The Curse of the Heisman Trophy

The Curse of the Heisman Trophy by Utter-Fantasy Writer & Illustrator Doug “Believer in Curses” Bowles

The Friday before “Super Bowl Weekend” can be a bit depressing. It means that the NFL season is almost over, and even staring at a couple new fantasy football trophies on my mantle doesn’t help.

My wife is an Alabama alumni, so watching Crimson Tide games is mandatory ( but I’d watch them anyways, no matter who I was married to!) As you might know, there are many Saban stars currently in the NFL. Julio Jones, Eddie Lacy, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, CJ Mosley, AJ McCarron, Dont’a Hightower and Mark Ingram to name a few.

The New Year however, did offer a couple of interesting college bowl games, which helped take my mind off of the end of another fantasy season. I particularly wanted to see the Cotton Bowl (Alabama vs Michigan State) and later the BCS National Championship ( (Alabama vs Clemson) so that I could get another good look at Heisman Trophy winner running back Derrick Henry.

During Alabama’s victory over Clemson, Henry rushed for 158 yards on 36 carries with three touchdowns. During the game, he also broke Shaun Alexander’s record for most career rushing yards in Alabama history. As a true freshman in 2013, Henry rushed for 382 yards on 36 carries with three touchdowns. During the 2014 Sugar Bowl, he rushed for 100 yards and a touchdown on eight carries and had a 61-yard touchdown reception. Sharing time with T J Yeldon his sophomore year in 2014, Henry rushed for 990 yards on 172 carries with 11 touchdowns. TJ Yeldon entered the NFL Draft in 2015, so Henry took over as the starting running back as a junior. Playing in all 15 games, he rushed for SEC records 2,219 yards and 28 touchdowns on 395 carries.

I don’t know what it is about the Heisman, but like the Madden Cover, the success rate of anyone getting on the Heisman Award, is not good.

Here’s 15 years worth….

2000- QB Chris Weinke…..In 2001, he was the starter when the Panthers finished with a 1-15 record. Back up QB the rest of his career. Out in 2007

2001- QB Eric Crouch…..Drafted by St. Louis, but seen by the NFL as too short to play QB and better suited for playing wide out. Because of the injury, Crouch left the team before playing a single game

2002- QB Carson Palmer…..successful as the starting QB in Cincinnati and Arizona, but injuries have limited what Palmer might have been able to accomplish

2003- QB Jason White…..Despite a strong college career, White was not selected in the 2005 NFL Draft and did not receive a tryout from any NFL team

2004- QB Matt Leinart…..famous for his rookie season “hold-out”, Leinart spent four seasons with the Cardinals, primarily as backup for Kurt Warner

2005- ( RB Reggie Bush- Trophy & Award Forfeited )

2006- QB Troy Smith…..In the NFL from 2007 to 2009. Smith wasn’t drafted until Day 2, and was finally selected at the end of the fifth round by the Baltimore Ravens.

2007- QB T Tebow….He began the 2011 season as the Denver backup QB, behind Kyle Orton. Traded to the Jets in 2012 and a short stint with the Patriots, he was out of the NFL by 2013.

2008- QB Sam Bradford…..Drafted in 2010 by St. Louis. Expectations have been high for often-injured Bradford. In 2011, he went 4-0 in the preseason, but the Rams finished a dismal 2-14

2009- RB Mark Ingram….. Selected by the New Orleans Saints in the 2011 NFL Draft. Ingram’s best season so far is 2014. In prior seasons, Ingram never topped 602 yards or 5 TDs.

2010- QB Cam Newton…..most successful of Heisman trophy winners since 2000. Starter for the Carolina Panthers since 2011. 82 TDs vs 54 INTs

2011- QB Robert Griffin III…..has only 12 wins since starting in 2012

2012- QB J Manziel…..After a disastrous 2 seasons on the Cleveland roster, Manziel is said to be released by the Browns in March 2016.

2013- QB Jameis Winston

2014- QB Marcus Mariota

2015- RB Derrick Henry…..won the Heisman Trophy, beating out finalists Christian McCaffrey and Deshaun Watson.

The end of the regular NFL season is pretty darn depressing, but perhaps not as depressing as this pitiful list…but it seems to be getting better. 2010 Heisman trophy winner Cam Newton not only had an MVP regular season, but is headed for the Super Bowl on February 7th. Rookie QBs Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota had very good 1st years in the NFL, for rookie quarterbacks. (Perhaps the most demanding position in sports, to be thrown into right away. ) Now… can Derrick Henry keep the positive streak of the Heisman going, or will he start a new streak of players with the trophy who are unsuccessful in the NFL?

After watching RB Henry quite a bit over the past couple years, I am afraid that he is a product of a very good Alabama system, rather than being a very good running back. Remember, RB Trent Richardson was also a star running back from Alabama, a powerful, straight ahead runner like Henry, who failed miserably in the NFL. Jacksonville’s TJ Yeldon is out that same mold as well, and he didn’t exactly set the NFL on fire with his talent in 2015 ( 740 yards on 182 carries- 2 TDs).

A more talented back out of Alabama is Eddie “when he’s 30 pounds lighter” Lacy. I am hoping that Henry turns out to be more “Lacy” than “Richardson”, but until we know…..let everyone else draft him high next September.