October 18, 2022

Career In Review: Zach Collaros

Kevin Sousa/CFL.ca

If you listened closely on Tuesday morning when it was announced that the Winnipeg Blue Bombers had signed quarterback Zach Collaros to a three year extension keeping him through 2025, you could hear a variety of guttural reactions across the country.

Pure joy in Manitoba based on the way Collaros has adapted and thrived in the Bombers framework was the most audible noise. Frustrated grumbling could be heard in the East, confirmation of more difficult matchups against the reigning Most Outstanding Player for years to come. While it was pure anguish in Saskatchewan, an acknowledgement that Labour Day Weekend, the Labour Day rematch and any playoff triumphs in the foreseeable future will have to go through the man wearing No.8 in Blue and Gold.

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» Zach Collaros takes home 2021 Most Outstanding Player award


As Collaros gets set to add another chapter to his journey, he is already a truly remarkable story in many ways. Not the least of which was being written off at various points in a CFL career that has been revived in a way that few, if any, could have predicted in Winnipeg.

I was one of the naysayers. I saw the 0-8 start to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats’ 2017 season, the 60-1 loss to the Calgary Stampeders, the terrible body language between Ticats head coach Kent Austin and Collaros and the mounting injury concerns.

As a football analyst and someone who lives and breaths the great CFL game every day of the year attempting to better understand it all, I looked at Collaros as damaged goods, past his peak and on the downswing of his pro football life. However you want to define it, I believed Collaros was closer to finished than starting and any team requesting his services would be taking a risk at best and most likely sentencing themselves to disappointment with Collaros as a place holder at quarterback before the next franchise pivot could take over.

The idiocy.

The Bombers pivot has made all of us look as though we don’t understand what we’re watching. Media, fans, players, concession workers, water cooler buddies, Zoom colleagues and anyone else who dared call into question his potential to bounce back and not just return to a high level of play, but exceed it.

I’ll never forget receiving a message in the fall of 2017 from a member of the Saskatchewan Roughriders staff who said, “do you think Collaros has anything left?” I simply responded with, “I have my doubt, it’s more risk than reward.”

The foolishness.


Since then all he’s done is play at a high level for Saskatchewan when healthy, be prematurely pushed out the Green and White door for an inferior passer, win back-to-back Grey Cups with a potential third lingering just off in the distance which could poetically take place Regina this November, while potentially being named a back-to-back MOP.

The disrespect.

Regardless of how the next three seasons go, or even how this one ends for the Bombers’ leading man, here is what I will forever remember the name Zach Collaros for: Presence, accuracy and a knack for knowing the perfect timing of when to move for the kill.

His presence in the Winnipeg huddle gives immediate confidence. You can feel it in person and through the television. The little winks in the huddle, the calm, confident voice at the line of scrimmage directing the other 11-chess pieces around him and the laid back tablet discussions on the sideline sifting through what has happened, while plotting what is to come.

His accuracy is on display with most of his throws, but its is most evident on the deep ball, where Collaros always seems to understand the right angle, pace and trajectory in order to successfully drop one in over the top.

His knack of when to attack is usually on second down, and always shines brightest on unfavourable downs and distances. A skill born out of mentality rather than skill which has won the Bombers several games in his relentless run and Winnipeg’s quarterback saviour.

Collaros isn’t perfect, he makes the odd questionable throw, his misses a read here or there and occasionally takes a hit he doesn’t need to take, but the kinks in his game are few and far between relative to the rest of CFL passers attempting to reach his level of play.

A level of decision making and leadership which will continue to call Winnipeg home for at least three years as president and CEO Wade Miller, general manager Kyle Walter and head coach Mike O’Shea attempt to build a 60’s-esque Bombers dynasty.

With the move today, their most important piece of the championship puzzle is secure and ready for more. What a time for Collaros, what a time to be a Bomber.

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