The Determining Factor ……………………..

The Determining Factor

It’s crazy but with the end of the NFL Draft and we already have the analysts and draft geeks assessing which team actually had the best draft class from this most recent endeavor . Now don’t get me wrong but the draft has its merits but in reality until those players actually have played down in a regular season game within the NFL we will never truly know what these players are or will be actually capable of. Can’t miss players are merely speculation and conjecture . And now where a first round draft pick especially one that is picked in the upper echelons of the first round, the financial cost and commitment for a player to a team can be well into tens of millions of dollars over the course of an initial contract. Do you think that the Oakland Raiders regret making that initial $ 65 million commitment to JaMarcus Russell right about now ? One simply has to look to their front office of the Raiders to see the cause of their demise . To put it more succinctly Al Davis no longer knows how to assess talent in spite of the continued idiocy that’s misplaced by an overbearing oaf such as radio personality and employee of the organization the nationally syndicated sports talk radio host J T The Brick . Here’s a guy who when it comes to showing any form of impartiality to an issue concerning the Raiders , well let’s just say he’d make a Klan member feel proud !

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Slide show for your perusal .

In reality success has been fleeting for the Raiders over the last decade and half and that is in spite of the organization’s rich history within the NFL . But as with a number of teams and in particular with each generation of fans it’s not merely about those by gone years but what you have you done for me lately by way of success ? And to my mind the determining factor and in relation to the success that any organization wishes to attain be it within MLB , NBA , NBA , or the NFL itself .. It is predicated upon the front office of each organization ,from the ownership on down to the executives and coaching staff. Consider this , think of the most successful franchises within each of the four major sports and what has each got in common apart from winning ? It is the fact that each has had an owner who has remained consistent with what works for it as an entity . The Detroit Red Wings and New Jersey Devils within the NHL , the Pittsburgh Steelers , New York Yankees , the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers have simply stuck to that tried and tested method of having sound fiscal policies , as well as competent coaches and executives within their respective organizations.

During the NBA Playoffs without a doubt the most disappointing display to my mind was that of the Orlando Magic and their lopsided 4-2 series loss to the Atlanta Hawks . Anyone who was witness to the sheer ineptitude of the Magic’s performances throughout this series would realize that without Dwight Howard this team simply isn’t worth a damn . What might be even more perplexing was the sheer idiocy and the belief shown by GM Otis Smith and coach Stan Van Gundy that the mid-season trades made would in fact improve the team . If anything the team simply became even more inconsistent , lackluster and completely devoid of creativity on either end of the floor . Not only that but they were simply those who labored under the fact Dwight Howard because of his stats made a viable MVP candidate while his teammates simply were mediocre .

Anyone who actually has an ounce of common sense would know from the very fact that the vast majority of the winners of the league’s regular season trophy to the individual recipient has in fact made those around him considerably better as their respective teams statistically have shown signs progress during that season. Case in point , was this season’s runaway winner of the league MVP trophy , Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls and the 21 game turnaround engineered by Tom Thibodeau from last season to this where the team became a 62 game winner and the top seed within the Eastern Conference never mind the fact that they’ve now made the Eastern Conference Semi Finals where they face the Atlanta Hawks who as I explained earlier dethroned the Magic with effortless ease.

The Orlando Magic and its front office in conjunction with Otis Smith I feel were capricious. Smith and Bob Vander Weide team President & CEO made a gamble that simply didn’t pay off . Not only that but in acquiring Jason Richardson , Hedo Turoglu and Gilbert Arenas the organization is financially on the hook for $65 million in salary for the players in question over the remaining years of those contracts. Call me naive but the productivity by the players during the regular season as well as the postseason has been minuscule and not deserving of the Magic’s fans undoubted expectations. And with this loss the Magic and its management have a great deal of contemplating to do as it regards the moves that need to be made in order to make this team better. Dwight Howard whose contract expires at the end of 2012 can actually opt out of the contract prior to its culmination rather than seeking to start the whole negotiation process. Clearly Van Gundy and Otis Smith will have to be very persuasive in convincing Howard that he ought to remain with the organization. And at this juncture that scenario isn’t as clear cut as some would believe or would like it to be.

