Are we seeing another Heisman Curse?

Sonja Greenfield, Senior NFL Reporter NFC North, NFC East

By Sonja Greenfield // @Mom23RN

The most coveted award in college football, the Heisman Trophy.  Aside:  Do players still strike the Heisman pose anymore as a celebration?  I don’t think I’ve seen that in a while.

But in the land of Turnover Chains and other celebrations, I’m assuming that the Heisman pose is a thing of the past?  Please, feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.

Back to the topic at hand.  Remember way back when, when there was a debate as to which quarterback would have the best career? Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota??

This conversation reached a fever pitch back in 2015 when they were both drafted by their respective teams.  They were going to turn the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Tennesee Titans around, and get them back to being playoff caliber type teams.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the playoffs.  They both are not good quarterbacks.  Like at all.


Which leads me to ask, is there really a Heisman Curse? Were they scouted poorly?  Is it their team’s fault for not developing them?  Lots of questions.

Let’s look at Heisman winners since 2010.  QBs Cam Newton, Robert Griffin III, Johnny Manziel, Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota, Lamar Jackson, Baker Mayfield, and Kyler Murray.  Running back Derrick Henry won in 2015.  Of those guys, only 1 has seen the Super Bowl.

Now, Jackson, if he keeps it up, could be on his way.  Mayfield and Murray, I think we still have some time. Though it’s early for Mayfield, history could potentially be repeating itself.

Were they scouted poorly/put in bad situations?  Perhaps.  If you look at the teams that they were going to, they weren’t exactly world-beaters. Cleveland, Washington, Tampa Bay, Baltimore, and Arizona.  Though, in Griffin’s case, I blame injury as well as also being in a very bad situation.

Probably the most stable franchise in this bunch are the Ravens. Jackson is doing pretty well. So, it could be that the players were drafted to bad teams that have had trouble continuing to develop the players as well as the teams.

Is there really a curse? Potentially. Looking back on a list of Heisman trophy winners since 2000, they really haven’t done too much. QBs Carson Palmer and Sam Bradford played a decent number of NFL games.  RB Reggie Bush won a Super Bowl as well.   But his Heisman was vacated.  So does that count??

So, I guess what I’m saying is this: winning a Heisman obviously doesn’t translate into instant success in the NFL. And usually, the team that’s getting you really needs a lot more than just a Heisman winner. Heck, the Titans have two Heisman winners and haven’t done anything.  It’s like being valedictorian of your class in college. It’s an awesome accomplishment!  It really is!

But in the end, it probably doesn’t mean too much in your profession.


Talk NFL with Sonja on Twitter // @Mom23RN

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