Thursday, November 22, 2018 — EDMONTON (November 22, 2018) – On a night where the league’s biggest stars were celebrated at the Shaw CFL Awards, Bo Levi Mitchell emerged with the league’s top honours for the second time in his career as he was named 2018’s Most Outstanding Player.
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Ottawa REDBLACKS and Saskatchewan Roughriders split the other awards in a star-studded evening recognizing the incredible accomplishments of players and leaders across the league. The Shaw CFL Awards, hosted by TSN’s James Duthie and Natasha Staniszewski, took place at the Winspear Centre as part of the festivities for the 106th Grey Cup presented by Shaw.
THE 2018 AWARD WINNERS:
- Calgary Stampeders quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell (Most Outstanding Player)
- Winnipeg Blue Bombers linebacker Adam Bighill (Most Outstanding Defensive Player)
- Ottawa REDBLACKS receiver Brad Sinopoli (Most Outstanding Canadian)
- Winnipeg Blue Bombers offensive lineman Stanley Bryant (Nissan TITAN Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman)
- Ottawa REDBLACKS kicker Lewis Ward (Most Outstanding Special Teams Player)
- Ottawa REDBLACKS kicker Lewis Ward (Most Outstanding Rookie)
- Saskatchewan Roughriders coach Chris Jones (CFL Coach of the Year)
The Commissioner's Award, recognizing an individual or group for outstanding contributions to the league, was awarded by Commissioner Ambrosie to former player, current RDS analyst and chief of all things football in Quebec, Pierre Vercheval.
The Hugh Campbell Distinguished Leadership Award, chosen by the Commissioner of the CFL to recognize an individual who has demonstrated great leadership and made significant contributions to the league, was awarded to the CFL’s all-time winningest coach, Wally Buono.
The CFLPA announced Ryan King as the 2018 recipient of the Tom Pate Memorial Award, given to a player who has made a significant contribution to his team, his community and Association to celebrate outstanding sportsmanship.
BC Lions fullback Rolly Lumbala received the Jake Gaudaur Veterans’ Award in recognition of his courage, perseverance, strength and service to his community.
The winners of the Shaw CFL Awards were selected by a panel of voters which included representation from the Football Reporters of Canada from all nine CFL markets, the national chapter of FRC voters and the head coaches of the CFL. In total, 60 voters completed their ballots.
CFL MOST OUTSTANDING PLAYER
Bo Levi Mitchell, QB
After passing for 5,000+ yards and recording a career high in passing touchdowns with 35, Bo Levi Mitchell won his second career Most Outstanding Player award Thursday night.
Mitchell’s 2018 campaign saw him lead his team to a CFL-best 13 wins to win the Western Division. The Katy, Texas native passed for 5,124 yards while completing 60.9% of his passes. He also led the league for most 30+ yard completions with 42 and had the best touchdown-to-interception ratio with 2.5.
The 28-year-old wins the coveted award for the second time in his career, with his first honour coming in 2016. It marks the 11th time a Calgary player took home the award, making him the eighth individual player to do so from the Stampeders and the second to win multiple.
Mitchell becomes the ninth CFL player to win the honour multiple times and is the second-youngest to win more than one, trailing only Jackie Parker who won his second at age 26 in 1958.
This was the third time in Mitchell’s career he has been nominated for the award, totalling three nominations in the last four years.
Mitchell received 47 first-place votes.
CFL MOST OUTSTANDING DEFENSIVE PLAYER
Adam Bighill, LB
Winnipeg Blue Bombers
In his first year with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers Adam Bighill was named the Most Outstanding Defensive Player for the second time in his career.
Bighill recorded 105 tackles while adding four sacks, two interceptions and four forced fumbles (making him the league leader) to help the Blue Bombers clinch a playoff berth. His 127 defensive plays were the third-most in the league this season.
A key part of the Winnipeg defence, Bighill led a defence that finished tied for first with 49 takeaways, second in points allowed (23.3 ppg) and tied for the second-fewest yards allowed per play (6.0). They also ended the season with a turnover ratio of +13.
This is the Montesano, Washington native’s second Most Outstanding Defensive Player award in his career, his first coming in 2015 with the BC Lions. It marks the fifth time a Blue Bomber has won the award, the first since Jovon Johnson won in 2011. The other Blue Bombers to win the award include: Jovon Johnson (2011), Greg Battle (1991 and 1990) and Tyrone Jones (1985).
