Tony Gabriel is considered the best tight end in CFL history. For anyone who only knows the modern era where tight ends are rarely used except in a "double tight end" formation, that might not seem like a big deal. In the years that Gabriel played (1971-81), however, the tight end was a standard position and Gabriel revolutionized the position and paved the way for the modern slot back. Tight ends in the 1960s were mainly blockers and caught the odd pass, but they were not the number one receiver on a team. Tony Gabriel changed that in a big way. Gabriel started his career with a solid if not specacular rookie season with Hamilton in 1971 as he caught 20 passes for 285 yards. In 1972, Gabriel upped those numbers to 49 catches for 733 yards, finishing second in the East in passes caught. Gabriel caught 40 passes in 1973 and then put his game into another gear in 1974 when he caught 61 passes for 795 yards to lead the East in pass receving. 1974 was also Gabriel's last season in Hamilton. In one of the dumber and more short sighted moves ever made, Hamilton sent Gabriel off to the Ottawa Rough Riders because Gabriel dared to suggest that the players should get a raise when the East increased the number of games played from 14 to 16 in 1974. Gabriel led the East in receiving for the next four seasons (1975-78) and was over 1000 yars in each of those seasons. While 1978 was not his best season statistically, it was in terms of awards as Garbriel was named the Oustanding Player in the CFL, the first Canadian to win that honour since Russ Jackson in 1969, and no other Canadian has won it since. Gabriel's numbers were down a bit in 79 and 80 though he did catch 48 and 55 passes in those seasons, good numbers for just about anyone else. Gabriel went out with a bang in 1981 as he caught a career high 73 passes and once more crashed the 1000 yard barrier for the fifth time in his CFL career. When all was said and done, Gabriel was a ten time Eastern All-Star, being named to the team from 1972 through 1981. In those same 10 years, Gabriel was an All-Canadian for 7 of those years, missiing out only in 1973 and 1975 to Peter Dela Riva (maybe he second best tight end in CFL history) and in his final year in 1981. Interestingly enough, 1981 was the first year the CFL used the term slot back in designating its all-star selections. Besides the aforementioned Outstanding Player award in 1978, Gabriel won the Outstanding Canadian award 4 times (1974, 1976, 1977 and 1978). In the end, however, Tony Gabriel might be remembered more for a single play than his fabulous career. One of the greatest moments in Grey Cup history came in 1976 when Gabriel cuaght his game winning touchdown pass in the finals seconds and broke the hearts of the Saskathewan Roughrider fans. Tony Gabriel was elected to the Canadian Hall-of-Fame in 1984.