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Sports Then and Now

History of College Football’s Heisman Trophy

Posted on December 07, 2015 by Mike Raffone

Heisman TrophyStanding 13.5” tall and weighing in at a hefty 25 lbs., the Heisman Trophy is unquestionably the most prestigious award in all of college sports.

The bronze trophy easily stiff-arms its way into today’s Sports Then and Now blog as the award gets presented later this week to college football’s most deserving player. And, here’s a little history of the sport’s most coveted prize.

Every December since 1935, the Heisman Trust in New York City awards the beautiful bronze trophy to “the nation’s most outstanding football player whose performance best exhibits the finest of excellence with integrity.”

Votes from 870 sports journalists, geographically located in six sections across the United States, plus previous Heisman Trophy winners and one collective vote from ESPN sports fans, are submitted to the Deloitte accounting firm where the ballots are tabulated and governed by the Heisman Trust.

Since 2005 the annual winner has been selected at the Best Buy Theater in the New York Hilton in Times Square, New York City, before a national television audience on ESPN.

Quarterbacks and running backs have dominated the Heisman Trophy selection process over the years. No primary defensive player has ever won the coveted trophy, although Michigan’s multi-talented Charles Woodson won the prize in 1997 as a game-changing defensive back, kick returner and punt returner.

Oregon’s Marcus Mariota and Florida State’s Jameis Winston have been the most recent recipients of the venerated award.

Current NFL stars Cam Newton (Carolina Panthers QB), Mark Ingram, Jr. (New Orleans Saints RB) and Sam Bradford (St.Louis Rams QB) received the honor in 2010, 2009 and 2008 respectively, while 2011 and 2012 winners Robert Griffin III of Baylor and Johnny Manziel of Texas A & M currently serve as back-up quarterbacks on their NFL teams.

Ohio State University’s Archie Griffin is the only two time winner (1974 and 1975) of the Heisman Trophy. Florida’s Tim Tebow became the first sophomore winner back in 2007, and in 2012 Manziel emerged as the first freshman.

In addition, Ohio State and Notre Dame have witnessed seven winners each from their universities, while USC is the only NCAA school to have its Heisman winner, Reggie Bush in 2005, vacated for accepting improper benefits. Despite its rich football history, Alabama’s only Heisman winner has been Ingram.

What originally began as a great idea by former Auburn, Clemson and UPenn Coach John W. Heisman in 1935 has transformed into college athletics’ most celebrated acknowledgement.

Heisman Trophy winners form college football’s most famous and well-respected fraternity. These players will always be recognized for their extraordinary accomplishments.

Just like the famed Heisman Trophy pose, every college football player would stiff-arm and side-step all would-be competitors to carry home college football’s most prestigious annual award.

Curious who will go home with the trophy this coming Saturday night.

MIKE on sports!

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