My story for today’s paper talked about Robert Griffin III’ s whirlwind ride the past few weeks that saw him win the Heisman Trophy, the Davey O’Brien award, appear on the Late Show with David Letterman and countless other public engagements.
It’s a grind that can be a distraction for players, who still have to prepare to play in a bowl game. There is the belief that Heisman winners often don’t play well in the ensuing bowl games because of all the distractions. But Griffin said that won’t be the case for him.
Griffin admitted it was tough to say no to all the requests. It wasn’t so much about him, but about representing the school as its first Heisman Trophy winner.
“It’s been pretty crazy,” he said. “When great things happen, people want to talk to you. It is bringing a lot of attention to Baylor, that’s the way I look at it. If I was doing all this just to bring attention to myself, I would have quit a long time ago.”
As for any sort of Heisman letdown, Griffin tried to stay ahead of it. He had four good workouts when he was on the Heisman tour.
“Most of the guys probably didn’t work out when they were on the Heisman campaign,” he said. “I did. I like to make sure I keep myself grounded.”
Admittedly, he has heard the stories of the struggles – Troy Smith in 2006, or Tim Tebow in 2007, or even Sam Bradford in 2008.
“Obviously, those thoughts are going to pop in your head,” he said. “But those guys aren’t you, and I’m not them. And I’m just going to go out and be myself.”
Here’s a list of the past Heisman winners and how they did in their ensuing bowl game dating back to 1980. There are certainly several QBs that struggled, including Sam Bradford, Tim Tebow, Troy Smith and Jason White. There were other QBs like Cam Newton and Matt Leinart, who did not. There was of course Desmond Howard being completely shut down in the 1991 Rose Bowl by the Huskies.
Obviously, the defenses these winners were facing would play a large role in those performances as well.
It was also amazing to see that Andre Ware won the Heisman in Houston’s run-n-shoot offense but didn’t play in a bowl game. Obviously, Ware’s numbers at the time were so prolific, but could you imagine a player getting awarded a Heisman with his team not going to a bowl? I don’t see it happening anymore.
Heisman winners’ bowl performances …
2010 Cam Newton, QB, Auburn
- Won 22-19 over Oregon. Newton completed 20-of-34 passes for 265 yards and 2 touchdowns.
2009 Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama
- Won 37-21 over Texas in the BCS National Championship Game. Ingram rushed 22 times for 116 yards and scored a pair of touchdowns.
2008 Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma
- Lost 24-14 to Florida in the BCS National Championship Game. Bradford completed 26-of-41 passes for 257 yards and two touchdowns in the game. But he threw two ghastly interceptions in the game.
2007 Tim Tebow, QB, Florida
- Lost 41-35 to Michigan in the Capital One Bowl. Tebow was 17-of-33 for a season-low 154 yards and three touchdowns; he also ran for 57 yards and a score. The 211 total yards were a season low.
2006 Troy Smith, QB, Ohio State
- Lost 41-14 to Florida in the BCS National Championship Game. Smith was awful, going 4-of-14 for 35 yards with one interception. He also had 10 rushes for minus-29 yards.
2005 Reggie Bush, RB, USC
- Lost 41-38 to Texas in the Rose Bowl. Bush racked up 279 all-purpose yards. He ran for 82 yards and a touchdowns, caught six passes for 95 yards and had 102 yards on five kickoff returns. Remember they also had Lendale White on that team too.
2004 Matt Leinart, QB, USC
- Won 55-19 over Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl. Leinart was 18-of-35 for 332 yards and five touchdowns.
2003 Jason White, QB, Oklahoma
- Lost 21-14 to LSU in the Sugar Bowl. White was 13-of-37 for 102 yards and two interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown.
2002 Carson Palmer, QB, USC
- Won 38-17 over Iowa in the Orange Bowl. Palmer completed 21-of-31 passes for 303 yards and one touchdown.
