The significance isn’t lost on Zach Collaros.
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ quarterback was named the CFL’s outstanding player Friday night. And the 33-year-old native of Steubenville, Ohio, understood he’d joined a very select group.
“The history that goes into the MOP of this league, it’s not lost on me some of the guys who’ve won this,” Collaros said. “Warren Moon, Doug Flutie, people I looked up to growing up and didn’t even realize they were playing in the CFL.
“Ricky Ray, being a teammate of his [2012-13 with Toronto] and [somebody] I tried to emulate in my preparation and how he approached the game. And seeing Anthony Calvillo up there giving an award, another guy I really watched closely early on in my career.”
Voting for the award was conducted by the Football Reporters of Canada and nine CFL head coach.
Collaros guided Winnipeg to the CFL’s best record (11-3), posting league highs in TD passes (20) and efficiency rating (111).
Collaros also completed 70.2 per cent of his passes for 3,185 yards, second-most in the CFL.
The 10-year CFL veteran led a Winnipeg offence that was first overall in offensive points scored (322), offensive TDs (35), average gain per pass (8.4 yards) and passing efficiency (101.5).
Winnipeg looks to cap a dominant season with a second straight Grey Cup victory over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Sunday at Tim Hortons field.
“Obviously any time there’s some kind of competition you want to win, right?” Collaros said. “But it’s tough to put into words because the season isn’t over yet.
“The process has been great so far, we won some awards tonight. In the future we’ll look back and think it’s pretty cool but all that matters is Sunday.”
Collaros is the first Winnipeg player to earn the honour since receiver Milt Stegall in 2002.
CFL rushing leader William Stanback of the Montreal Alouettes was the finalist.