Zach-to-Zach: Collaros wins second MOP award

REGINA — Zach Collaros has gone back-to-back. 

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ quarterback has been named the Most Outstanding Player of the 2022 season. 

Collaros is just the fifth player in league history to earn back-to-back MOP awards and is the first player to do so since Anthony Calvillo, who earned consecutive MOP nods in 2008 and 2009. He is also the second quarterback in Winnipeg history to win consecutive MOP awards, joining Dieter Brock who did so in 1980 and 1981. 

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Looking back on when he first found out he had been traded to Winnipeg, Collaros remembers being excited for the opportunity to work with Mike O’Shea.

“Excitement because I had been in the league for a while and I knew coach O’Shea,” said Collaros. “I had been watching the Bombers for obviously a long time and thought they really had a great program and a great organization.”

Collaros finished the regular season completing 305 of his 436 attempts for 4,138 yards and 37 touchdown passes, setting career highs in each category.

With Collaros leading the offence, the Blue Bombers finished as the top team in the West Division for a second consecutive season and will be making their third consecutive Grey Cup appearance on Sunday.

The team’s 15-3 record is a franchise record. 

While Collaros’ name will be etched in CFL history, he was adamant that it is a team award.

“The collective group, that’s what makes this game special,” said Collaros. “It takes everybody, not just the 24 including special teams, but the guys who are the backups and the guys that are on the practice roster.

“You never know when your opportunity is going to come and those guys practice hard every day and I say it all the time, football it the ultimate team sport. I can’t do my job if the other 11 guys aren’t doing their job in unison.”

Collaros was the focal point of the league’s most productive offensive unit throughout the 2022 season. The 11-year veteran was under centre for 188 offensive possessions this season and led the Bombers downfield for a league-high 51 touchdown drives, finding the end zone 27.1 per cent of their possessions.

With an incredible year of his own, Montreal Alouettes receiver Eugene Lewis finished as this season’s runner-up in MOP voting. Lewis reeled in 1,303 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns while catching 91 passes.

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