What Is The Heisman Trophy?


What Is The Heisman Trophy

Every organized sport in North America awards its most valuable player a trophy in one form or another. The Heisman Trophy is no different, as it is awarded to the player who showcases the best attributes out of all of the players in College Football.

The Heisman Trophy is awarded annually in December before the postseason and bowl games. There is something to be said about awarding the trophy before the postseason and its effect on the athlete. 

Why Is It Called The Heisman Trophy?

The Heisman Trophy is awarded yearly to the most outstanding athlete in College Football and is considered the most prestigious trophy in all college sports. The name of the trophy comes from John Heisman. John Heisman was a sportswriter, coach, football player, and actor. Heisman passed away in 1936. 

Before his death, the Downtown Athletic Club created the trophy; at the time, it was named the DAC Trophy to recognize the most valuable College Football player in College Football, only for players east of the Mississippi River though.

After Heisman’s death, the trophy was named in his honor, and the eligibility pool was opened to all College Football athletes, regardless of which side of the Mississippi. 

How Is The Winner of The Heisman Award Determined? 

The Heisman Trophy winner is decided every year by a voting committee. The previous living 57 winners also get to vote, but they are not forced to and do not lose the ability to vote if they never do so. Across the country, 870 sports journalists vote; these 870 voters are in six geographical regions across the United States.

Each voter selects three players and ranks them in numerical order from one to three. The one to three selections has a points ranking, the first being worth three, the second being worth two, and the third being worth one.

The top four finalists are invited to the ceremony, while the top ten are released after a winner is announced. 

Has There Ever Been a True Freshman To Win The Heisman?

Sadly, a true freshman has never walked into College Football and has won the Heisman for their efforts. Johnny Manziel did win the Heisman Trophy in 2012, but he was a red shirt.

Multiple College Football players have finished in the top three of voting and went on to win the trophy as sophomores. Those players were Angelo Bertelli, Glenn Davis, Doc Blanchard, Doak Walker, and Herschel Walker. 

Who Is The Youngest Winner In Heisman History? 

The Heisman has been around for almost 100 years, more like 80. The trophy is full of excellent stats and trivia, but who is the youngest winner in the trophy’s history? Current Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson holds that honor. Jackson was 19 when he won the trophy, just five days younger than the previous record holder, Jamies Winston (Winston went pro after the win).

Jackson produced one of the most statistically impressive seasons in College Football history and was well deserved. He was the first player from the University of Louisville to win the Heisman. 

Can an Athlete Win The Heisman Twice?

Athletes capable of doing so are eligible to win the Heisman Trophy multiple times. Archie Griffin, an Ohio State running back, won the Heisman twice, in 1974 and 1975. He is the only athlete to do so in the trophies history.

As the game gets faster and harder, it seems more unlikely that a player will be able to replicate Griffin’s success. Griffin played seven seasons for Cincinnati and one season for Jacksonville of the USFL in 1985. 

What College Has Produced The Most Heisman-Winning Athletes?

Two colleges have produced a plethora of Heisman winners, but three teams hold the number one spot. The Oklahoma Sooners have produced seven winners in their time, the most recent being Kyler Murray. While the Ohio Buckeyes have produced seven as well, the most recent being Troy Smith in 2006.

The third spot in the three-way tie is held by the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, who have not had a Heisman winner since 1987 with Tim Brown. The USC Trojans hold the fourth spot, with Matt Leinart being their most recent winner. 

Is The Heisman Trophy Worth a Lot of Money?

O.J.’s statue sold for $200,000 at auction. The trophy does not have a numerical value, but I am sure a sports collector would pay a premium to have it in their collection. The real value of the trophy is for the winner.

The athlete joins an elite pool of athletes; even if their NFL career isn’t a bank buster, they can make small fortunes in appearances, sponsorships, and autographs. It is also a good bargaining chip for contract negotiations as a rookie. Since 1999, winners have been unable to sell the trophies. 

Do Heisman Trophy Winners Struggle In The NFL?

Ah, yes, the Heisman Curse. It is well known that Heisman winners have been plagued with mediocrity in the NFL after winning the College Football MVP.

Not a single athlete has gone on to win a Super Bowl after winning the Heisman Trophy. Players may go on to have successful, all but short careers. The best example of this is Sam Bradford. Bradford had a successful college career with Oklahoma, so he went first overall; eight years and four teams later, Bradford retired. 

There is no statistical explanation for why a Heisman winner fails in the NFL, but there are a few theories. One theory is that they let their ego play before their game and can no longer handle being in the spotlight of their sport at the next level.

In my opinion, the second and most realistic is that these athletes crack under pressure to be that much of a star coming out of college and have the world expected of them in the NFL. The saddest theory I have seen is the “hex” theory, that being that the player will be injured before achieving their peak in their career. 

Conclusion: The Heisman Trophy In College Football? 

In conclusion, the Heisman Trophy is the most prestigious in college sports. It is also one of the most historic since the 1930s. The trophy was named after John Heisman to honor him for his commitment to sports journalism and has been awarded every season since then. The trophy is awarded to the best player in college football during that season. 

Multiple programs have produced more than five winners, but Notre Dame, Ohio, and Oklahoma have all produced seven winners. There is something in the water for Heisman winners, as most have not produced in the NFL, with Lamar Jackson being the one outlier with the best chance of snapping it.