Als' Calvillo may be greatest ever

Montreal Alouettes quarterback Anthony Calvillo makes a pass against the Saskatchewan Roughriders...

Montreal Alouettes quarterback Anthony Calvillo makes a pass against the Saskatchewan Roughriders during the first half of their CFL game in Regina, July 9, 2011. (REUTERS/Fred Greenslade)

FRANK ZICARELLI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:21 PM ET

Throughout the years, regardless of any game condition, good or bad, Anthony Calvillo always maintained an arm strength to complete every throw required at his position.

He was never the quickest on his feet, but Calvillo could make plays on his feet that would extend drives.

As he begins the first of what promises to be many record-breaking moments, what gets lost in the hype is Calvillo's ability to think the game.

Doug Flutie would literally draw up plays in a huddle, pointing to areas on the field where receivers would be asked to arrive just as the football thrown by Flutie would get there.

If there was a playbook for any of the Flutie-led teams, including the back-to-back championship seasons in Toronto, it was as minimal as Calvillo's missed games due to injury.

Warren Moon was physically superior to Calvillo, but the longevity in three-down football does not match up.

Damon Allen just knew how to make plays in the game's most crucial moments, but there was always this cloud that hovered given the amount of teams Allen would eventually play for during his career.

What separates Calvillo is not measured in yards thrown, touchdowns passed.

It's reflected in his attention to detail, which comes with maturity, understanding and being appreciative.

"I spent most of the off-season getting mentally ready to answer the questions about the potential record. And here we go again,'' Calvillo said on Thursday.

The only time he thinks about records is when the media broaches it.

His next touchdown completion will break Allen's mark, a record that will fall as early as Friday night.

During the week, Calvillo caught wind of players discussing what it would mean to be on the receiving end of a history, but they knew better not to approach their leader.

Distractions are now easily dealt with, lessons Calvillo learned along the way when things weren't as smooth.

As of today, Calvillo is in a place few athletes arrive at.

"When you have A.C., you've got a chance to win," teammate Etienne Boulay said. "We're playing with a legend."

Last week in Regina, where unpredictable winds turn every attempt into an adventure, Calvillo completed 15 passes in a row. He would toss five touchdowns to four different receivers.

Argos head coach Jim Barker marvels at Calvillo.

"Doug was a great player, but for an extended period of time, Anthony Calvillo is the greatest player who has ever played in this league,'' he said. "He's playing as well now as he ever has."

Under head coach Marc Trestman, Calvillo has been forced to spend as much as 90 minutes a night familiarizing himself with Montreal's complicated and complex offence.

On Wednesday night as he mentally prepared for the Argos, Calvillo combined his personal and professional life when he began to read the playbook to his two children.

"A lot of times he understands what coverage you're in before they snap the ball,'' Argos veteran Jordan Younger said. "That's his gift.

"He understands body language in the defensive backs and linebackers."

Defences try to disguise coverages, but Calvillo has seen every conceivable defence.

Rhythm will be disrupted when upfield pressure is applied and intimidation can be achieved when a tackler punishes an Als receiver on an underneath route.

That's what the Argos are hoping to accomplish Friday night.

Fittingly, the Als will honour Ben Cahoon.

No two players were as inseparable as Calvillo and Cahoon, a pass-and-catch tandem that ranks among the very best in CFL history.

"How can you not be happy to see what's going on?" Trestman said. "Be appreciative of a man who's been through a unique family and personal journey. And here we are.

"We should take the time to appreciate what we have, a very special man on and off the field."


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