Jason Halstead, Kevin Sousa/CFL.ca
TORONTO — Winnipeg Blue Bombers running back Brady Oliveira and Toronto Argonauts quarterback Chad Kelly will go head-to-head for the league’s top individual honour – the Most Outstanding Player – at the 2023 CFL Awards.
The evening event honours the league’s top performers in seven categories as voted by the Football Reporters of Canada and head coaches from across the league. In addition, the Commissioner’s Award, the Hugh Campbell Distinguished Leadership Award, the Jake Gaudaur Veterans’ Award, the Tom Pate Memorial Award, and the Jane Mawby Tribute Award will recognize individuals from across the CFL.
The CFL Awards will go live from the Avalon Theatre at Fallsview Casino & Resort in Niagara Falls, Ont., on Thursday, November 16 beginning at 6:30 p.m. ET. Tickets are available for purchase here.
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The 2023 Grey Cup Festival from November 13-19 will include over 40 events to captivate football fans, music lovers, athletes and families alike. It will feature events organized by various community organizations, such as Sonic Unyon (Supercrawl), Around the Bay and Hamilton Santa Claus Parade, among others that are contributing to building a contemporary Hamilton. Additional information, event listings and full details can be found at Greycupfestival.ca.
The 110th Grey Cup will be played in Hamilton at Tim Hortons Field on Sunday, November 19 with kickoff slated for 6 p.m. ET. The championship contest will be available live across the nation on TSN and RDS – Canada’s home of the CFL, online through CFL+ for all international viewers, as well as on SiriusXM’s Canada Talks (ch. 167). A limited number of tickets are available for purchase via Ticketmaster while supplies last.
2023 CFL AWARD NOMINEES
|AWARD||WEST DIVISION NOMINEE||EAST DIVISION NOMINEE|
|Player||Brady Oliveira (WPG)||Chad Kelly (TOR)|
|Defensive Player||Mathieu Betts (BC)||Adarius Pickett (TOR)|
|Canadian||Brady Oliveira (WPG)||Marc-Antoine Dequoy (MTL)|
|Offensive Lineman||Jermarcus Hardrick (WPG)||Dejon Allen (TOR)|
|Special Teams Player||Sean Whyte (BC)||Javon Leake (TOR)|
|Rookie||Kai Gray (EDM)||Qwan’tez Stiggers (TOR)|
|Coach of the Year||Mike O’Shea (WPG)||Ryan Dinwiddie (TOR)|
MOST OUTSTANDING PLAYER
Brady Oliveira led the league by establishing career-highs in rushing yards (1,534), yards from scrimmage (2,016) and total touchdowns (13 – nine rushing and four receiving). This was the former North Dakota Fighting Hawk’s second 1,000-rushing yard season and his first time eclipsing the 1,500-mark. He is the 15th player in league history to reach 2,000 yards from scrimmage in a single season.
In his first season as a regular starter in the CFL, Chad Kelly guided the Argonauts to a franchise-best 16-2 record, tying the all-time mark for victories set by Edmonton in 1989. He passed for 4,123 yards and 23 touchdowns, while adding 8 more on the ground. He led the league with 10.5 yards per pass attempt and was one of four pivots to reach 4,000 passing yards. At 15-1, Kelly set the league record for winning percentage by a starting quarterback at .938 (minimum 14 starts).
MOST OUTSTANDING DEFENSIVE PLAYER
With a career-high 18 sacks, Mathieu Betts became the first BC Lion to lead the league since Keron Williams tallied 12 in 2012. The Laval product also established a new career mark with 44 defensive tackles, while adding two special teams tackles, three tackles for a loss, three sack fumbles and a blocked punt. He registered one sack on nine occasions, two sacks three times and a career-best three sacks in Week 3, en route to setting the single-season Canadian sack record.
Adarius Pickett showcased his versatility and all-round ability with a total of 144 defensive plays. He recorded seven or more defensive tackles on eight occasions en route to a career-high 105 – the sixth-most in franchise history – and added 19 special teams tackles. Pickett was the cornerstone of an Argonauts squad that finished first in run defence, allowing 84 yards per game, and first with 68 sacks.
MOST OUTSTANDING CANADIAN
In his third season, Brady Oliveira bested his previous career-high of 1,001 rushing yards by more than 500 to total 1,534, becoming the second Canadian to reach the 1,500 milestone and 2,000 yards from scrimmage. He led the league with seven 100+ rushing yard games, and set career-highs in receptions (38) and receiving yards (482).
Marc-Antoine Dequoy tallied a career-high 80 defensive plays, including ten takeaways with five interceptions, two fumble recoveries and three forced fumbles. He added six pass knockdowns and led the CFL with two interceptions returned for touchdowns, including a league-best 108-yard effort in Week 17.
MOST OUTSTANDING OFFENSIVE LINEMAN
Jermarcus Hardrick was a vital cog of a Winnipeg offensive line that allowed 33 sacks (second-best in the CFL). He started all 18 games, helping the team to the league’s best running attack that averaged 139 yards per game. Winnipeg’s offence topped the league in net offence (415 yards per game) and points (594).
Dejon Allen was a stalwart on an offensive line that led the East Division with 56 offensive touchdowns and allowed a league-low 19 sacks. He anchored a line that produced the team’s first 1,000-yard rusher since 2016 in AJ Ouellette. Toronto’s offence averaged a league-leading 7.3 yards per play en route to 591 points – good for best in the East Division and second overall.
MOST OUTSTANDING SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER
Sean Whyte was the West Division’s leading kicker at 94.3 per cent (50-for-53), including makes on all 48 of his attempts inside 49 yards. The 14-year veteran scored 194 points and he was successful on 23 consecutive attempts for the longest streak of the season. His 50 made field goals set a new personal best.
Javon Leake’s four punt return touchdowns led the CFL and set a new franchise mark, while sitting one shy of the league record. The former Maryland Terrapin recorded 1,216 punt return yards for the third highest total in CFL history. He led the league with 14 long gainer ‘big’ play returns.
MOST OUTSTANDING ROOKIE
Kai Gray was one of three rookies to make 18 starts this season. The Lincoln University product registered 56 total tackles and a pair of interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown in Week 16. He added four pass knockdowns and one tackle for a loss.
Qwan’tez Stiggers led the Argonauts with five interceptions among 69 total defensive plays. He registered five pass knockdowns and 56 total tackles across 16 contests. The last defensive back to win Most Outstanding Rookie was BC’s Steve Muhammad in 1998.
COACH OF THE YEAR
In his third season at the helm, Ryan Dinwiddie guided the Argonauts to 16 victories, tying Edmonton’s all-time mark set in 1989. He became the ninth head coach to win division titles in each of his first three seasons on the strength of perfect records at home (9-0) and against divisional opponents (10-0). This is the Elk Grove, CA native’s third consecutive nomination for this award.
Mike O’Shea led Winnipeg to a 14-4 record and its third straight division title, including an 8-1 showing at IG Field and a 9-2 mark against West Division foes. At nine seasons, the North Bay, Ont., native is the longest-serving coach in the CFL, having amassed a 96-62 record overall. He has the most wins among active coaches and he is vying for a third consecutive Coach of the Year award.