In a narrative laced with the poise and prowess that marks a season of athletic marvel, Chad Kelly of the Toronto Argonauts has emerged as the shining protagonist, clinching the prestigious accolade of the CFL’s George Reed Most Outstanding Player for the 2023 season. This honor, freshly christened to pay homage to the legendary Saskatchewan Roughriders’ running back George Reed—a titan of the turf whose legacy recently dimmed with his passing—ushers in a new epoch of football greatness.
Amid the gridiron grandeur, Kelly’s journey to this zenith saw him soar above Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ stalwart running back Brady Oliveira with a commanding 39 to 22 lead in the final vote tally. This decisive victory is not merely a testament to his talent but a chorus of recognition from those who know the game intimately.
The Argonauts’ field general, at the ripe age of 29, orchestrated an offensive symphony with precision and potency, completing 68.5 percent of his passes and unfurling a remarkable 4,123 yards through the air. His record brimmed with 23 touchdowns that caressed the azure Canadian skies, intercepted only by a modest count of 12. Yet, Kelly’s acumen transcended beyond his aerial arsenal; his feet churned the turf for 248 yards over 41 carries, crossing the end zone eight glorious times.
Anointed both an East Division all-star and a CFL all-star, Kelly’s leadership saw the Argonauts chart a triumphant 16-2 record serenade, proving his indispensability and strategic mastery. His near-flawless crusade as a starter which included 15 dazzling wins against a solitary loss—a skirmish he valiantly contested until injury struck—was a testament to his indomitable spirit and athletic acuity.
Previously, Kelly had marked his territory with a lone CFL career start, coming in at the crux of the previous season when the scales of favor had already tipped, blessing Toronto with the East Division’s zenith.
The adjudication of this honor unfurled through the discerning lens of the Football Reporters of Canada (FRC), a cadre of 61 national members who lend their voices to chronicle the epic saga of Canadian football. Their ballots penned a new chapter in the annals of sports history, one wherein Chad Kelly emerges not just as a player, but as a paragon of the Most Outstanding Player, emboldening the legacy of George Reed and the timeless lure of Canadian football.