Last week, I had fun investigating what would have happened had Doc Blanchard played for Wake Forest. Now it's time to take a look at some of the biggest Heisman trophy snubs of all time, with my pick for the worst offender.
Every year when award season rolls around, people are up in arms over who is chosen. I know I used to be one of the angriest -- and let's be honest, Jason White over Larry Fitzgerald or Philip Rivers? That's pretty bad -- but as I've gotten older, it's easier to take a step back, look at what is presented and realize that an award is just an award.
That said, there have still been some pretty big Heisman snubs over the years, and although Jason White's win over Fitz and the N.C. State star (hey, ACC solidarity) was rough, there are definitely some that are just plain awful. I am focusing on a phenomenon that has always bothered me -- quarterbacks getting preferential treatment over running backs. While heading up a team is important, and the QB touches the ball on every offensive play, I think college quarterbacks get extra attention, especially when they're on extremely talented teams.
After the jump, I'll take a look at my top 3 Heisman rob jobs from the running back position...
3.) LaDainian Tomlinson (2000, lost to FSU Chris Weinke)
This is one of those situations where there were two other deserving candidates, and neither finished in the top two in the voting. It's pretty unbelievable. Don't get me wrong, Weinke had an unbelievable year on the best team in football, with FSU taking the national title the year before and the former baseball player heading up the offense (4167 yards, 33 TDs) to an Orange Bowl loss (to Oklahoma).
The Sooners' Josh Heupel finished runner-up this year with decent numbers (3392 yards, 20 passing touchdowns, 64.7 completion percentage, seven rushing touchdowns), but he had 14 interceptions and was clearly below Brees as a passer. Tomlinson, playing for a lower-profile school, somehow finished behind all three quarterbacks, despite rushing for over 2100 yards and scoring 22 touchdowns.
There still is no set standard when it comes to Heisman and MVP voting as to whether "valuable" means most impressive player, most important player to his team or best player on the best team, but it's hard to imagine LT being less valuable than Heupel or Brees in any universe, and he definitely deserved consideration for the award
2.) Marshall Faulk (1992, lost to Miami QB Gino Torretta)
Oof. Faulk put up all-world numbers his freshman season, then improved on those (with fewer touchdowns) his sophomore season even though he wasn't a secret anymore. He did it again his junior year in 1993, but that's beside the point. Torretta was a good, not great QB who played well within his system, and we all know that major programs with system quarterbacks a.) are exposed in the pros and b.) get systematically preferential treatment in the Heisman voting.
This was one of the first and more blatant examples in the modern era. Faulk obviously would go on to have an absolutely incredible career in the NFL, and I'm sure he isn't lamenting the lack of one extra trophy on his mantel.
1.) Jim Brown (1956, lost to Notre Dame QB Paul Hornung)
If you think there was a bias towards Notre Dame today, it wasn't any better when Jim Brown was playing in college, either. Set aside the personal bias as a Browns fan, but Jim Brown had almost 1,000 yards in eight games and finished fifth in the voting, while the Fighting Irish went 2-8 and his splits at QB were 3 TDs to 13 INTs. Yeah, Hornung did a little bit of everything (including punting), but had he played for a school not located in South Bend, I highly doubt he'd have even been in the running.
Brown went on to be the best player the Cleveland Browns have ever had, won Cleveland's last national title in anything -- 1964 -- and even acted a bit. I'm sure his snubbing wasn't the only motivation he had, but he certainly did a lot in his short, but brilliant career.
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