CFL Superman one to marvel

Calgary Stampeders quarterback Henry Burris has a laughduring practice at McMahon Stadium Sunday,...

Calgary Stampeders quarterback Henry Burris has a laughduring practice at McMahon Stadium Sunday, Aug. 20, 2006. (Calgary Sun/Stuart Dryden)

IAN BUSBY -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:04 AM ET

To put Damon Allen's latest milestone into proper perspective, consider the comparison to Calgary's starting quarterback.

If the ageless Toronto Argonauts pivot was to quit playing today (which won't happen), Calgary Stampeders quarterback Henry Burris would need to average 5,382 yards passing per season over the next decade just to tie him.

With Burris' best season being 4,647 yards -- he's on pace for about the same this season -- it seems unlikely he could experience that type of longevity.

At Burris' current pace, he would eclipse the 70,000 mark at about age 43 if he kept going strong.

"Isn't that unbelievable," said Stamps head coach Tom Higgins, who had a chance to work with Allen in Edmonton more than a decade ago.

"That's what makes it even more astounding. People should just sit and watch him. I've been on both sides of the ball with him and it's just an astonishing feat."

The question, of course, is if Allen ever stops playing.

The seasons he put together after his 40th birthday are some of the best of his career.

He won the 2004 Grey Cup MVP by leading the Argos to victory over the B.C. Lions, then followed that up with his first most outstanding player award.

Even veteran Stamps backup Danny McManus, himself a 17-year vet and a 41-year-old, would need five more 4,000-yard seasons to reach the point Allen is now.

Based on numbers alone -- Allen has almost 12,000 yards rushing as well, good enough for third all-time in the CFL -- he should get consideration for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, although it seems unlikely that would happen.

The only other player with more than 70,000 professional passing yards, Warren Moon, wasn't a lock to get in because nearly 21,000 of those yards were with the Edmonton Eskimos.

The CFL was recognized in Canton mostly by Moon in his speech but it was clearly stated the NFL achievements were the reason for the induction.

Even if you take 10% off his yardage because of the larger CFL field, he would still have more than 63,000 yards, which would put him ahead of such greats as Dan Marino, Brett Favre and John Elway.

Higgins played against Moon and coaches against Allen and said there are plenty of similarities between the two, especially when it comes to longevity.

"The first thing that comes to mind with Warren Moon and Damon Allen is they are gifted, both athletically and with great genes," Higgins said.

"Damon has the innate ability to take hits and not get hurt and stay healthy.

"He's been blessed with a body that allows him to play a young man's game."

Even Allen's current coach, Michael (Pinball) Clemons, is amazed.

"I've run out of superlatives for him," Clemons told reporters after Saturday's victory over Montreal.

"Maybe we should just call him The Man or maybe Superman because I hear he's better than the movie."

As long as Allen stays healthy, he should pass Moon's mark of 70,553 yards by the time the Argonauts visit Calgary Sept. 23.

Higgins will be one of those basking in another chance to see the legend.

"A lot of times it's taken for granted," Higgins said, also pointing to former Stamp Doug Flutie.

"We take even our own players for granted when people put up those numbers.

"I'm appreciative of players who are gifted in any field, whether they throw a javelin or sit down at a piano.

"The one thing that comes to mind is the dedication it takes to get to that level and how simple they make it. Anybody who has tried any of those things, they know it's not simple."


Videos

Photos