I was sitting at my computer today, enjoying Do the Heisman on Dat Ho when, all of a sudden, the gears in my football-obsessed head started to turn. I began to think about how little of an impact the Heisman award has had on the winners’ NFL career.
The Heisman trophy sitting on the mantle doesn’t even guarantee that the recipient will be taken come draft day.
Many Heisman winners get snubbed, or overlooked by professional teams due to a variety of reasons such as unorthodox playing style, less than ideal body structure, and, most especially, turnovers, which tend to be a problem among college quarterbacks.
2006 Heisman winner, Troy Smith, an outstanding quarterback from the prestigious Ohio State University, was completely disregarded for his size – standing just 6′ tall – and was not taken in the draft until the fifth round of the second day by the Baltimore Ravens.
Smith, considered a career backup, is currently playing behind rookie quarterback Joe Flacco, who did not win any collegiate awards and played for a Division Two team – but stands 6’6″. A slap in the face, considering that Smith has excelled every time he has been called to replace the starter.
Even Superman himself, Tim Tebow, isn’t in the top 5 current college quarterbacks according to so-called experts. Size is not an issue for 6’3″ 240lb Tebow, it’s his slingshot-like throwing technique that has future coaches concerned, the same slingshot technique that made him the most efficient college passer this year. In the mock drafts that have already appeared, the first-ever sophomore to win the Heisman isn’t even in the first round. Some analysts have gone so far as to suggest that he may be taken as a running back come draft time. An insult in my opinion.
The award has yielded fourteen #1 draft choices in its seventy-four-year history. Out of seventy-four winners, the Heisman has only produced eight Pro Football Hall of Fame inductees. A poor fraction by any standard. Roger Staubach is the only quarterback to win the Heisman and be in the Hall of Fame. This is a worrisome fact considering that eight of the last nine winners are quarterbacks.
Personally, I feel that the award doesn’t hold the same weight in the NFL as it used to. Even though you can’t teach the instincts that great college football players possess, there is an abundance of speed and size at every position in the NFL. If you’re a bit short, run a little too upright, or have a long throwing technique, you can kiss the first round and pretty much any chance of starting goodbye.