Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Heisman Curse


During my half an hour or so of slapdicking around on sporcle.com today, I came across an interesting quiz. The quiz asked you to name all of the former Heisman Trophy winners that are now in the NFL Hall of Fame. I thought I might be able to take this one down so I clicked the link and got rolling. Much to my surprise, there were only 8 players on the list. I knew that there were some real dud Heisman winners out there, but I couldn't believe that this few were in the Hall of Fame. This leads me to believe that the Ndamukong Suh, Colt McCoy and Toby Gerharts of football will have a much better pro career than the likes of Mark Ingram or Tim Tebow.

Doak Walker, Paul Hornung, Roger Staubach, O.J. Simpson, Earl Campbell, Tony Dorsett, Marcus Allen and Barry Sanders. These are the only Heisman Trophy winners to have gone on to be enshrined in the NFL Hall of Fame. Out of 74 winners (Archie Griffin won twice) only 8 have gone to Canton, that's about 11%. You would think that the percentage would be a lot higher, but it is not. If I were Ndamukong Suh, Colt McCoy or Toby Gerhart I would actually be pretty pumped about losing out on the Heisman.

In my opinion, there might be a reason for this statistic. I think that the Heisman Trophy is more a popularity contest than anything. Sure, all the players that are invited to the presentation are all very good, but I think more often than not the "best" players are overlooked in favor of the most popular guy on the best team, or the most heralded player by the media. Moreover, it seems that the Heisman committee is heavily in favor of quarterbacks winning the award. That is the only way to explain guys like; Troy Smith, Jason White, Eric Crouch, Chris Weinke, Ty Detmer, and Andre Ware all winning the Heisman. The Heisman trophy seems to be more a barometer of popularity than actual skill.

If I were an NFL GM, I might actually hold a player winning the Heisman trophy against him, certainly more for quarterbacks at least. Maybe I am being too strong, but let me just say that winning a Heisman trophy wouldn't be any sort of a credential in my mind.

I know what you are thinking, 11% is probably not bad compared to the percentage of all other players making the Hall of Fame. You are probably right, but I still find it shocking that out of the 254 players in the NFL Hall of Fame, only 8 were considered to be "the best player in college football". Moreover, that some of the "best players in college football" turned into such terrible pro players.

Maybe I should create the award for "most likely to be a successful pro", but all I know is that if I were a betting man, I would put money on Colt McCoy to make it to the Hall of Fame before Tim Tebow, or Toby Gerhart before Mark Ingram. As a matter of fact, I'd take my boy Terrence Cody over all of them. He is the second coming of VW-WF.

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