In baseball we have all seen the idiocy of the team owners there and their ostentatious spending. Is it any wonder Los Angeles Dodgers and in particular the New York Mets are in a mess financially with regard to their own existence and financial viability ? Dodgers’ owner Frank McCourt seems to be under the misapprehension that he will be successful regaining control of the team he bought in 2003 from the local > News Corp through their wholly owned Fox Inc subsidiary. Since then, even though the team has averaged 3 million attendees per season the organization has struggled to remain financially a viable concern . Now with collateralized and none- subordinated debt in excess of $ 1.2 billion McCourt feels that the team and organization still remains a viable concern. He must feel that the his creditors will continue remain lukewarm to his overtures should they feel that he’s having problems paying down that debt. In this sort of economic climate there tends not to that type willingness from many of the nation’s major financiers and their respective institutions. And even with the league hierarchy having assumed control of the Dodgers I would like to think that Bud Selig is closely monitoring the situation as it now unfolds with Mets , in particular with co-owners —- Saul Katz and Fred Wilpon !

Success for both the Dodgers and Mets seems to have been fleeting over the past decade and it remains to be seen whether or not their aspirations remains the same and that is to win a World Series title . And as ambitious as those front offices appears to be it seems that they have lost sight of their ultimate goal . Much of that malaise has to be laid squarely upon the shoulders of McCourt and his executives within the organization . Ned Colletti may well be enjoying the prestige of running the personnel side of the organization but he too like McCourt may well have lost site of the organization’s goals. It certainly most telling that when questioned by the press as to who now controls the Dodgers and its day to day running Colletti’s response was one that seems to be an individual who just doesn’t care either way . If that is indicative of how this organization is being ran then it shows that they’re completing deserving of their fate.

The New York Mets face a civil suit that at present is being determined through a mediator appointed by the US Federal Courts and at the heart of it all appears to be whether or not the organization knowlingly gain financially from the monies received as profits from the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme of which several thousands of investors were defrauded of $59 billion. Irving Picard the plaintiffs’ lead attorney in this suit has filed a motion seeking to recoup some $750 million from both Katz, Wilpon their Sterling Equities as well as the New York Mets. The lead defendants Katz and Wilpon deny any wrongdoing on their part but have stated that they are victims of the fraud perpetrated by Madoff and his associates. However , it has been the Mets unwillingness to open their books up for public scrutiny that casts a doubt upon the veracity of the argument now being put forth by the Mets as the defendants and in particular by Saul Katz and Fred Wilpon . A federal subpoena has a way of making the truth be known in the end and hopefully several of those will be put to use in the course of this case. And inasmuch the Mets once again are having a mediocre season one can’t help but feel that through the connivance and mismanagement from the executives and managerial level over the past few years that this organization is thoroughly deserving of its present predicament.

I’ve long maintained that the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns as teams within the NFL clearly have some way to go before they can be thought of as serious contenders within the league and as a legitimate team to win the Superbowl . Bengals’ owner Mike Brown and team coach Marvin Lewis are now having to deal with Carson Palmer’s petulant behavior and his wanting to be traded to a contender . If this is what is indicative of what was now being produced by USC as to quarterbacks from the Pete Carroll era then clearly there are some questions that really do need to be asked . I think that things are now likely to get a great deal murkier with the team’s drafting of Andy Dalton as the de-facto successor to Palmer as his reign is about to come to an abrupt end with the Bengals . From AFC North champions in 2009 to a team with a lackluster 6-10 record last season .

The Browns for their part have been in more of a tailspin having dumped Romeo Crennel and hired Eric Mangini only too see the team fail miserably under Mangini’s tenure . And given Mangini’s coaching record in the NFL I’ve got to ask myself what the hell was Mike Holmgren thinking as the team’s President ? Last season this team competed gallantly but in large part they faced an uphill battle trying to usurp the dominance of both the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers within their division (AFC North ). Now with Pat Shurmur as the team’s head coach and there being a revamped assistant coaching staff it remains to be seen what this upcoming season may well have in store for the Browns. The team had a breakout star in Peyton Hillis and as always the dependable Josh Cribbs was at his very best and it would appear that team now has a quarterback in Colt McCoy who can actually commands the respect of his teammates.