2001 Eric Crouch, QB, Nebraska
- Lost 37-14 to Miami in the Rose Bowl. Crouch ran for 114 yards on 22 carries and completed 5 of 15 passes for 62 yards and an interception that was returned for a touchdown.
2000 Chris Weinke, QB, Florida State
- Lost 13-2 to Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl. Weinke was 25-of-51 for 274 yards and two interceptions.
1999 Ron Dayne, RB, Wisconsin
- Won 17-9 over Stanford in the Rose Bowl. Dayne ran 34 times for 200 yards and a touchdown.
1998 Ricky Williams, RB, Texas
- Won 38-11 over Mississippi State in the Cotton Bowl. Williams ran 30 times for 203 yards and two touchdowns.
1997 Charles Woodson, CB, Michigan
- Won 21-16 over Washington State in the Rose Bowl. Woodson had an interception and had two carries for 6 yards and one catch for 7 yards.
1996 Danny Wuerffel, QB, Florida
- Won 52-20 over Florida State in the Sugar Bowl. Wuerffel was 18-of-34 for 306 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran for a 16-yard score. He finished with six carries for minus-10 yards.
1995 Eddie George, RB, Ohio State
- Lost 20-14 to Tennessee in the Citrus Bowl. George rushed for 101 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries.
1994 Rashaan Salaam, RB, Colorado
- Won 41-24 over Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl. Salaam ran 27 times for 83 yards and three touchdowns – on runs of 1, 1 and 5 yards.
1993 Charlie Ward, QB, Florida State
- Won 18-16 over Nebraska in the Orange Bowl. Ward was 24-of-43 for 286 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions, and he also ran eight times for minus-3 yards.
1992 Gino Toretta, QB, Miami
- Lost 34-13 to Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. Torretta was 24-of-56 for 278 yards, with no touchdowns and three interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown.
1991 Desmond Howard, WR, Michigan
- Lost 34-14 to Washington in the Rose Bowl. Howard was shut down by the Dawgs, he had one catch for 35 yards and one carry for 15 yards. And Mario Bailey did the Heisman pose in his honor.
1990 Ty Detmer, QB, BYU
- Lost 65-14 to Texas A&M in the Holiday Bowl. Detmer completed just 11-of-23 passes for 120 yards and a touchdown and an interception. He was knocked out of the game in the third quarter with a shoulder injury.
1989 Andre Ware, QB, Houston
- Did not play in a bowl game
1988 Barry Sanders, RB, Oklahoma State
- Won 62-14 over Wyoming in the Holiday Bowl. First of all, Wyoming played in a Holiday Bowl? Sanders carried 222 yards and five touchdowns on 29 carries.
1987 Tim Brown, WR, Notre Dame
- Lost 35-10 to Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl. Brown had six receptions for 105 yards, including a touchdown.
1986 Vinny Testaverde, QB, Miami
- Lost 14-10 to Penn State in the Fiesta Bowl. Testaverde was 26-of-50 for 285 yards. Even worse, he threw for no touchdowns and five interceptions.
1985 Bo Jackson, RB, Auburn
- Lost 36-16 to Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl. Jackson rushed for 129 yards on 31 attempts with a touchdown.
1984 Doug Flutie, QB, Boston College
- Won 45-28 over Houston in the Cotton Bowl. Flutie completed 13-of-37 passes for 180 yards and three touchdowns, but did throw a pair of interceptions.
1983 Mike Rozier, RB, Nebraska
- Lost 31-30 to Miami in the Orange Bowl. Rozier ran for 147 yards on 25 carries.
1982 Herschel Walker, RB, Georgia
- Lost 27-23 to Penn State in the Sugar Bowl. A true freshman, Walker carried 28 times for 103 yards and a touchdown.
1981 Marcus Allen, RB, USC
- Lost 26-10 to Penn State in the Fiesta Bowl. Allen rushed for 85 yards on 30 carries with a fumble
1980 George Rogers, RB, South Carolina
- Lost 37-9 to Pitt in the Gator Bowl. Rogers had 27 carries for 113 yards.