The Heisman Trophy. Aside from the trophy for the National Championship, the Heisman is the single most coveted award in college football. Schools expend a ton of money and energy on campaigns designed to bring attention to their athletes who are deemed Heisman candidates. One notable story surrounds former NFL great Joe Theismann – whose name is actually pronounced “Thee-seman.” According to Theismann, Notre Dame's PR department changed the pronunciation of his name in their press conferences so that it rhymed with “Heisman.” And it has been such ever since.
Most players are savvy enough in this day and age to avoid openly campaigning for the award on their own. Their school's PR departments, as well as their own circles, beat the drum hard enough that they don't have to. But it's a trophy most every player covets. For the players it's the culmination of the hard work and effort they put into their college careers, as well as the validation that they are indeed, the best player in all of college football.
For many of the fans out there, they believe that winning the Heisman is a guarantee of football superiority and success in the NFL. But nothing could be further from the truth. Winning the Heisman marks you out as the best in the college ranks, but the NFL is another animal entirely. And it has a nasty habit of chewing up and spitting out Heisman Trophy winners. Winning the Heisman is a guarantee of nothing but having a nice trophy on your mantle
In it's 78 year history, only 77 different people have won the Heisman – one player won the Heisman twice – and the 2005 award was vacated. And of that elite class of players, 14 never played in a single NFL game, 15 went undrafted entirely, while only 8 from that distinguished class made the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
If you're scoring at home, those aren't great odds.
While you have to be a fantastic college football player to take home the Heisman, that oftentimes doesn't translate to the NFL. With that in mind, here are 15 Heisman winners who were absolute flops at the NFL level...
15 Charlie Ward
14 Archie Griffin
13 Jason White
12 Gino Torretta
11 Eric Crouch
10 Rashaan Salaam
9 Andre Ware
8 Troy Smith
7 Matt Leinart
6 Ron Dayne
5 Danny Wuerffel
4 Reggie Bush
3 Mike Rozier
2 Tim Tebow
1 Steve Spurrier
The Ol' Ball Coach knows something about Heisman winning QB's – he's coached them, and even won one himself in 1966 after throwing for nearly 5,000 yards and 36 TD's in college. Unfortunately for Spurrier, the success he enjoyed in college never translated to the NFL despite being the 3rd overall pick by the 49ers. Over his 9 seasons in San Francisco, he made just 26 starts and made more of a mark as a punter – though that was even marginal. He was traded to Tampa Bay in 1976 where he started 12 games, helping lead the Bucs to a winless season and the perpetual tag of the “worst team in the history of professional football.”
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