In stark contrast to the teams that have been consistent and have attained success, much of that can be put down to the fact that apart from making the right personnel decisions . It has been the continuity not only from within their coaching regime but primarily through the fact that at the executive levels as with regards to the general manager that is in place , there has been little , if any , real turnover in that staff. It’s not always been about the coaches because that in essence comes down to the coach’s resume’ and his ability to communicate with the players and if anything above all with his general manager. Simply look at the success attained by the Steelers and New England Patriots over the years and the one constant there has been the ownership , the fact that the general managers there have been tenured with those respective organizations for a number of years and the actual willingness of the owner to defer to subordinates within the organization. And even though Scott Pioli has since left the Patriots to assume a similar position with the Kansas City Chiefs we’ve seen that even there also once Pioli was allowed to show his acumen in assessing talent the team has progressed showing a marked display last season in winning the AFC West (10-6) and making the playoffs where they would succumb to the Baltimore Ravens —- 30-7 in the wildcard round. And for head coach Todd Haley and his coaching staff though the loss had been been a tremendous disappointment , it also points to the fact that the organization has to be now heading in the right direction after so many barren years in the wilderness .

The Patriots for their part having seen their postseason woes continue with their lackluster performance in losing to their divisional rivals the New York Jets —- 28-21 in a game that pretty much summed up the team’s season. In light of that however they’ve gone about things in their usual business like manner garnering picks for future drafts and at the same time picking up the usual talent they’ve been accustomed to down the years . Much of that by design as Bill Belichick has worked in conjunction with Floyd Reese the team’s senior consultant charged with the task of dealing with personnel matters for the team.

We may well feel that in large part that success is actually achieved on the field of play because of the performances of the players. But it does essentially start with the eager willingness of the owners and their front office executives actually having the right staff in place being able assess the talent that is there to be had and as necessary spend prudently in order to get the best possible player available . How often have we seen a situation where in fact a team that simply looks good on paper just tends to implode because of the undue pressure and the very fact that the coach simply hasn’t done their job adequately ? At times we can blame the players for their lackluster performances but doesn’t that also have something to do with the coach not being able to get his point across as to what needs to be done at a given moment ?

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

In coming to this conclusion I do firmly believe that any professional sports organization has to have all integral parts on the same page working in cohesion . If that isn’t evident within an organization then by the very evidence we tend to see the vast majority of the time that team does tend fail in its endeavors. We’ve seen it this postseason within the NBA , NHL , also within the NFL and MLB as well . What thoughts if any do you have on the points raised within this piece ? And as such do you feel that I may well have missed some pertinent factor that should have been included ? Simply chime in with a comment as you deem fit .

Alan aka tophatal ……………………………………….

https://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) New Oakland Raiders coach Hue Jackson (L) looks on as Raiders owner Al Davis (R) speaks to reporters after introducing Jackson as the new head coach of the Oakland Raiders on January 18, 2011 in Alameda, California. Hue Jackson was introduced as the new coach of the Oakland Raiders, replacing the fired Tom Cable. Getty Images / Justin Sullivan ……

(2) JaMarcus Russell (2) of the Oakland Raiders walks off the field against the Baltimore Ravens during an NFL game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on January 3, 2010 in Oakland, California. Jed Jacobsohn/ Getty Images ……

(3) Stan Van Gundy of the Orlando Magic questions a call by the official during Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs against the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on April 28, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia . Getty Images/ Kevin C Cox …..

(4) In this photo taken on April 14, 2010, from left, Orlando Magic president and chief executive officer Bob Vander Weide, chief operating officer Alex Martins and general manager Otis Smith chat prior to an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers in Orlando, Fla. Smith, by his own admission, is a risk-taker. He’s the general manager who traded three starters from an NBA finals team, moves that either will show Smith’s brilliance or become a symbol of a gamble gone wrong for the Magic in the playoffs. AP Photo/John Raoux …….

