It’s time once again for the Heisman Trophy presentation, the most prestigious award in college sports. While college football players clamor to win this award, it seems to me that at times, this trophy brings with it some bad karma. Is it that Heisman players are expected to excel after winning or is it that the winners subconsciously think that life should be a joy ride for them after they give their acceptance speech? You decide. Here are some recent winners and where they went after they stood on the podium and thanked the Lord, their mothers, their coaches and sports journalists everywhere:
2010: Cam Newton – He turned out okay so far. His father took the blame for all the NCAA shenanigans and pretty much everyone in the sports journalism world believed that. He is a star in the stat book already, but he had a tough time getting his team to follow suit. At least he has four wins under his belt. Too bad he already has eight losses.
2009: So far, Mark Ingram too is still in good standing in the NFL. No legal issues; no jail sentences; no NFL suspensions. With credentials like these, the Heisman people should make him the new model for the trophy and the emcee for the presentation ceremony.
2008: Sam Bradford – good NFL QB with bad NFL team or bad NFL QB and really bad NFL team? Either way Bradford doesn’ t appear to be bringing St. Louis back from the abyss. I think for any team to pay a 22-year-old kid $78 million to be their QB, that kid should be a lot like Superman. NO, that kid should be Superman and only kryptonite should be able to take him down. So far, Bradford has not even managed to be the Boy Wonder. Who knows what one more year will bring.
2007: I can’t say anything too critical here because as I understand it, Jesus personally voted for Tim Tebow. However, even though the great journalists at ESPN and FOX, follow him around to kiss his cleats, many experts believe Tebow is still an unproven NFL Quarterback. Experts aside, I think he is at least a proven professional cheerleader. In fact, he is the best motivator any NFL team has ever had. I don’t know what goes on in that huddle — Jesus might visit, or maybe just an angel or two, but something goes on to get those Broncos to move, and one thing is for certain: with the exception of a few players on that offense, it’s probably not talent.
2006: Troy Smith – This is the Heisman curse of all curses. Troy Smith wins trophy, goes to play NFL ball, comes down with a mystery form of Mono and never truly recovers. He keeps trying to revive his NFL career but no one seems to notice him there. Still, I root for Troy Smith. He was a lot more talented than some who stepped into professional QB shoes. I hope he gets his comeback.
2005: Reggie Bush – Kim Kardashian – need I say more?
2004: Matt Leinart – I knew he was a dud when he opted to stay in school one more year to party and take ballroom dance classes. That just doesn’t sound like the work ethic of a big time QB. Finally, when Leinart does find his way to the pros — what happens? He sort of sucks with the Cardinals. Now, as a backup QB with the Texans, Leinart passed one time and broke his collar bone. So, I guess, unlike Tebow, Jesus has opted not to visit his huddle at all.
2003: Jason White – Who? ? ? ?
2002: Carson Palmer – Oh, so much promise and yet so much failure with the Bengals and now the Bengals are good again. Palmer has re-invented himself as a Raider, but it’s too soon to tell if Palmer will re-ignite that much needed spark with his new team that was lost when they lost their old crazy spark, Al Davis, this year.
2001: Eric Crouch – All I know about this man is that his name rhymes with couch which is probably where he watches NFL games. Oops, I stand corrected. He plays for the UFL and sells sporting equipment. Okay, he is still in the game, so the Heisman didn’t totally sink his career.
2000: Chris Weinke – Can we spell backup Quarterback? Although he did play for the Panthers for a while as a backup and he did play minor league baseball, he never quite materialized as the player Mr. Heisman imagined.
I wish only the best to this year’s recipient of the Heisman — whoever he is. For a lot of winners, the Heisman turns out to be a pretty good deal. Those who win get at least 15 minutes of fame, and some of the past winners say that without that Heisman, they wouldn’t be where they are today. Just look at OJ Simpson.