Greatest Stamp of all time

IAN BUSBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:20 AM ET

And the winner is ... Wayne Harris 25.4%

Doug Flutie 21.5%

Alondra Johnson (98) 15.3%

Allen Pitts 15.2%

John Helton 9.1%

Tom Forzani 5.6%

Willie Burden 2.7%

Jeff Garcia 2.7%

Earl Lunsford 1.4%

Henry Burris .7%

Offence gets the glory but defence wins titles, and that has happened again during the Sun's Greatest Calgary Stampeder of All-Time poll.

It was a two-horse race for the fan-selected honour, but the quarterback from the 1990s couldn't beat the linebacker from the 1960s and '70s.

Wayne Harris garnered 25.4% of the online fan voting to edge Doug Flutie at 21.5%. Although they came from different eras, won a Grey Cup in Calgary and influenced their sports, more of you believed Thumper made a greater impact on the franchise than a celebrated pivot who only played four glorious seasons with the Stamps.

There is no right answer to the argument, and half of the expert opinions picked Flutie as No. 1. Although many voters have never seen Harris play, it's hard to argue with his selection.

Harris was a ferocious defender for 12 seasons, helping the Stampeders win the 1971 Grey Cup and revolutionizing the position with his athleticism and tenacity.

Being that he edged out Flutie, who is widely considered the greatest CFLer of all-time for his eight-year career, means a great deal to Harris, who has lived in Calgary since the early 1960s

"That's great," Harris said. "I'm very proud of being amongst the top 10 names (up for voting).

"Football is something I really enjoyed and I would do it again. It's a long time ago when I played, so to be still remembered is great."

Another linebacker, Alondra Johnson, finished third in the voting and he will enter the CFL Hall of Fame this year.

Receiver Allen Pitts, arguably the greatest CFLer of all-time at his position, finished fourth in the voting with 15.2%, just a notch below Johnson at 15.3%.

The longtime teammates were leaders on either side of the ball during the team's heyday, but Johnson retired with three Grey Cup rings.

Pitts held the record for most receiving yards before Milt Stegall broke it last year, but he only won two titles and had the benefit of playing with some great quarterbacks.

Hall-of-Fame defensive tackle John Helton, who also still resides in Calgary long after his playing days, received 9.1% of the votes as those five players were ranked high on nearly every ballot by the experts.

Running back Willie Burden still holds the single-season Stamps record for rushing yards in a season and is a member of the CFL Hall-of-Fame, but he received only 2.7% of the votes.

That was the same number as quarterback Jeff Garcia, who led the Stamps to the 1998 Grey Cup win before going on to a long career in the NFL. The fact he only spent three years as the starter in Calgary hurt his chances.

Steady receiver Tom Forzani, one of seven Stamps to have his number retired by the club, picked up 5.6% of the votes despite never hitting 1,000 yards in a single season.

Running back Earl Lunsford made plenty of top-10 lists but received just 1.4%, while current Stampeders quarterback Henry Burris had less than 1% of the votes.

While Burris is the face of the franchise for the past five years, Harris was that for more than a decade.

He wasn't big for his position, standing 6-ft., 200-lb. at his peak while playing, but that didn't stop Harris from doing his job with authority.

"Back in my high school days, one of the coaches there was referring to my hitting. He said you could hear the thumps all the way up in the pressbox," Harris explained with complete modesty.

"I went out and played the best I could. I think I did as well as any linebacker could do for the size I am. I never worried about being the best or anything."

IAN.BUSBY@SUNMEDIA.CA


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