.
7. Travis Lulay
The former B.C. Lion spent ten years in the orange and black, throwing for over 20,000 yards in the 2010s. Lulay had back-to-back 4,000-yard seasons in 2011 and 2012, throwing for over 4,800 yards in 2011.
He won league M.O.P in 2011 and Grey Cup M.O.P. that season as well. Lulay’s last few years were inconsistent as he battled injuries and later the starting job with Jonathon Jenning, but Lulay’s strong start to the decade lands him on the list.
8. Trevor Harris
Harris helped lead Ottawa to Grey Cup in 2016 and led the league in touchdowns in 2015 with 33. He also reached the 30 touchdown plateau in 2017 with 30 on the nose.
He’s reached 4,000 yards three times since 2015, and 5,000 yards in 2018 when he made his second Grey Cup appearance in three seasons. So far his 120–52 touchdown–interception ratio is among the best in the league.
9. Kevin Glenn
The well-traveled American played for every team in the league over his career. Glenn had his moment of brilliance in 2010 with Hamilton when he threw for over 5,000 yards.
He also won the Tom Pate award for sportsmanship in 2011.
10. Jeremiah Masoli
The Hamilton pivot gets on the list with his brilliant 2018 season with 28 touchdowns in which he threw for over 5,000 yards, good enough to be an East All-Star. Masoli also holds the record for most consecutive completions in a game with 23.
Since earning the starting job for the Ti-Cats in 2016, Masoli’s been getting progressively better and if healthy, he figures to be strong going into the 2020s.
Just missed: Matt Nichols, Drew Willy, Zach Collaros
Main image credit: Embed from Getty Images