Collaros grabs place in Bomber history
A question to ponder through the haze of a Grey Cup parade hangover: What place will Zach Collaros hold in Blue Bomber history?
The quarterback with the perfect 4-0 record, who’ll be fitted for a championship ring in the coming weeks, might have played his last game as a Bomber.
Sure to be wooed by the Toronto Argonauts, from whence he came, the free-agent-to-be did something in the blink of an eye that Khari Jones and Dieter Brock couldn’t over a combined 14 seasons: Ride in a championship parade down Portage Avenue.
Collaros’ place on that “float” — the back of a truck, actually — as it navigated Portage and Main, surrounded by throngs of fans, had to be the most significant appearance by an athlete at the famous intersection since the WHA’s Winnipeg Jets backed up the Brink’s truck for Bobby Hull, 47 years ago.
“It felt like the entire city was there,” Collaros said.
When you have a big hand, or arm, in ending the longest Grey Cup drought in franchise history, you’ll never have to buy a drink in this town again.
But what if Collaros’ stay winds up being little more than a cup of coffee?
That’ll leave him with the oddest place in the history of this franchise, going back 80-plus years.
Just take a gander at the man’s stats.
You’ll need the Hubble to find Collaros’ place among the all-time great passers this team has employed.
His 221 regular-season yards passing is nearly 17 miles — literally — behind Brock’s 29,623. Heck, it’s behind Justin Goltz, Robert Marve and Brian Brohm.
Completed passes: Twenty-two by Collaros, 2,167 by Brock.
And 34 by Marve.
Touchdown passes favour Brock, 177-2.
You get the picture and Collaros is barely in it.
Yet, in Grey Cup rings the score is one-zip for Zach.
Collaros will join Sean Salisbury, Tom Burgess, Tom Clements, Ken Ploen and Jim Van Pelt as starting quarterbacks in modern-day franchise history to get their names on the shiniest piece of silverware in three-down football. Assuming the Bombers don’t destroy the thing before the engraver gets to his work.
Where does Collaros fit on that list? It’s impossible to place him.
Milt Stegall must be shaking that pretty head of his, wondering what he did to peeve the football gods during his career.
Stegall played 199 regular-season games for Winnipeg, hauling down 854 passes, but never got his mitts on The Mug.
Collaros played in one regular-season game, and is probably still drinking from it.
That’s got to be the most well-spent single paycheque in CFL history. The Bombers will earn that back in merch sales by mid-week, if they haven’t already.
Which brings us to the next chapter in this fairy tale.
Or is there one?
This could easily be a one-and-done, based not only on Collaros’ contract status, but that of so many of his teammates.
It has become a habit to use the D-word whenever a team wins a championship. Any mention of a dynasty with this group should be immediately strip-sacked by defensive end Willie Jefferson and buried under a pile of Steve Richardson, Drake Nevis and Jake Thomas.
In today’s one-year-at-a-time CFL, the notion is laughable.
Given the contractual state of the Bombers, it’s a knee-slapper that’ll leave ’em rolling in the aisles.
This team has more free agents than Winnipeg has snow plows.
By the time water pipes in the city start freezing in February, GM Kyle Walters will have more holes to fill than next spring’s pothole patrol.
Which is not to take Walters and Co. off the hook for next year. There’s no reason the Bombers or any Grey Cup winner can’t piece together another contender and go for the gusto again.
That’s the job of today’s CFL front-office types. Same job as it’s always been, but with different rules.
Rule No. 1 hasn’t changed: Get a quarterback.
Just how you do that, well, we’ve seen it all, now.
Finding the next one can’t be nearly as difficult, or as last-minute, as it was with the last one.
In fact, he’s right in front of their noses.
All they have to do is look down, way down, the list of all-time franchise quarterbacks.
He’s there somewhere.
A PLACE IN HISTORY
Career passing yards
Dieter Brock, 29,623
Khari Jones, 20,175
Kevin Glenn, 18,116
Ken Ploen, 16,470
Zach Collaros, 221
Career touchdown passes
Dieter Brock, 177
Khari Jones, 139
Ken Ploen, 119
Jack Jacobs, 104
Zach Collaros, 2