Has there ever been a year filled with more parity in the Canadian Football League than this one?
As we approach the one-third point of the 2012 campaign, seven of the eight teams are separated by just one game. They all may have taken different paths to get to their current records, but they still remain extremely close to one-another.
Preview: Toronto at Calgary Wk. 8
Of course, you can throw the Calgary Stampeders into that mix of teams with interesting early-season stories.
Individually the Stamps have been led by Nik Lewis and quarterback Kevin Glenn. The veteran Glenn has been the starter for four games and has proven to be a very effective game manager.
In those four starts he passed for an average of 260 yards per-start, completing 65 per cent of his passes in the process. In that time he has tossed a pair of interceptions to go with five touchdowns. Not off the chart numbers, but an illustration of his effective game management.
As for Lewis, he is staking an early claim to the league’s Most Outstanding Player award. No, these awards are not handed out in August, but his inspired play has certainly been a bright light for the Stampeders to date.
His recent re-signing by the team, ending any potential free agent bid, was greeted with elation by Stampeder fans. His stats are impressive, but his overall leadership has also been a source of inspiration for the team.
Sticking with the offence, the Stampeders’ running game has rebounded following a brief stint with disappointment. After a dismal outing against the BCLions on July 28, Calgary bounced back with one of the top ground efforts in franchise history the two weeks later in Calgary.
Meanwhile, Calgary’s upcoming matchup with the Argonauts will feature two of the brightest veterans the league has to offer. With Lewis hoping to make his mark for the Stampeder, the Argonauts will counter with the savvy of quarterback Ricky Ray.
With the two set to duke it out on Saturday, it’s interesting to note that they once almost became teammates.
Shortly after his contract extension was announced, Lewis sat down with CHQR Radio in Calgary to discuss his tenure with the Stampeders.
“Coming out of college, I had a workout with the Eskimos. (Player personnel director) Paul Jones worked me out and seemed real interested. They were ready to talk contract.”
So why Calgary in the end?
“But Calgary was also talking to me. And the trainer from the girls softball team at college was actually from Calgary. She told me all about Calgary. So that made it easier to sign with them. When I got up here, her family was great to me. They took me around and showed me the city, then got me settled. They even had me for a couple of meals.”
Given the fact Lewis was 21 years old at the start of his first Stampeders camp in 2004, having a familiar face in town probably didn’t hurt. From a professional viewpoint, it was likely better that Lewis selected Calgary for his home home.
The Eskimos, entering Lewis’ first professional season, were coming off a Grey Cup win. Their import receiving core of that time included of Ed Hervey, Jason Tucker and Terry Vaughn. Exactly how many balls would have come to Lewis, assuming he even made the team, is a debate for Eskimo fans to ponder.