Tim Tebow and Heisman-Winning Quarterback Studs Turned NFL Duds Since 1990
Here's a sports trivia question for you.
What do Ty Detmer, Cam Newton, Gino Torretta, Sam Bradford, Charlie Ward, Tim Tebow, Danny Wuerffel, Troy Smith, Chris Weinke, Matt Leinart, Eric Crouch, Jason White and Carson Palmer all have in common?
The title of the slideshow kind of gives it away, but this is a list of the Heisman-winning quarterbacks since 1990.
That's right, there have been 13 quarterbacks to win the Heisman in the last 20 years.
Just in case you were wondering, there have been six running backs, one wide receiver, and one primarily defensive player during that same span.
Three of them (Ward, Crouch and White) never played an NFL snap, and Torretta never started a game.
Of those to start in the NFL, Carson Palmer is the only one to make the Pro Bowl, but Sam Bradford was named the Offensive Rookie of the Year last season.
Just six of them are still in the NFL, and four of those are starters.
Through Week 8 of the 2011 NFL season, none of these quarterbacks have a winning record as an NFL starter. In fact, just two of them have more than 10 career wins (Ty Detmer, 11 and Carson Palmer, 46).
These players have started a total of 210 games with a cumulative record of 84-126. The group has also thrown more interceptions than touchdowns.
Not very impressive for 13 of the best college players of the last 20 years.
Yes, there have been other great college quarterbacks in the past two decades who didn't win the Heisman who have also flamed out in the NFL (Joey Harrington, David Carr, Brady Quinn, JaMarcus Russell, etc.), but that would make this list far too long.
Also, this list is in chronological order, not a ranking of duds, bad duds, really bad duds and worst duds or something like that.
Ty Detmer, 1990
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Ty Detmer played four years at BYU and completed 958 of 1,530 passes for 15,301 yards and 121 touchdowns.
Detmer won the 1990 Heisman Trophy and finished third in 1991.
He was a two-time All-American, two-time Davey O'Brien Award winner and two-time WAC Offensive Player of the Year.
In addition to those awards, Detmer won the Maxwell Award in 1990 and Sammy Baugh Trophy in 1991.
Detmer still holds 18 BYU records and is a member of the BYU Hall of Fame.
Detmer actually had a long NFL career with five different teams, but he only threw 34 touchdowns and 35 interceptions in his 14 seasons.
He started 25 of his 54 career games and went just 11-14 in his career.
Detmer didn't even see the field in six of his 14 NFL seasons.
Gino Torretta, 1992
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Gino Torretta played four years at Miami (FL) from 1989 to 1992. He was an All-American and won the Heisman Trophy after leading Miami to an 11-1 record in his senior season.
Torretta completed 555 of 991 career passes for 7,690 yards and 47 touchdowns at Miami. Most of those numbers were put up in his junior and senior seasons.
He won the Big East Player of the Year award in both 1991 and 1992. He took home a total of six other awards in 1992 including the Heisman, Davy O'Brien Award, Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, Maxwell Award and Walter Camp Player of the Year Award.
He finished his college career with a 132.0 quarterback rating.
Torretta was on five NFL rosters from 1993 to 1997 after being picked in the seventh round of the 1993 NFL draft.
The Heisman winner in 1992 played in a total of two NFL games and went 5-of-16 for 41 yards, one touchdown and one interception in his professional career.
He had a total passer rating of 35.4 as an NFL quarterback.
Danny Wuerffel, 1996
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Danny Wuerffel, the Heisman winner in 1996, never had a passer rating lower than 146.0 in his college career at the University of Florida.
From 1993 to 1996, Wuerffel completed 708 of 1,170 passes for 10,875 yards, 114 touchdowns and 42 interceptions.
Wuerffel finished third in the Heisman voting in 1995 and took home the Davey O'Brien Award, Sammy Baugh Trophy and SEC Player of the Year Award that year.
He followed it up by an All-American selection and the Heisman Trophy in 1996. Oh yeah, he also won another Davy O'Brien Award, Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, Maxwell Award, SEC Player of the Year, and Walter Camp Player of the Year Award that year.
Wuerfell played six seasons in the NFL, but he didn't see the field in two of those.
He appeared in 25 games, starting in 10 of them. He went 4-of-6 as an NFL starter and threw for just 2,123 yards, 12 touchdowns and 22 interceptions with four NFL teams.
He finished his NFL career with a 56.4 passer rating. That's over 100 points lower than his career average of 163.6 at Florida.
Chris Weinke, 2000
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Wienke won the Heisman Trophy in 2000, continuing the dominance of Florida quarterbacks in the Heisman voting. He was the fourth quarterback in eight seasons to play college football in Florida and win the Heisman (Charlie Ward won the award in 1993 while playing at FSU.)
Wienke started for Florida State from 1998 to 2000 after playing very sparingly as a freshman in 1997.
In his Heisman-winning senior season, Wienke completed 266 of 431 passes for 4,167 yards, 33 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.
Wienke has his No. 16 jersey retired by FSU after going 32-3 as a starter. He set the FSU and ACC record for career passing with 9,829.
According to Florida State's athletic site, Wienke set 26 school records in his career on his way to winning the Davy O'Brien and Johnny Unitas trophies in addition to the 2000 Heisman.
Wienke started 15 games in 2001 for the Carolina Panthers, going just 1-14. He threw for 2,931 yards, 11 touchdowns and 19 interceptions in his rookie season.
