Robert Griffin III Will Win the Heisman Trophy
It’s been a banner autumn for the lads who parse words for a living. For business is brisk at the presses when voting on the Heisman Trophy is certain to be close.
In recent years, when the splits have been narrow, packed schools of pundits, analysts, amateur experts, broadcasters and newspapermen could be seen returning home like salmon to expound semantically what the Trophy is awarded for. The reasons behind this phenomena are not fully understood. There always has been some small discussion on the issue, but this most recent effort is apparently carried out with the general fan in mind.
The speaker grappling for leverage in this new school of debate will state unequivocally that the Trophy is not a Most Valuable Player award, but rather given to a Most Outstanding Player in college football. And with that declaration one is made to understand they've been granted audience with an expert. There is a marked and very real difference between the two, this expert will have you know. A Most Valuable Player must contribute vitally to a winning team, while a Most Outstanding Player can do his work for anyone.
But conversely, after categorizing the nuances, the expert will show a definite tendency toward deconstructing the relative quality of a team a given candidate plays for—and as a corollary—the strength of that team's schedule. Because there are many who will say to deserve the Trophy one must be an outstanding player on a team that is also outstanding. Though given their stated criteria, doesn't that measurement determine an MVP, and not an MOP?
It’s all very hair-splitting and arcane, of course; but the value lies in the nuance, gentlemen.
In practice, a very durable argument could be made that the Trophy has been awarded to an MVP as often as an MOP, and that the difference between the two is best left to those who live for the polemic.
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Once the pundits have finished their year's public lesson in nuance, a new protest may emerge from an old quarter. Almost certain to argue that Robert Griffin III should not be handed the venerable, old straight-armed statue he’s certain to receive tonight in New York City, are those happy few who count the Southeastern Conference as dear as they count hearth and home. With two finalists, one each from both SEC schools in the national championship game—Trent Richardson and Tyrann Mathieu—you could almost bet the kingdom on it.
That the SEC has been for the last decade the nation’s pre-eminent college football conference is a winning argument. But positing that it has become, for certain partisans, something like Old Virginia would make compelling fare.
Think of a tailgate on the lawns outside a stadium where a team from the North is set to battle one of the SEC's stand-in schools for the South: “I’m not so much a college football fan, fella," says your conversationalist. "I’m an SEC fan.”
I almost believe I’ve heard it somewhere before. What did they say in the old days just after the colonies became a country? I'm a Virginian first, an American second.
But that may be wandering from the point.
RG III has been the most outstanding amateur football player in America, which is what the Trophy is given for. To see him throw is to watch a leather projectile take flight on a ballistically charted course. It is a technical masterpiece. When he jukes from the pocket to run he strides still like the 17-year-old hurdler who sprinted in the Olympic Trials.
From that end-of-summer, twilight triumph over Texas Christian University in Waco, to the late November upset over the Oklahoma Sooners, and the Master's Course conducted in the slaying of Texas, it has been an autumn for Baylor football to remember.
Chris Graythen/Getty Images
Of the finalists: Andrew Luck, Montee Ball, Richardson and Mathieu—Mathieu alone has an argument compelling enough to challenge Griffin's place in the pantheon.
The Bayeux Honey Badger has put on a thrilling show. And—for the parsers out there—he battles on an undefeated team chartered for a national championship showdown against Alabama in the Crescent City. An internecine war if ever there was such a thing in organized sport.
The parsers approve of that, you know—the best player on the best team criteria. Though it must not be an MVP award, they'll say again-and-again; and the argument begins anew.
But Mathieu is a defensive player, and in 75-years the trophy has only once gone to a player on that side of the football. And that player, Charles Woodson, a great and durable artist, played abundantly on offense as the coach’s used every mechanism available to get the football into his hands.
The Honey Badger’s ferocity, his huge plays in the biggest spots: causing fumbles, returning fumbles for touchdowns, intercepting passes, housing punts that changed games in spectacular fashion, have been among the most significant highlights of the 2011 season.
Mathieu will probably finish fourth.
Luck, the quarterback, symbolizes everything pure—or mostly pure—that a college football fan desires from a player. He returned to Stanford to complete an education and to play another fall with his teammates. He did so for both the love of the journey and in the conviction that business had been left unfinished when the previous season ended at 11-1. That decision caused him to embody everything that’s respected most in college athletics. But even the parsers will agree that isn’t the Downtown Athletic Club's criteria.
As for the remainder of this year's band of christened knights, their production over the course of the season makes each worthy his place in the sun. That brisk, Christmas lighted trip to New York to be honored in front of a nation of sporting fanatics is a memory they’ll carry with them always.
For the camp follower, it signals the final stanza of another autumn, the bittersweet entry into the season’s final act.
What is the duplicate article?
Why is this article offensive?
Where is this article plagiarized from?
Why is this article poorly edited?