Winning Heisman Trophy no guarantee of glittering future

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray throws against the Baltimore Ravens. Picture: Nick Wass/AP
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray throws against the Baltimore Ravens. Picture: Nick Wass/AP
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Arizona Cardinals hosted the Baltimore Ravens in week two in a game that intrigued fans everywhere. The game featured a head-to-head between 2016 Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson and 2018 winner Kyler Murray.

The Heisman trophy is awarded annually to the most outstanding college football player, at the highest level – NCAA Division 1. Murray, the most recent winner, joined a long list of famous NFL players but what exactly does winning the Heisman guarantee?

The short answer: nothing, nothing at all.

As with all sport, what you win early doesn’t guarantee anything. Many coaches and players will tell you that you need to keep working. But that’s obvious, right?

Murray was drafted with the No 1 overall pick this year, whereas Jackson was the 32nd pick in 2018, so to make a head-to-head comparison would be unfair.

In Murray – a player many expected to use his legs as much as his arm – only rushed three times for four yards, passing for 349 yards. Jackson, a venerable veteran in the NFL – having attempted a whole 100 passes more than Murray in his additional season in the league – was much more of a dual threat.

In Sunday’s game, Jackson passed for 272 yards, throwing two touchdowns and added 120 rushing yards to his game, pushing his team to a 23-17 win over Arizona.

But back to the question at hand. What comes with winning the Heisman, and why does it get spoken about so often?

In truth – again – nothing. Of the 80 people crowned Heisman winners – Archie Griffin is the only two-time winner – only six of those are NFL Hall of Famers, while ten have won a Superbowl.

Of the last ten quarterbacks – Derrick Henry (2015) and Mark Ingram (2009) are running backs – three no longer play and six are starters for their respective teams.

Of those six, there are question marks over the heads of Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota and their ability to lead their franchises.

The real problem is teams’ reliance on college performances. Yes, winning a Heisman is a great feat, but if Celtic were to sign players from the Highland League after winning player of the year would you be surprised if they weren’t up to standard?

The LA Rams have shown that scouting far and wide is the key. Look at Cooper Kupp – who had another outstanding game on Sunday – drafted from a lower division school and Corey Littleton, who wasn’t drafted at all.

The quarterback is a different position yes. But when you look back at the last 20 years, you have Kurt Warner and Tony Romo, both players who played to high levels after going undrafted.

It’s time organisations started relying on a player’s skillset and development, not on their Heisman eligibility. History has shown that winning a Heisman is nothing more than a CV filler when you get to the NFL.

Elsewhere in the league, the New England Patriots travelled to Miami, where they embarrassed a dire Dolphins team. The Dolphins have given up 102 points in two games and failed to score in seven of their eight quarters of football this season.

The Buffalo Bills are the Kings of New York after back-to-back wins in MetLife Stadium, having added to last week’s victory over the Jets with a 28-14 win over the Giants, leaving them level with the Patriots.

San Francisco 49ers picked up from last week with another win in the east coast time zone, comfortably beating the Bengals in Cincinnati. Keeping pace with the Niners, the Seattle Seahawks and LA Rams both picked up wins, with all three teams now sitting with two wins.

Oakland jumped out to a 10-0 lead against Kansas City Chiefs but a second-quarter blitz saw Patrick Mahomes throw four touchdown passes to win the game 28-10 for Kansas.

The Falcons held off a last-minute drive from Philadelphia Eagles, while, in Houston, the Jaguars battled out a low-scoring 13-12 game. Jaguars coach Doug Marrone elected to go for a two-point conversion to win the game instead of taking the game to overtime and the failed attempt ended up handing Houston the win.