(EDITOR’S NOTE: To access the Dave Dickenson interview, go to 25:00 of the attached audio)
There’s a chance … and maybe a good one … that you haven’t heard of former quarterback Dave Dickenson. And that’s a shame.
Because, guaranteed, they know Dave Dickenson in Canada.
The reason? Simple: Dickenson is more than a former CFL MVP and Grey Cup winner. He's a CFL Hall of Famer who just coached the Calgary Stampeders to their second Grey Cup championship in five years and Dickenson’s first as their head coach, too.
But Dickenson’s victory lap didn’t stop there. Within a month, he was inducted into the College Football Hall-of-Fame’s Class of 2018. A star quarterback at the University of Montana, Dickenson was an FCS national champion, Walter Payton Award winner and Montana's all-time leading passer -- a guy who still holds 28 school records and is considered the Grizzlies' greatest-ever quarterback.
“I’m not sure there’s a better or higher honor than that College Football Hall of Fame,” he said on the latest Talk of Fame Network broadcast.
For that matter, he’s not sure there’s a better league than the CFL, either – or, at least, a more entertaining one. Remember now: He’s been on both sides of the border, playing at Montana and serving briefly as an NFL backup before returning to Canada. So he has perspective.
And he made it clear there’s one aspect to the CFL game he believes is superior to all others.
“To me,” he said, “it’s creativity. That’s what the CFL is all about. If you watch a little bit, I think our game is a little bit ahead of college and the NFL as far as we have guys moving everywhere (and) the rules allow a lot of creativity.
“You can do lots of different things. You can have everyone moving at once. Obviously, you can have different types of formations that you don’t see. We do have an extra player … it’s an extra receiver for the most part ... and it could be a bit of a ‘tweener.’
“The NFL is using a lot of guys that are kinda that Tarik Cohen-mode now, guys that are running backs-slash-receivers. We’ve been doing that for years (with) guys that can do it all. So I’d say the creativity more than anything else.
“Also, it’s just a fast moving game. The clock’s only a 20-second time clock. There’s no down time. You get going, you get watching football and you get moving. I think that’s what makes the CFL so fun.”
Plus, the CFL has a wider field and end zones that aren’t 10 yards deep but 20. Nevertheless, Dickenson said that doesn’t always work to a quarterback’s favor.
“The goal posts are in the front,” he said, “and, even when I played, I had more than a few touchdowns I felt were there … and I whacked that damn goal post.
“To be honest, your whole playbook is live. Yeah, you got to tighten things up and work it out, but even when you get it tight inside the 5 you can still run more than enough football plays with that deep end zone.”
Dickenson was honored in New York City earlier this month along with a class of College Hall-of-Fame inductees that includes Trevor Cobb, Dana Howard, Paul Palmer, Kerry Collins, Calvin Johnson, Ed Reed, Matt Stinchcomb, Aaron Taylor and Charles Woodson.