Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Heisman . . . . did the freshman deserve it?

I will never knock Johnny Manziel, he really is a great quarterback. He’s led the Texas Aggies on a huge mission to make an impact in the SEC for the first season . . . . and he did it well. However, he’s a freshman.

Now, that’s not to say that a freshman can’t be the best player in the league. It can happen, but at the same time, I don’t always agree that the Heisman or awards like it should be based off of one year in College Football.  This could be my logical, the older kids should be the best thinking, but I just am not okay with it.  There were juniors and seniors who could have won the award.  Unfortunately, because analysts, writers, and the public vote on these awards . . . hype gets in the way.  I’ve been lucky enough to sit in a room where a board was discussing who to make sure were in the top ten round for an award (not the Heisman).  The group collectively said, a freshman hasn’t proven himself yet. One good year, doesn’t make him the best player. Yes, it makes him great, but to me the Heisman doesn’t just include one year, it’s collective. That’s why it’s so rare for these kids to get two.  The one who has received two?  Was Archie Griffin, and it was deserved (his junior and senior year).

Yes, there have been a lot of sophomores that won too.  I don’t necessarily think that they’ve proven themselves yet, but at least they have two seasons under their belt. And those are the ones that will leave for the draft their junior year. (Most of the time.)

When the Heisman began in 1935, a senior won it for ten years straight, then a junior player won.  That player? Doc Blanchard, who played for the Army, and his partner in crime in the Army offense was Glenn Davis, and he won it the following year. Basically, they knew they both deserved it, and didn’t want to give it to two players in one year.  After that it’s still mainly seniors, but times have also changed and players aren’t staying in college until graduation anymore.  Which sadly makes sense, because they can get out and make money without worrying about getting injured in college. The likelihood of a player leaving after his freshman year? Slim to none. This isn’t the NBA, where that happens. The NFL needs you to get that bulk and strength that a few years in college can give you. The NBA doesn’t necessarily need that time.

I’m happy for Johnny Manziel (sorry, I just can’t call him Johnny Football . . .). Don’t get me wrong, he’s a fantastic quarterback. But, it’s sad that good players, like Manti Te’O or Collin Klein, who are both seniors lose to a freshman. Also? Te’O should have won. Hands down. But, defense isn’t the sex appeal that offense is. People like cheering for quarterbacks. Defense isn’t as fun to cheer for. So defensive players NEVER win. And that’s not okay.

It’s never a sad day when a kid wins the Heisman, but I’m disappointed in the decisions that the Heisman Award group made.  Congrats to Manti and Collin on being selected as finalists though. You should be so proud. Congrats Johnny, I hope that you live up to this award. I like it when people prove me wrong!