Eugene T. Lee: Winning the Heisman does not guarantee NFL success
With the Heisman Trophy being awarded this weekend, another college football season slowly comes to a close. The Heisman Trophy, awarded to the best college football player in a given season, has always received a great deal of fanfare, but has the “professional” significance of this award lost some of its luster?
Allow me to explain; all you need to do is take a look at the list of Heisman Trophy winners over the past 25 years. With all due respect, you have a lot more Jason Whites and Ron Daynes than you do Charles Woodsons and Barry Sanders. Players who win this prestigious award, as evidenced over the past 25 years, are rarely great NFL players, let alone future Hall of Famers.
With the Heisman comes more than recognition and honor. Often overlooked is that with the trophy comes high expectations. More often than not, Heisman award winners are drafted relatively high in the first round of the NFL Draft. If successful in the NFL, few notice.
Heisman award winners are expected to perform and perform well. On the other hand, if a Heisman award winner fails to live up to expectations at the next level, which seems to happen with regularity these days, he is wrongly labeled a”bust.” The reality is that the Heisman Trophy rewards superior collegiate performance on the field and does not reward or predict success on the professional level.
Don’t get me wrong, the Heisman Trophy is a wonderful and prestigious award, but it has never been, nor will ever be, an accurate barometer for forecasting future NFL success. That being said, if one day my son is fortunate enough to be a Heisman finalist, I would be pulling very hard for him to win this historic award.
I wish the five finalists the best of luck and continued success as they embark upon their professional careers in the National FootballLeague.
Eugene T. Lee is the president and CEO of ETL Associates.