(5) Andre Ethier (16) of the Los Angeles Dodgers swings and loses his bat in the fourth inning against the Chicago Cubs at Dodger Stadium on May 3, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. The Cubs defeated the Dodgers 4-1 . Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images ……

(6) Dodgers’ GM Ned Colletti (left) and the team’s owner Frank McCourt . This was Colletti’s formal introduction to the public as the team’s new GM in November 2005. Icon SMI/ Larry Goren ……. ……..

(7) Cincinnati Bengals first round draft pick A.J. Green, right, speaks at a news conference with head coach Marvin Lewis, Friday, April 29, 2011 in Cincinnati. Green, a wide receiver from Georgia, will wear number 18 for the NFL football team. AP Photo/Al Behrman ……..

(8) Cleveland Browns president Mike Holmgren watches from the back of the room as first-round draft pick Phillip Taylor holds a news conference at the NFL football team’s headquarters in Berea, Ohio Friday, April 29, 2011. AP Photo/Mark Duncan ……

(9) Cleveland Browns general manager Tom Heckert, right, presents a jersey to first round-draft pick Phillip Taylor during an NFL football news confernce at the team’s headquarters in Berea, Ohio Friday, April 29, 2011. The Browns took the Baylor defensive tackle with the 21st overall pick Thursday night. AP Photo/Mark Duncan …….

(10) FILE – In this Feb. 6, 2009, file photo : Kansas City Chiefs coach Todd Haley, left, talks with general manager Scott Pioli before a news conference announcing Haley’s hiring in Kansas City, Mo. Pioli and Haley are deservedly drawing praise for taking the Chiefs from 10 wins in three years to 10 wins in 16 weeks. But they don’t deny they were blessed with a core of solidly talented young players when they got to Kansas City after a 2-14 2008 season. AP Photo/Charlie Riedel ……

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The Heisman Trophy What Is It Really ?

In many respects I find sport’s awards and those fleetingly doled out in the film industry, merely nothing more than an item meant to adorn one’s mantel piece. The Oscars and the Golden Globes are nothing more than mere baubles and they do tend place style over substance when it comes to their recipients. And the ‘hype’ that goes along with it ? Well, it’s second to none ! Seemingly so, the hype over the Hesiman Trophy is met each season with the sort of brouhaha one would come to expect from a woman who’s just bought herself the latest must have outfit from Badgley Mischka or something from from Zac Posen ?

Former NFL great, Tim Brown makes the formal announcement on ESPN, as to the five nominees for the Heisman Trophy for 2009. Brown, himself was the winner of the trophy in 1987.

Now don’t get me wrong the Heisman has a wonderful legacy and its history is replete with the names of collegiate athletes from the world of college football that stands the test of time. But in recent years it has become nothing more than a boon-doggle around the neck of the winning athlete once they’ve been named the recipient, at the Downtown Athletic Club, in New York City, New York. And it may well be the same case , come Saturday night for the five finalists nominated for this year’s award. The nominees are assured of one thing at present , they’re about to have their initial fifteen minutes of fame. And thereafter, the recipient of the award will have a great deal to live up to. That being said, given the fact that some of his most recent predecessors have found their way into the NFL. And for whom, many of them have either had a great deal of success or simply faded away into memory. I’m of the opinion that the trophy itself and what it’s said to stand for, shouldn’t at all be equated with ongoing success at the next level.

