October 20, 2023

Nye: Spreading the All-Star love around

Christian Bender/CFL.ca

All-Star fan votes, like political elections, can be all about ‘getting out the vote.’

Campaign strategists know they need to target the people they’ve canvassed to ensure they are going to the ballot box on election day. An informed and encouraged voting base can swing a close election day result to the side that does a better job of ‘getting out the vote.’

Well in early CFL All-Star Fan Vote selections, it’s clear there is one fan base that is doing a better job than most and it’s not surprising it’s also the fan base that’s selling out their stadium on a consistent basis.

Is Winnipeg stuffing the ballot box? No. They’re getting out the vote…and voting often.

Look at the early leaders from Chris O’Leary’s article this week. Let’s see: Collaros, Oliveira, Schoen, Bryant, Bighill, Houston, Castillo and Sheahan. All Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

CFL All-Star 2023
» CFL All-Star Fan Vote returns; Fan Favourite vote introduced
» Learn more about CFL All-Star Fan Vote
» Costabile: How do you choose an All-Star RB?

Only two positions went to other teams, as the BC Lions’ Mathieu Betts is holding down top votes for defensive linemen and Saskatchewan Roughrider Mario Alford for special teams.

All other positions are going Winnipeg’s way.

Another thing you need at election time is a good solid base of backers. Well respected, accomplished and known people in the community to tell the voters that this is a person to get behind.

While I’m not sure about respected and accomplished, let me be the ‘known’ commodity for some players I think even Bomber fans should be voting for!



I think the debate here is more to do with Vernon Adams Jr. or Chad Kelly if I’m being perfectly honest.

Here is my case for Adams: it’s more to do with circumstance than anything else. All three quarterbacks have the same stats, except Adams is easily going to walk away with the crown when it comes to passing yards in the CFL. He’s 500 yards better than Collaros, which is about two entire games and Adams has missed nearly two games, while Collaros was sat for one.

You have Adams in an offence for one training camp and with little ground game production to compliment him. The threat of play action in BC has been mostly non-existent and the plays Adams has made with his legs to extend drives and to find receivers downfield have been outstanding.

The Lions’ offence is last in rushing yards so it’s been on Adams and the passing game to lead the charge. They’ve done that to the point of finishing likely just one win shy of first place. Overall if you want to look at the PFF rankings, Adams consistently in the back half of the season has rated higher than Collaros as well (as has Chad Kelly).

Vote for Big Play V.A.!


HA! It’s Brady Oliveira.



Here comes another Bombers vs. Lions debate for CFL All-Star: Dalton Schoen or Keon Hatcher.

I’ve got Hatcher!

He has simply less games played and more yards per game. When Hatcher is in the game he averages nearly 90 yards per game and nobody else in the league is over 80. He’s over 10 yards per game clear of anybody per game.

That and he’s only missed two games this season and is second in receiving yards behind Tim White. Unfortunately Schoen’s season is being cut short by injury so Hatcher will now pad his lead over him in a few categories but their games played will even out.

In no way am I saying this is a no brainer pick, with Schoen’s 10 receiving touchdowns but if I’m picking the best receiver in the CFL in 2023, to me it’s Keon Hatcher!


Oh, the default Stanley Bryant pick.

O-line is the hardest position to evaluate, there is no doubt. So it’s easy just to keep picking the left tackle of the Bombers. Watch the games, though zero in on No. 66 and while he’s still a great offensive lineman, he’s not the dominant force he was in previous seasons.

How can you not vote for a Toronto Argonaut offensive lineman? Fifteen sacks allowed and one of the best run offences in the CFL is a no brainer to go find the best offensive linemen in the league. Sure they are a collective of great linemen and to pick one will be difficult but that’s where you start.

When I go to offensive lineman of the year, I believe he should represent what is the best o-line in the league, unless there is someone having an unbelievable season locking down a position.

The Argonauts’ Peter Nicastro is consistently highly ranked each and every week at right guard for the Argonauts.

Dejon Allen has had a great year at right tackle for the Argonauts.

Ryan Hunter at left guard and Darius Ciraco help Nicastro hold down the middle of the offensive line, while there has been moving parts at left tackle for the Argonauts offensive line.

But you’re going with an individual and not a collective.

Brandon Revenberg is the best offensive lineman in the CFL right now. He’s nasty, he’s tough, he moves giant men out of the way and he locks down for the Tiger-Cats’ offensive line week in and week out at left guard.


Yep, Mathieu Betts. Good job, everyone.



Look across the board at big defensive plays. Adam Bighill has only three tackles for a loss, no forced fumbles, no fumble recoveries, no interceptions and no knockdowns.

Bighill is still the captain of an amazing defence. He’s still one of the toughest humans in the league but I’m heading to Toronto for this pick, where you have two choices: Wynton McManis or Adarius Pickett.

These men are the big play linebackers you need to start a season 14-2. McManis and Pickett are EVERYWHERE and if it’s not one it’s the other the quarterback forgets to account for.

They each have five tackles for a loss, McManis has four interceptions, Pickett has five knockdowns and they have four and five sacks, respectively.

I’d side with Pickett because he is over 100 tackles for the season and has played multiple positions for the Argonauts, but McManis wouldn’t be a bad pick either.

Just pick one of them!


Yeah, Demerio Houston is also my DB selection.



C’mon now.

Sean Whyte is the guy! When you look at total kicks — and that’s field goals and converts — it’s not even CLOSE!

When you look at average yards of distance for his field goal attempts, only Rene Paredes of Calgary and Lewis Ward of Ottawa average more and Whyte is STILL the best field goal kicker in the league despite having to kick longer field goals on average.

Sergio Castillo has only attempted 22 field goals from beyond 40-yards and has missed seven of them. Whyte has attempted 31 field goals from beyond 40 and missed five.

To me this isn’t even a debate.

Sean Whyte is your only choice in 2023.


Joseph Zema. I get it. He’s not the biggest name in football but when you only have one single in an entire season as a punter and are also near the top in inside the 10-yard line AND you lead the league in net punting and net adjusted for singles, again. C’mon now.

The Montreal Alouettes’ punter is the best punter in the CFL in 2023. This is a time to look at the stats and they should SCREAM out that Joseph Zema is the best at his job this season.



I really want Carthell Flowers-Lloyd to win. I really do. Thirty special teams tackles this season has him 10 above the next highest for getting down the field and stopping some of the dynamic returners we have in this league.


Javon Leake is a difference maker on punt returns for the Toronto Argonauts. He has 12 returns of over 30 yards.


The next highest is five from Brandin Dandridge in Ottawa.

Leake also leads the league in return touchdowns with four and while I get that Mario Alford has been a better kick returner than Leake, the punt return dynamic that Leake has is next level this season and he should be rewarded for it.

Next year can we have a coverage special teams award and a return man award?


If you’re not voting for Leake give some flowers to Flowers-Lloyd this voting season.

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