This is part two of my “Best Alouettes by Jersey Number” feature. We’ll be breaking down numbers 10 through 19 this week. If you missed numbers 00 through 9, you can find them right here.
I want to give a special shoutout to two people who have helped me come up with player names and numbers. My pops, Frank Alfieri, and my good friend Rick Moffat. They were around for the great Als teams in the 70s and beyond. Ultimately, I had final say (so don’t blame them), but their wealth of knowledge was invaluable during this process.
Alright, let’s get to the list:
10 – Marco Brouillette – S – 2010 to 2016: Henoc Muamba is making up ground for this honour, but it’s impossible to ignore what Brouillette did during his time with the Als. The college quarterback turned free safety spent seven years with the organization and he was named an East Division All-Star in 2016. He finished his career in Saskatchewan, but we won’t hold that against him. Brouillette played 103 games with Montreal and he was part of the team that won the Grey Cup in 2010. Hopefully Marco and his family will celebrate this honour with a nice steak dinner.
11 – Chip Cox – DB/LB – 2006 to 2018: Cox played in 228 games, he made 926 tackles, 32 quarterback sacks and 23 interceptions. He isn’t just the greatest number 11 in franchise history, he’s one of the best players the Alouettes have had. He started off as a defensive back, but was quickly moved to strong-side linebacker. He was a big part of the 2009 and 2010 Grey Cup-winning teams. He’ll be in the Hall of Fame one day.
12 – Geoff Tisdale – DB – 2013 to 2015: Keith Baker and T.J. Hill were also seriously considered here, but Tisdale had quite a bit of individual success during his two seasons with the Als. He was a CFL All-Star in 2013 and an East Division All-Star in 2013 and 2014. During that 2013 campaign, he had a career-high seven interceptions. He also scored one touchdown.
13 – Anthony Calvillo – QB – 1998 to 2013: Was there every any doubt about this one? Calvillo joined the Alouettes in 1998 and spent his first two seasons as the team’s backup quarterback. He finished his career with three Grey Cup rings (2002, 2009 and 2010) and he also retired as the all-time leader in passing yards (79,816), touchdown passes (455), completions (5,892) and passing yards in Grey Cup games (2,470). He was also named the league’s Most Outstanding Player in 2003, 2008 and 2009. Calvillo was a CFL All-Star five times. He was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2017.
14 – Sonny Wade – QB – 1969 to 1978: Wade didn’t put up the greatest individual numbers throughout his career and he seemed to thrive more when he came off the bench, but his “clutch-ness” is what set him apart. Wade won three Grey Cups with the Als and was also named Grey Cup MVP on three different occasions (he won offensive MVP in 1974 and 1977). Only Wade, Doug Flutie and Damon Allen have won the Grey Cup MVP Award three times.
15 – Phil Brady – RB/DB – 1966 to 1968: Brady was one of the most versatile players in franchise history. He played running back during his college days at BYU, but the Als found a way to use him on defence, too. He also returned punts and kickoffs for Montreal. Brady was selected as an East All-Star at defensive back in 1967. After leaving the Als, he signed with the NFL’s Denver Broncos.
16 – Al Phaneuf – DB – 1969 to 1971: This was a tough one. I could have gone with Jim Burrow, who played defensive back for the Als in the 1970s, but I decided to go with Phaneuf. The Canadian defensive back unexpectedly quit football in 1972 to work on the Christian Youth Ranch he started in the West Island. Phaneuf was a CFL All-Star in 1970, as he picked off nine passes that year. He also had two interceptions in the Als’ 1970 Grey Cup victory over the Calgary Stampeders.
17 – Billy Parker – DB – 2009 to 2016: When Parker arrived in Montreal, he was already an NFL and AFL veteran. He and fellow defensive back Jerald Brown both joined the team in 2009 and helped solidify the secondary. The Als won back-to-back Grey Cups in Parker’s first two years. He was also a East Division All-Star in 2013. The numbers may not jump off the page, but he was an important part of the Montreal’s success. He spent two years with the team as a defensive assistant in 2017 and 2018.
18 – Jamel Richardson – SB – 2008 to 2013: Dickie Harris was on the short-list for this number, but Richardson was just too dominant in his time with the Als. He spent the first three years of his CFL career in Saskatchewan before leaving for a one-year stint in the NFL. When he returned to Canada in 2008, he instantly became one of the most dominant receivers in the league. Richardson’s best year came in 2011 when he caught 112 balls for 1,777 yards and 11 touchdowns. He won two Grey Cups with the Als in 2009 and 2010. He was named Grey Cup MVP in 2010.
19 – S.J. Green – SB – 2007 to 2009 and 2010 to 2016: Only three players in franchise history have more receiving yards than Green’s 6,626. He patiently waited for his time to shine, but once he arrived in the starting lineup he became one of the premiere receivers in the CFL. In 2010, Richardson won Grey Cup MVP because he had eight receptions for 109 yards, but most fans forget that Green had nine catches for 102 yards in that game. During his time in Montreal, Green was a five-time East Division All-Star and a CFL All-Star in 2013. He and Richardson were an outstanding duo.
Numbers 20 through 29 will be revealed next Saturday.
(Feature Image Credit: CFL.ca/David Chidley)
Here’s more Alouettes content for you to enjoy:
— Q&A with offensive lineman Philippe Gagnon
— Q&A with offensive lineman Samuel Thomassin
— Q&A with defensive lineman David Menard
Chip Cox, Jamel Richardson and S.J. Green are three of my all-time favourite Alouettes. So talented and so much fun to watch.