ESPN's  college football analyst and NFL Draft guru,  Mel Kiper  Jr, seen here discussing  April's NFL Draft  from the  cable outlet's facility in Baltimore ,  Maryland,.  Kiper never  seems to be at a  loss for words  when it comes  to the  world  of  collegiate or  NFL football.  He'll  put 'it'  out there   as  to his  thoughts on  NFL  draft  prospects  be  they right  or  wrong.  And  rarely will  you hear him offer  a  thought  on  his prognostications when  they  in fact turn  out  to be  horrendously  wrong.  Can  someone  please remind  him  that  Akili Smith is  no  longer in the  NFL ?  A  player  whom he  admired  from afar  and  was  bold enough to suggest  that  Smith  would  become  a  major star  and  a  multiple time  Pro Bowler  in the  league.  None  of  which , ever  came to the  fore . I  wonder why  ?   picture  appears  courtesy  fo  ap/photo/ Gail Burton  ..................
ESPN's college football analyst and NFL Draft guru, Mel Kiper Jr, seen here discussing April's NFL Draft from the cable outlet's facility in Baltimore , Maryland,. Kiper never seems to be at a loss for words when it comes to the world of collegiate or NFL football. He'll put 'it' out there as to his thoughts on NFL draft prospects be they right or wrong. And rarely will you hear him offer a thought on his prognostications when they in fact turn out to be horrendously wrong. Can someone please remind him that Akili Smith is no longer in the NFL ? A player whom he admired from afar and was bold enough to suggest that Smith would become a major star and a multiple time Pro Bowler in the league. None of which , ever came to the fore . I wonder why ? picture appears courtesy fo ap/photo/ Gail Burton ..................

And unfortunately , when the likes of ESPN’s college analyst, Mel Kiper Jr., takes center stage with his college draft board. Much of what he talks about is predicated upon at times, on the very things I’ve just mentioned. Namely of which, a Heisman trophy nominee or recipient will turn out to have an outstanding career in the NFL. Personally, I’d like to believe that the only reason Kiper is in fact in-front of our tv sets, is to remind us bald guys why it is, we prefer our very look. Simply put, Kiper’s coiff’ and that of Donald Trump‘s can be far too disconcerting when either are on tv !

The nominees for this year’s award, are from a diverse set of players. And as appears to be the norm, quarterbacks are again on the verge of stealing the show. The added attraction here, is that we have the 2007 winner in, Tim Tebow , alongside last year’s runner-up , Colt McCoy of the Texas Longhorns. In addition to this duo, we have Mark Ingram, of Alabama, Ndamukong Suh, of Nebraska and finally Stanford’s running back,Toby Gerhart. The presumptive favorites to win the trophy, may well be, Alabama’s, Mark Ingram and Texas’ Colt McCoy. But by all account there’s also growing support for the Cornusker’s, Ndamdukong Suh. The defensive tackle from Nebraska has had, an outstanding season. The ‘dark horse’ amongst the quintet presumably would be the Cardinals’ Gearhart.

Archie Griffin , former Ohio State Buckeye and  a two time  recipient  of the Heisman Trophy   in  1974 and 1975.  The only  two-time  trophy  winner  in  Heisman  history .   picture appears  courtesy  of   buckeyenews - Alexander  Thompson  ..................
Archie Griffin , former Ohio State Buckeye and a two time recipient of the Heisman Trophy in 1974 and 1975. The only two-time trophy winner in Heisman history . picture appears courtesy of buckeyenews - Alexander Thompson ..................

And while this season’s candidates are a diverse bunch and each is warranted with their respective nomination. I think in some respects it’s always better to make the award at the culmination of the collegiate football season. But things being the way that they are and customs being the apparent norm. Saturday, we’ll either see a new face announced as being the Heisman trophy winner. Or we could in fact end up with history being made , as Florida’s Tim Tebow seeks to become only the second player in Heisman trophy history to win the award for a second time. The first person to actually win the trophy twice, was Archie Griffin of the Ohio State Buckeyes. He won the award in consecutive years , first in 1974 and then again, in 1975. A feat historic in its achievement alone. And Griffin’s career in the NFL was nonetheless, was equally as impressive. Albeit, that in the end it was curtailed by injuries.

The Heisman itself, though there’s no clear definition as to exactly what the trophy means. It’s been the long held contention that the award is presented to the ‘best player’ in collegiate football for that given year. Whether or not this is meant to be a fair way of adjudicating a player’s productivity over the course of the year. I for one feel that if it’s not broken then why try to ‘fix it’ ? And seemingly, with the numerous other collegiate awards out there to be won amongst college football. A great deal of the time many players will go unnoticed, merely because they don’t play one of the more high profiled positions within the game. Far too often, as has been the case, it has either been a quarterback, running back or wide receiver, who in the end gets the nod. And this time around it may well be no different. But then again, I may well be wrong. The rarity when it does happen, when a defensive player wins the award, has been few and infrequent. There seems to be a fixation on the offensive prowess of a candidate, if he just happens to be a player on the offensive side of the ball.

