Flutie over Allen?

STEVE SIMMONS -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:38 AM ET

There is a sense of both euphoria and magic that surrounds Damon Allen as he continues on his ascent to the stratospheres of professional football.

It is almost giddy at times, watching this man defy logic and his birth certificate, watching an athlete grow young in his oldest days. So giddy at times, it's become easy to lose perspective.

By Labour Day, Allen should be the all-time yardage leading passer in professional football history. That's all time, all leagues, all quarterbacks who ever played.

You stop for a moment just to marvel at the accomplishment: Warren Moon, late of the CFL and the NFL, passed for 70,533 yards over 23 seasons and celebrated those numbers recently with his induction in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

This is CFL season No. 22 for Allen. There are 442 yards left to throw to be all alone. And this close to the number, the inevitable question has already been asked and excitedly answered.

Should Damon Allen's record-setting career qualify the Argos quarterback for induction in the Pro Football Hall of Fame?

Television polls across Canada have answered in the affirmative and so has a sports editorial from this august publication.

The reality, though, may be precisely the opposite.

If the question is: Does Allen belong in Canton, Ohio, the answer has to begin with a no, and maybe then you work backwards to build your case.

If there is a case to be made.

Let's begin with the premise of title, that the Pro Football Hall of Fame is actually the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The truth is, it isn't. The Pro Football Hall is actually the National Football League Hall of Fame, with the odd exception, just as the Hockey Hall of Fame, is essentially the National Hockey League Hall of Fame.

In hockey, there is the odd exception, a Russian here or a junior coach there, but that's about it. In football, you might find players that pre-date the NFL or made their name in the American Football League, but there never has been a forum for CFL players to enter and there is unlikely to be one now.

In order to make a case on Allen's behalf, those who are considering his accomplishments would have to understand the perimeters in which he competed. If the yardage figure and the years played and championships won are the only number to base the pitch around, then maybe that could be factored in such a way to make Allen a larger figure than he actually has been.

But the truth is, prior to him winning the Most Outstanding Player Award last November, eight other quarterbacks during his tenure had won the same award ahead of him. Doug Flutie did it six different times.

In almost none of his 22 seasons was Allen the best quarterback in the CFL.

In fact, the better case for entry in the Pro Football Hall is Flutie, based on his body of work in the CFL and the NFL.

Flutie played eight years in the CFL, won three Grey Cups, three Grey Cup MVP awards, six outstanding player awards, and six times passed for more than 5,500 yards in a season. Only in his first season did his team have a losing record. After that, his regular season won-lost record was an astonishing 99-27.

As a starting quarterback, Allen has only a few more winning seasons than losing ones. In the prime of his career, his seven seasons with the B.C. Lions, the team had two winning seasons. His three years in Ottawa were all losing years. Whatever magic we see now -- and we do see it -- wasn't always evident then.

The six years Allen played in Edmonton, some as a starter, some backing up Matt Dunigan, were all winning years and he has yet to have a losing season with the Argos, where at the age of 43 he might just be the most indispensible player in Canadian football.

And by Labour Day, assuming Allen survives Friday night, the record should be his. By itself, that is immensely meaningful. Just not meaningful enough to find his way to Canton.

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