The Heisman Trophy winner will be announced tomorrow evening. As I do sometimes when I do a meditation blog, let’s define the Heisman Trophy. The Heisman Trophy is awarded annually to the most outstanding player in college football. Winners epitomize great ability combined with diligence, perseverance, and hard work. It is presented by the Heisman Trophy Trust in early December before the postseason bowl games. You would think that the most outstanding player in college football would have at least a very good pro football career. Instead, the majority of Heisman winners have mediocre or no career at all. Granted, there are some unforeseen circumstances, with the greatest being injury, that can affect a player’s career. Since 1970 there have been 52 Heisman winners. Taking away the 6 most recent winners, because it is too soon to evaluate their careers, that leaves 46 winners that went on to the pros. Charlie Ward went on to have a basketball career, and did not play pro football, which leaves 45 winners who tried to have pro careers. Of that group, 6 went on to have Hall of Fame careers. Tony Dorsett, Marcus Allen, Tim Brown, Barry Sanders, Earl Campbell, and Charles Woodson. There were 12 Hall of Famers who went on to have excellent careers and may yet get into the Hall of Fame. That leaves 27 who had mediocre or no careers in the NFL, well over half, 59% to be exact. Some were related to injury, others, in my view, to a lack of opportunity, and in most cases, simply did not have the talent to play in the pros.
The award has always had an offensive bias. There has been only on defensive player win the award, Charles Woodson, and he became a Hall of Famer. You would have thought that this might have told the voters something, but it did not. The definition of the award certainly makes no distinction that the award is for offensive players only. It simply states that it is for the best college football player of that season. Over the years there is no question that there have been some defensive players that should have won. On the offensive side of the ball the award is prejudiced for quarterbacks and running backs. Forty eight of the fifty two winners have been running backs or quarterbacks. Again, I feel that there have been offensive linemen that should have won the award. More or less, this can be explained by the fact that this is an award voted on by sportswriters. Even though this is a different sport, just recently it was shown just how incompetent they are, when Fred McGriff was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame unanimously by committee. The writers did not even come close to electing him to the Hall. It is always amazing how a group of people know so little about what they write about. This year all the finalists are quarterbacks. Because of the aforementioned prejudice, the Heisman Trophy, may be the most insignificant award in all of sports. At the very least it needs to be redefined.