No worries. That happens to a lot of rookie quarterbacks playing on bad teams. Right?
Wienke played six more seasons in the NFL but failed to see the field in 2003 or 2004. From 2005 to 2007, Wienke played in 14 games, started five of them and went just 1-4 for the rest of his career.
Wienke never rebounded from a poor rookie season and went 2-of-18 as a starter. He threw for a total of 3,904 yards, 15 touchdowns and 26 interceptions before calling it quits at age 35 after playing two games in 2007 for the 49ers.
Eric Crouch, 2001
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Even though I'm from the Midwest and lived in Omaha, NE for four years, I cannot stand the Nebraska Cornhuskers.
Eric Crouch started for Nebraska from 1998 to 2001. A true dual-threat quarterback, Crouch rushed for 3,434 yards and 59 touchdowns. He also caught a 63-yard touchdown pass.
As a passer, Crouch completed 312 of 606 passes for 4,481 yards and 29 touchdowns.
That was all good enough for Crouch to barely edge out Rex Grossman and Ken Dorsey for the Heisman in 2001.
Crouch is one of three FBS quarterbacks to rush for 3,000 yards and pass for 4,000 yards in a career.
He's still the Nebraska leader in several categories including total offense (7,915), total touchdowns (88), most rushing yards by a quarterback, rushing touchdowns by a quarterback and the longest run from scrimmage (95 yards).
Crouch was originally drafted as a wide receiver and converted to safety, but he never played in an NFL regular season game.
He did play in NFL Europe, the CFL, AAFL and UFL.
I hope you forgive me, but I'm not going to look for the stats for those prestigious leagues.
Jason White, 2003
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Jason White played for the Oklahoma Sooners from 1999 to 2004. He won the 2003 Heisman and finished third in 2004.
White threw for 7,922 yards and 81 touchdowns at OU.
The majority of that production came in 2003 and 2004 when White passed for over 7,000 yards and 75 touchdowns. He posted passer ratings of 158.1 and 159.4 in those seasons.
The Heisman trophy winner went undrafted in the 2005 NFL draft and was eventually signed as an undrafted free agent. However, he quit football before playing a professional game. He cited weak knees.
On the bright side, there is a bronze statue of White on the OU campus in Heisman Park.
Matt Leinart, 2004
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Leinart won the Heisman and a national championship in addition to two Archie Griffin Awards, a Manning Award, Unitas Award and Walter Camp Award.
A three-year starter at USC, he completed 807 of 1,245 passes for 10,693 yards, 99 touchdowns and 23 interceptions.
Including rushing touchdowns and a receiving score, Leinart accounted for 109 total touchdowns in three seasons.
He had a career passer rating of 159.5 while playing for Pete Carroll in Southern California.
Leinart has played in 29 games since he was drafted in 2006, starting 17 of those. He's 7-of-10 in his brief NFL career, and he hasn't started a game since 2009.
He's thrown for 3,893 yards, 14 touchdowns and 20 interceptions. He's also run for two touchdowns, both of them coming in his rookie season.
Seattle might be in need of a quarterback after a fairly pedestrian performance by Tarvaris Jackson this year.
Troy Smith, 2006
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Troy Smith played at Ohio State from 2003 to 2006. As a Michigan fan, he was Public Enemy No. 1.
While at OSU, Smith completed 420 of 670 passes for 5,720 yards, 54 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He also ran for 1,168 yards and 14 touchdowns in college.
The All-American won the 2006 Heisman Trophy, AP Player of the Year, Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, Davey O'Brien Award and Walter Camp Award.
He also led the Big Ten in passing touchdowns, passer rating and completion percentage in 2006.
He's started eight of his 20 professional appearances with a 4-4 record.
He's completed just 51.7 percent of his passes for 1,734 yards, eight touchdowns and five interceptions.
He made just two starts for Baltimore in three seasons and threw just three touchdowns as a Raven.
For what it's worth, he's also rushed for 230 yards and three touchdowns in the NFL.
Tim Tebow, 2007
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I had such high hopes for Tim Tebow; I really did.
While it might be too early to label him a complete dud, he's headed in that direction really fast.
Tebow is perhaps the most decorated quarterback in college football history. He started three years at Florida for Urban Meyer and completed a whopping 661 of 995 passes for 9,285 yards, 88 touchdowns and just 16 interceptions.
He had a career passer rating of 170.8 in Gainesville, but that's just half of the story.
Tebow also rushed for 2,947 yards and 57 touchdowns, averaging 4.3 yards per carry.
The All-American quarterback finished in the top five in the Heisman voting from 2007 to 2009. He was the 2007 AP Player of the Year, 2007 Davey O'Brien Award winner, two-time Maxwell Award winner, 2008 Manning Award winner and 2008 SEC Offensive Player of the Year.
Oh yeah, he also won two SEC championships and two national championships.
So far, Tebow has failed to show that he can be a consistent starter at the NFL level, regressing in every start of his young career.
He's made five NFL starts, going 2-3 in those starts. In 14 NFL appearances, Tebow has completed 48.1 percent of his passes for 1,066 yards, nine touchdowns and four interceptions. He's rushed for 386 yards and seven touchdowns, but he also has five fumbles.
He's played well in about five minutes of over 120 minutes of game time so far this season.
Against the Lions, his QBR (ESPN's quarterback rating) was 3.4.
For more of my thoughts on Tebow, click here.