The Rouge: Who is the greatest Rider of all time?

Paul Hoogkamp

9/5/2010 4:09:35 PM

They are two of the best players in the history of the CFL but if you had to pick one player to be the best Saskatchewan Roughrider of all time, who would it be: Ron Lancaster or George Reed?

They both excelled at their positions with Lancaster retiring as the most decorated passer in CFL history and Reed still leading the league in rushing touchdowns and sitting second in career rushing yards. Reed was ranked second on TSN's list of the greatest CFL players of all time while Lancaster was seventh but in 'The First 100 Years', the book used as a source for TSN's All-Roughriders Team as chosen by Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post, Lancaster was ranked first and Reed second.

What makes the discussion even more intriguing is the fact they played together for 13 seasons, eliminating the difficult task of comparing players who played in different eras. Let's take a look at the accomplishments of these two great Roughriders.

Lancaster was known as the 'Little General' for his ability to control the game despite his small 5'5" stature. In 16 seasons, Lancaster engineered 50 successful fourth-quarter comebacks.

The Pennsylvania native arrived in 1963 and was named the league's Most Outstanding Player twice and was a four-time CFL All-Star. He led the Roughriders to 14 straight playoff appearances, 12 Western Finals and one Grey Cup title in 1966.

He retired as the league leader in passing yardage (50,535) and now ranks fourth behind Damon Allen, Anthony Calvillo and Danny McManus. He also retired as the league leader in touchdown passes (333) and now sits third behind Allen and Calvillo.

His #23 has been retired by the club and he is a member of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame.

After a distinguished collegiate career at Washington State, Reed signed with the Roughriders in 1963, the same year as Lancaster. He would go on to rush for over 1,000 yards in 11 of his 13 seasons in Regina, making the playoffs every year he played.

He was named the league's Most Outstanding Player in 1965, was a CFL All-Star on nine occasions and captured a Grey Cup championship in 1966. 

When Reed retired following the 1975 season, he was the CFL's all-time leading rusher with 16,116 yards. He has since been surpassed by Mike Pringle but still holds the league record with 134 rushing touchdowns.

His #34 has been retired by the club and he is also a member of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame.

So the choice is yours. Who is the best Roughrider of all time? Is it Lancaster with his passing records and ability to take control of the game? Or is it Reed with his rushing records and ability to run around and through the opposition? Let us know your thoughts in our Your Call feature and vote in our poll.