It is for guys like John Helton that you wish the CFL had kept quarterback sack statistics before 1981. Helton is without a doubt one of the best defenisve linemen to ever play in the CFL, but we have only a handful of stats to remember him by. Helton played 14 years in the CFL from 1969 to 1982. Ten of those years were with the Stampeders (1969-78) and four with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (1979-82). Quarterback sacks stats started in 1981 and in his final two seasons, Helton had 7 sacks in 1981 and 9 in 1982. Considering those were his final seasons and extrapolating back into his prime, you have to wonder if Helton wouldn't be on or even at the top of the all time sack list. If we can't use stats to measure the greatness of John Helton then we can at least look at his awards. Helton won 12 West All-Stars in 14 seasons. It is shorter to list the seasons he didn't win (1977 and 1980) than to list the ones he did win in. Of those 12 All-Stars, one was at defensive end in his rookie season and the other 11 were for defensive tackle as he moved into the interior of the line. Helto went on to win 9 CFL All-Stars (1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1978, 1979 and 1982). Helton won the Outstanding Lineman Award in the West and for the CFL 1972 and the Outstanding Defensive Player in the West and the CFL in 1974 (the first year it was awarded), and was the Outstanding Defensive Player in the West in 1979 (losing to Ben Zambiasi that year). John Helton was elected to the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1985.
Official sack stats were not kept until 1981.