Is the Heisman Really a Joke?
Pro football, at least here in Houston, kind of depresses me right now, so I’m moving on to a topic I think deserves some blog time in the college world.
It is college football’s most prestigious award. Each year the Heisman is awarded to: The outstanding college football player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity. Winners epitomize great ability combined with diligence, perseverance, and hard work
According to the Heisman website, their “goal is for the Heisman Trophy to symbolize the fostering of a sense of community responsibility and service to our youth, especially those disadvantaged or afflicted.”
Now remember that definition for the debate I’m about to take you on…
The problem–well, just one of them–with the Heisman is that it is overall rooted in subjectivity for voting. It pretty much always has been.
Take the simple definition of the Heisman as proof: “awarded to an individual designated as the outstanding college football player in the United States.” Ask that exact question to ten people and pretty much you’ll get ten different answers, but the kicker here is this – you’ll probably get ten different answers based on ten different thoughts or reasons and value systems. Multiply that by 90 and regional bias and that’s a campaign I’d like to sit out.
You’ll hear people say: I think Johnny Manziel should win it because he’s taken A&M to brand new heights in the SEC and revitalized that program pretty much singlehandedly. I think so-and-so should win because they had the toughest schedule this season. I think so-and-so should win because he ran the ball more on the ground or does so much good in the community and he goes to my church and blah blah blah or so-and-so went undefeated and no one else did.
All of the above may be well and true, but that isn’t what a “prestigious” award should be based on. If you leave the very definition of the award open-ended as it seems, doesn’t it stand to reason the winner and the reasoning behind said winner will too be open-ended? That just doesn’t scream consistent and annual award like it should, at least not one worthy of such discussion.
Last year Maxim magazine voted Miley Cyrus the sexiest woman alive. I shudder saying that out loud. While that has absolutely nothing to do with sports, I’m well aware, it does prove that if you leave a big vote and honor up to a bunch of random individuals; you’ll end up with the wrong recipient for an award.
Personally, I think Mila Kunis should have pulled an Archie Griffin and been the only back-to-back winner in history, but it wasn’t up to me. Apparently it was up to a bunch of teenie boppers who have yet to discover the actual definition of the word sexy.
Everything about the Heisman and the definition of selecting a winner contradicts itself.
Another example? If it’s designated an individual award, why does a tanking team or one with a less than impressive strength of schedule rule out some of the best and most “outstanding” players in college football? If you’re simply looking for the most outstanding player in college football, by your own definition, then some of these outstanding guys have been left out of the discussions. Again, discrepancy after discrepancy.
Many pundits have stated that one game or one miracle play, no matter how highlight worthy it may be, can’t catapult a player into the Heisman watch on its own, so then how does one bad/lousy/terrible/embarrassing game (Week 13 to be exact) cause widespread panic and call for a reset of the Top 5 Heisman guys who have led the talks all season? If you can’t become a Heisman hopeful in one game, it stands to reason you can’t get knocked out of rankings in one game, right? Everyone’s allowed one subpar game, are they not? Not according to this Heisman race; Manziel, Mariota, and Bryce Petty all dropped pretty much out of the running after bad or average games last week.
Which has led to this: Derek Carr is now in Heisman talks. If that name doesn’t sound familiar or ring a painful bell to the folks in Houston, just know he’s the brother of everyone’s former “favorite” Houston quarterback: David Carr.
And I’ll just leave you with that image. Oh and for those who lost count, the last two Heisman winners came from the great state of Texas. Maybe I’m just reaching here on this whole Heisman theory, but what do you think? I can’t help but think every year it loses a bit of luster and prestige and is turning more and more into a joke than the sexy Miley Cyrus bit.
Jayme Lamm is a freelance sports and travel writer based in Houston and is currently in a full-court press writing her hugely opinionated sports column, The Blonde Side. Follow her travels for sporting events and check her out on Twitter.