Pictures of the Heisman Trophy candidates in no discerning order.

Heisman Trophy candidate and  Nebraska defensive tackle, Ndamukong Suh, speaks to reporters during a news conference in Lincoln, Neb., on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2009. Nebraska plays Texas in the Big 12 championship college football game on Saturday.  picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Nati Harnik  ......
Heisman Trophy candidate and Nebraska defensive tackle, Ndamukong Suh, speaks to reporters during a news conference in Lincoln, Neb., on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2009. Nebraska plays Texas in the Big 12 championship college football game on Saturday. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Nati Harnik ......


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Texas quarterback Colt McCoy (12) celebrates after their NCAA college football game against Texas A&M Thursday, Nov. 26, 2009 in College Station, Texas. Texas beat Texas A&M 49-39. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Dave Einsel .....
Texas quarterback Colt McCoy (12) celebrates after their NCAA college football game against Texas A&M Thursday, Nov. 26, 2009 in College Station, Texas. Texas beat Texas A&M 49-39. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Dave Einsel .....

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Florida quarterback Tim Tebow walks off the field after throwing an interception late in the fourth quarter of their 32-13 loss to Alabama in the NCAA college football SEC championship game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta Saturday, Dec. 5, 2009.   picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/John Bazemore ......
Florida quarterback Tim Tebow walks off the field after throwing an interception late in the fourth quarter of their 32-13 loss to Alabama in the NCAA college football SEC championship game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta Saturday, Dec. 5, 2009. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/John Bazemore ......

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Alabama's Mark Ingram (22) celebrates after a fourth quarter touchdown against Florida in the NCAA college football SEC championship game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta Saturday, Dec. 5, 2009. Alabama won 32-13. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ John Amis ......
Alabama's Mark Ingram (22) celebrates after a fourth quarter touchdown against Florida in the NCAA college football SEC championship game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta Saturday, Dec. 5, 2009. Alabama won 32-13. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ John Amis ......

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Stanford running back Toby Gerhart (7) is surrounded by fans after Stanford defeated Notre Dame 45-38 in their NCAA college football game in Stanford, Calif., Saturday, Nov. 28, 2009. picture appears  courtesy of ap/photo/ Paul Sakuma ......
Stanford running back Toby Gerhart (7) is surrounded by fans after Stanford defeated Notre Dame 45-38 in their NCAA college football game in Stanford, Calif., Saturday, Nov. 28, 2009. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Paul Sakuma ......

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My interest in the award’s ceremony if anything, will be only fleeting at best. I tend to think that the award itself if nothing else will be something for which the recipient can use as evidence as to the body of their work while in college. As to the thought that it’ll play some sort of ‘bargaining chip’ when they embark on a career in the NFL. Well, it’s only adds a precursor as to what not to expect as to their ambitions. It’s as I’ve alluded to earlier, many of the Heisman Trophy recipients have gone on to have productive , if not prolific careers in the NFL. But a great many of them have fallen by the wayside , never to be seen or heard from again. As to what awaits this year’s winner and their future . We can only presume to think what might happen and then watch it all unfold as that winner’s career gets under way in the NFL. What are your thoughts as to the this year’s prospective winner and their impending future in the NFL ? Good , bad or indifferent ?

Recent List of Heisman Trophy winners ….

2008 Sam Bradford Oklahoma
2007 Tim Tebow Florida
2006 Troy Smith Ohio State
2005 Reggie Bush USC
2004 Matt Leinart USC
2003 Jason White Oklahoma
2002 Carson Palmer USC
2001 Eric Crouch Nebraska
2000 Chris Weinke Florida State
1999 Ron Dayne Wisconsin
1998 Ricky Williams Texas
1997 Charles Woodson Michigan

Click here to see a full list of the past winners in its entirety….