Bighill becomes the ninth player to win Most Outstanding Defensive Player on multiple occasions since it was first awarded in 1974.
Bighill received 57 first-place votes.
MOST OUTSTANDING CANADIAN PLAYER
Brad Sinopoli, REC
Peterborough native and Ottawa REDBLACKS receiver Brad Sinopoli set a new single-season Canadian reception record en route to winning his second Most Outstanding Canadian award.
The former Ottawa Gee-Gee led the CFL with 116 receptions for 1,376 yards and scored four touchdowns this season to help the REDBLACKS win the East Division. Sinopoli’s 1,376 receiving yards was the third-highest in the CFL this season, marking the fourth consecutive season he reached 1,000 receiving yards.
Sinopoli surpassed Ben Cahoon, who set the previous record for Canadian receptions with 112 in 2003. He also led the league with 486 yards after the catch and was second in the league with 36 second down conversion catches.
This is the second time Sinopoli has taken home the honour (the first came in 2015) and his third time being a finalist. It also marks the second time he has squared off with Andrew Harris for the award.
The last Ottawa player before Brad Sinopoli to win this award was Tony Gabriel (1978).
The receiver finished with 32 first-place votes.
NISSAN TITAN MOST OUTSTANDING OFFENSIVE LINEMAN
Stanley Bryant, OL
Winnipeg Blue Bombers
In his fourth season with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Stanley Bryant has won back-to-back honours as the Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman – the first to so do since Scott Flory in 2008 and 2009.
The Goldsboro, North Carolina native anchored the line that helped Winnipeg’s running back win the rushing title, and was a crucial piece of an offence that scored the most offensive touchdowns (53) and tied for third for fewest sacks allowed (36).
“Congratulations to Stanley Bryant for winning the 2017 Nissan TITAN Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman of the Year Award,” said Steve Rhind, director of marketing, Nissan Canada Inc. “In partnership with the CFL, Nissan Canada is proud to recognize the CFL’s offensive linemen for their performance and dedication, and is thrilled to present this year’s award to Stanley for his contribution to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.”
Bryant become the eighth lineman and first Winnipeg player to win the award in consecutive seasons.
The East Carolina standout received 44 first-place votes.
MOST OUTSTANDING SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER & MOST OUTSTANDING ROOKIE
Lewis Ward, K
Ottawa REDBLACKS kicker Lewis Ward took home the Most Outstanding Special Teams Player and Most Outstanding Rookie award – it’s just the second time a player has taken both awards in the same year, the first being Albert Johnson III in 2000 for Winnipeg. Ward also became the first kicker to win the rookie award and just the third kicker to ever be nominated for the award.
Lewis Ward went a remarkable 51 for 52 (98.1%) on field goal attempts, setting a single-season CFL record (former record was 94.7% by Rene Paredes) and in the process setting the all-time record for most consecutive made field goals with 48, a streak that will continue into 2019.
The Kingston, Ontario native scored 169 points for the REDBLACKS this season.
The former Ottawa Gee-Gee became the first Ottawa player to win Most Outstanding Special Teams player since Jason Armstead did so in 2004.
Ward also becomes the first Ottawa player to win the Most Outstanding Rookie since 1990 when Reggie Barnes won the award. Other Ottawa players to win the award include Orville Lee (1988), Chris Isaac (1982) and Tom Clements (1975).
He’s the seventh Canadian to win the award since it was established in 1972.
Ward earned 43 first-place votes for Most Outstanding Special Teams and 50 first-place votes for Most Outstanding Rookie.
COACH OF THE YEAR
Saskatchewan Roughriders head coach Chris Jones takes home his first Annis Stukus Award for CFL Coach of the Year.
In his third season with the Roughriders, Jones led his team to their first home playoff game since 2013 and helped build a defence that scored the most touchdowns in franchise history (11), led the league in opposing net offence (an average of 317.5 yards per game), forced the most two-and-outs (107), and tied for fewest sacks allowed.
Coach Jones led the Roughriders to 12 victories this season, matching the most since 1970.
Jones becomes the first Rider to win the Annis Stukus Award since 2013 when Corey Chamblin won. He is the fifth Roughriders coach to win the award, joining Chamblin (2013), Kent Austin (2007), John Gregory (1989), Joe Faragalli (1981) and Eagle Keys (1968).
Jones recorded 41 first-place votes.