Since becoming the starting quarterback for the Calgary Stampeders in 2013, Bo Levi Mitchell has cemented himself as one of the elites in the CFL. He has the individual and team accolades to show for it, from his 2016 Most Outstanding Player award to his Grey Cup victory in 2014. And potentially an additional MOP award coming in 2018. Bo Levi Mitchell is one of the most accomplished quarterbacks from his generation. He and Mike Reilly have carried the torch from where Anthony Calvillo and Henry Burris left off. That’s what makes this Grey Cup such a crucial one for the 28-year-old pivot.
Stacking Up Against Past Stars
Currently, Mitchell sits at 1-2 in Grey Cups after winning his first in 2014 and dropping his last two in 2016 & 2017. Bo Levi Mitchell isn’t alone in his losing record in Grey Cup’s early on in his career.
Many forget that Calvillo’s Grey Cup record got off to a rocky start as well. Calvillo lost his first Grey Cup in 2000 to the Damon Allen led B.C. Lions. After winning his first Grey Cup in 2002, AC would go on to lose in 2003, 2005 (both to Edmonton), 2006 (B.C.) and 2008 to the Stampeders. Finally, AC would win back-to-back Grey Cups against Saskatchewan in 2009 & 2010. How different would Calvillo’s legacy look had he lost both final Grey Cups to Saskatchewan? Even a split would have put his record at 2-6, AC’s legacy looks different with a Grey Cup record of 1-7 or 2-6.
Rings are a popular argument as it pertains to which quarterback is the Greatest of All Time or the “GOAT”. This isn’t as big of a talking point in the CFL but for context sake, here’s how other CFL greats stack up Grey Cup record-wise.
|Quarterback||Grey Cup Wins||Grey Cup Losses|
*Warren Moon was a part of the 5-year Eskimos run that saw them win the Grey Cup from 1978-1982. Moon was the starter for three of those Grey Cups.
**Allen also won Grey Cup MVP in 1987 in relief for injured Matt Dunigan but did not start the game. Therefore, he’s technically won three Grey Cups as a starter and one as a backup.
Plenty of Time
Bo Levi Mitchell will be 29 going into 2019, that leaves plenty of time for him to leave an even bigger mark on the game than he already has. Rumours have been swirling around what the future holds for Mitchell with his contract being up after this season.
.@FarhanLaljiTSN on @CFLonTSN pregame yesterday: Bo Levi Mitchell willing & wanting to give the NFL a shot after this season but only if right situation for him. That he’s a legit back up somewhere, some & would get some guaranteed money. There IS interest. #CFL #Calstampeders
— CFL News (@CFL_News) November 19, 2018
If Mitchell chooses to pursue NFL options then most of this becomes a moot point. At 24,473 career passing yards, that puts him well behind the Top 5 of Calvillo (79,816), Allen (72,381), Burris (63,227), Ray (60,736) and McManus (53,255). Mitchell has all-time great potential but it hinges on him staying up north. If he is to stick around in the CFL for the remainder of his career and play until 38 years-old there’s no telling the damage Mitchell can do to the record books.
The Last Word
This Grey Cup may be the most important one yet for Bo Levi Mitchell. A win takes the monkey off of his (and Dave Dickenson’s) back. A loss labels Mitchell and this era of Stampeders as the equivalent of the 90’s Buffalo Bills who are best known for dropping four straight Super Bowls. While Bo Levi Mitchell has more time, we’ve seen the benefits that a Grey Cup win has had for the likes of Henry Burris, who many thought would never win the big one again after his 2015 loss. Or the aforementioned Anthony Calvillo who was able to reaffirm his position amongst the greats by backing up his personal records with two additional rings late in his career.
If this is truly it for Mitchell in the CFL, this Grey Cup will define how many fans remember his tenure up north and if it isn’t, well, one more ring doesn’t hurt his chances at improving his legacy entering the prime of his career.
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