The Heisman Trophy is undoubtedly the most prestigious award in all of college football and the list of players who have won it over the years truly demonstrate the honor of the award. However, in recent years the Heisman Trophy winner has not necessarily lived up to their expectations in the NFL. Obviously with last years winner, Cam Newton, he has become one of the better quarterbacks in the league in his rookie year, and 2009 winner, Mark Ingram, has become a solid running back for the New Orleans Saints, but there have been many NFL busts who have won the Heisman Trophy as well. This leads me to believe that while winning the award is a great honor, it is not very often that the player has the same success in the NFL. Let’s go through a list of some of the players who lived up to the expectations and those who were busts to determine the real meaning of the Heisman Trophy.
Since 1990, there have been only been five “superstars” in the NFL that won the Heisman: Desmond Howard, Eddie George, Charles Woodson, Carson Palmer and Cam Newton. These players were all or currently are superstars in the NFL, having great success throughout their careers. Of course Carson Palmer had a few injury setbacks, but he looks like he’s regaining his status as a top 10 quarterback every week and Cam Newton has had a magnificent rookie season with a promising outlook for the rest of his career.
Six of the former Heisman Trophy winners have had good careers or are in the process of producing solid numbers each season. These players include: Ricky Williams, Ron Dayne, Reggie Bush, Tim Tebow, Sam Bradford and Mark Ingram. For Bradford and Ingram it is too early to tell what their careers will entail, but they seem to be solid NFL players thus far.
The rest of the bunch have been absolute busts in the NFL, the players include: Ty Detmer, Gino Torretta, Charlie Ward, Rashaan Salaam, Danny Wuerffel, Chris Weinke, Eric Crouch, Jason White, Matt Leinart and Troy Smith. None of these players even came close to being good in the NFL and raises the question, does the Heisman Trophy mean anything outside of college football? The answer is no. Time and time again college stars have failed to live up to the expectations making the value of the Heisman Trophy far less prestigious. Hopefully Robert Griffin III will win it tonight and prove us wrong throughout his NFL career.