Recent History Says Heisman Winner Marcus Mariota Will Suck In The NFL
Congratulations to Marcus Mariota of Oregon for winning the Heisman Trophy this weekend. Also, our condolences. Chances are you're going to disappoint at the next level.
There was a time when winning the Heisman, the award for college football's best player, was a harbinger of good things to come. Winners of decades past went on to excel in the NFL -- Roger Staubach, O.J. Simpson, Tony Dorsett, Marcus Allen, Bo Jackson, Barry Sanders and Charles Woodson are just some of the Heisman winners who became professional greats.
Sadly, that is no longer the case. Whether because college programs mold players in images that don't produce in the NFL (see: read-option quarterbacks like Robert Griffin III) or just bad luck, recent winners of the trophy have gone on to have terrible or disappointing NFL careers more often than not.
Let's look back at the previous 14 winners, since 2000:
2000: Chris Weinke, QB. A mostly career backup with just two NFL wins to his name.
2001: Eric Crouch, QB. Drafted as a wide receiver, got injured, got allocated to NFL Europe.
2002: Carson Palmer, QB. A rare exception, Palmer has been selected to two Pro Bowls.
2003: Jason White, QB. Not selected in the 2005 NFL Draft.
2004: Matt Leinert, QB. A disappointment with Arizona before boucing around the league as a backup.
2005: ????? (Reggie Bush, but his name has been wiped from the record books.)
2006: Troy Smith, QB. A fifth-round pick by the Ravens who was recently released by his CFL team.
2007: Tim Tebow, QB. He won a playoff game. Now he works for ESPN. Could have been a tight end.
2008: Sam Bradford, QB. He could be decent if he wasn't injured all of the time.
2009: Mark Ingram, Jr., RB. A disappointing backup for most of his career.
2010: Cam Newton, QB. Another exception... maybe. The jury is still out despite a Pro Bowl selection.
2011: Robert Griffin III, QB. One good season. Now, potentially, a colossal bust.
2012: Johnny Manziel, QB. Had his first NFL start yesterday. It didn't go well.
2013: Jameis Winston, QB. Between his inconsistency and his off-field behavior, no sure bet to succeed.
On the other hand, Heisman runner-ups and third place finishers usually go on to see great success, or at least long careers. Here are just a few examples:
2000: Drew Brees.
2001: Rex Grossman (he played in the Super Bowl!).
2003: Larry Fitzgerald and Eli Manning.
2004: Adrian Peterson.
2005: ...Vince Young?
2006: Darren McFadden.
2007: Darren McFadden (hey, at least he's still in the league).
2010: Andrew Luck.
2011: Andrew Luck.
2012: Manti Te'o.
Does this mean we should expect Pro Bowl careers from Melvin Gordon and Amari Cooper? Not necessarily, but the relative success of runner ups as opposed to Heisman winners definitely gives us pause. Combine this with the fact that NFL Draft experts don't see any franchise quarterbacks coming out this year, and we've got more reasons to doubt Mariota's future than to look forward to it. Here's to hoping he bucks the trend (right, Jets/Titans/Buccaneers fans?)
Photo via Getty
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