The Heisman Trophy Has Become Embarrassing

Winston celebrates with his Heisman Trophy.

Congratulations to Jameis Winston who ran away with the Heisman Trophy last evening. He was far and away the winner with 668 first-place votes to A.J. McCarron’s 79 and he was the second-place person. Winston more than deserved the honor with an outstanding season in his first year as starting quarterback at Florida State.

Winston becomes the second and second-straight freshman to win the award following Johnny Manziel who finished fifth in this year’s balloting. He has led the Seminoles to the BCS Title game amidst looming charges for a sexual assault that occurred a year ago. The state of Florida recently announced there was not sufficient enough evidence and the case was dropped.

I do not know what happened on that day a year ago and regardless of what I think of the situation, Winston was not charged. He knows the truth and the rest of us do not so we must focus on what we know move on. For Winston of course that means the BCS Title game.

The Heisman Trophy in general has become a sham in my opinion. It claims to honor the country’s best collegiate football player and Winston was certainly one of the top players deserving of the attention. The problem is that the award is no longer based on “the best player.” Instead, it’s based on the best player on one of the best teams.

Would a better record have helped Manziel do better in the Heisman balloting?

Look back at recent winners and check their team’s records. Whether it’s Winston, Manziel, Ingram or RGIII, the success of the team is as important as the player being “worthy.” Go back to 1997 for example. Odds on favorite heading into the season was Tennessee’s Peyton Manning. A loss to Florida and a poor performance to boot set him back behind flourishing Charles Woodson of Michigan.

Woodson played for Big Ten Champion and more importantly, undefeated Michigan while Manning had suffered that one loss. Woodson, behind a massive hype machine because of his numerous positions played, won the Heisman Trophy.

Another major factor in the Heisman being overblown is media bias. Ever heard of “East Coast Media Bias?” It exists and any journalist who has worked on both coasts will tell you as much. Outside of Los Angeles, the rest of the West gets very little attention. Consider that since 1990 when Ty Detmer won the Heisman, only three players from West of the Rocky Mountains has won the award.

Can you guess what school holds the distinction of having all three of those winners? The University of Southern California is the answer and what city is this school located? Los Angeles.

I used to watch the Heisman Trophy presentation when I was younger but like everything else, it has become long and drawn out and in most cases lacks any drama. Leave it to ESPN to create this monster…

For me, the best college football is not always the one with most glorifying statistics. A true football player is one who accomplishes more for his team than anyone else for starters. That describes Jameis Winston and many other past winners though doesn’t it? Yup, sure does but what about the receivers Winston throws to? They had big years worthy of consideration.

What about UCLA’s Myles Jack who returned the game of football to its’ two-way days by playing both offense and defense? To me, that’s a great football player. This doesn’t take anything away from Winston, but is he on par with a guy who plays both sides of the ball equally as well?

When the media and Heisman folks finally recognize there are people worthy of the award who aren’t quarterbacks or running backs, then maybe I’ll tune in again. Until then, I find it embarrassing.