Let me preface this by saying that this has nothing to do with wanting Charles Woodson to stay as the only primarily defensive player to ever win the Heisman. I thought that Ndamukong Suh deserved the Heisman when he was up for it in 2009, and it is only a matter of time until a defensive player wins it. However, it does have everything to do with the Notre Dame bias in the media.
I don’t doubt that Manti is a great guy and that he is a leader on and off-the-field. I know he has had a troubling year, and I wouldn’t wish what happened to him on anyone. But you have to ask yourself, if Manti played on a team that wasn’t undefeated, and it wasn’t Notre Dame, would he even be in the discussion for it? Absolutely not. His statistics aren’t anything special, except for the 7 interceptions that he has had. Think of this, if Texas A&M was undefeated and Manziel’s stats were the same, he would have been the only person invited to the ceremony in New York.
People want to bring up the fact that he is on an undefeated team, but this isn’t a team award. This is not for the best player on the best team. This award is for the best player in the country. Period. This is why RG3 won it last year with only a 10-3 record.
If you’re going to include record and quality of team into the equation, then why didn’t OSU QB Braxton Miller (58.3% completion, 2,039 passing yards, 15 TDs, 6 INTs, 1,271 rushing yards, 13 TDs) get invited to the Heisman ceremony? Or perhaps OSU LB Ryan Shazier (115 tackles, 17 lost, 5 sacks, 1 INT, 12 pass deflections, 3 fumble recoveries, 1 TD). I’m not trying to knock Manti, I’m just sick of Notre Dame getting special treatment and having their players shoved into the spotlight strictly because of the University they play for. This is the first time that Notre Dame has been relevant on a National Stage in 20 years.
Te’o has already won six postseason awards, making him the most decorated college football player in one single season. Congrats to him. But would he have gotten all of these if he had not been playing for Notre Dame? He certainly would have gotten most of them, but I don’t think he would have touched the player of the year trophies.
Let’s do a little stat comparison: Player A) 96 tackles, 7.5 for loss, 7 INT, 3 sacks, 3 fumble recoveries, 1 TD. Player B) 104 tackles, 5.5 for loss, 7 INT, 1.5 sacks, 1 fumble recovery, 0 TDs. Which one is more Heisman worthy based on these statistics?
There’s no right answer to this question, of course, in most people’s eyes, but for my money, I’d argue that there is really no difference between the two. I’d probably give the nod to Player A if I had to choose. In case you wondered, Player B was Manti Te’o. Who is Player A? That’s Tony Taylor. This is where you say, “WHO?!?” He played for a 9-4 Georgia Bulldogs team in 2006. Was he up for the Heisman? Nope, not even close. His most prestigious honor was finishing SECOND TEAM ALL-SEC. He wasn’t even on the first team of his conference. No national awards. Nothing. If you try to tell me there isn’t a media-slant towards Notre Dame, even after reading this, I will laugh in your face.
If Ndamukong Suh had played for Notre Dame, he would have destroyed the Heisman race; but instead he only came in fourth. His team finished 10-4 and played in the Big 12 championship game but lost. His stats, you ask? 82 tackles, 50 solo; 23 tackles for loss; 12 sacks; one interception; 10 passes broken up; 24 quarterback hurries; one forced fumble; three blocked kicks. For a defensive tackle that is utterly disgusting; he was an unstoppable force and should have run away with the trophy.
I will concede that Manti’s team did well this year, and that’s good for them. But as I stated previously, the Heisman is not for the best player on the best team. It is for the most outstanding player in college football; and that would be Johnny Manziel.
After redshirting last year, and playing mostly scout team receiver, Johnny Football took over at quarterback for Texas A&M under Kevin Sumlin’s regime. While he lost a few close games, he had a stellar win at Alabama. People will knock Manziel for his performance against Florida and LSU, both of whom are statistically Top 10 defenses, but how would you expect him to succeed? His first game was supposed to be against Louisiana Tech but that game had to be postponed. His first game of his college football career was against Florida. Of course he was going to freaking struggle, are you joking?
Sure, Manziel “only” had 536 total yards, 3 interceptions and 1 rushing TD in those two games, but as far as I know there weren’t many quarterbacks that fared better than he did in his first few games in the SEC. Florida was 1st in passing efficiency defense and LSU was 9th. Then I enjoy the bias that people show by not bringing up his performance against Alabama. He only beat the best defense in the country on the road. His stats? 345 yards of total offense and 3 passing touchdowns, no interceptions. Plus this:
Manziel finished the year with a 68.3% completion percentage, 3419 yards passing, 24 passing TDs, 8 interceptions, along with 1,181 yards rushing and 19 TDs. These numbers were enough to break Cam Newton’s record for total yards in a single season (Newton broke Tebow’s record), and Manziel still has another game left to play. The way I see it, is how many more games would Texas A&M or Notre Dame lost without their respective players? The way I see it, Notre Dame is 8-4 without Manti at worst. Texas A&M on the other hand, probably goes 5-7 at best. Which means Manti is worth only 4 more wins for Notre Dame in my mind, while Manziel’s play makes him worth at least 5 more wins and gives him my Heisman vote.
Some people like Sports Illustrated writer Thayer Evans, who somehow got a vote, which is absolute garbage, will say that Manziel shouldn’t get it because of character issues. Thayer, the hypocritical donkey, says that he doesn’t consider players with pending legal issues. Manziel only has legal issues because he tried to break up a bar fight and was caught with a fake ID. Yet, Mr. Evans felt so inclined to vote Tyrann Mathieu second for the Heisman last year, despite the fact he was suspended for smoking pot, during the season. It’s okay Thayer, just say you didn’t include Manziel because you’re trying to take as many points away from him as possible to get Manti the Heisman. Fucking joke. How do ass holes like this get the right to vote for the Heisman?
If you’re still not convinced, check out Pat Forde’s reasoning here. The most important part is when he compares their value to one another, and I think his article was flawless. I had to insert some of it here, so thank you Pat for the wisdom.
I considered defensive turnovers forced to be the rough equivalent of offensive touchdowns scored. But since there are still more offensive touchdowns than turnovers forced, I broke it down to a percentage. Which player produced a higher percentage of his team’s turnovers/touchdowns?
Te’o has seven interceptions and a fumble return this season. That’s eight of Notre Dame’s 23 takeaways, and that’s a remarkable number. His percentage of Irish takeaways is .348.
Manziel has thrown for 24 touchdowns and run for 19. Texas A&M has scored 72 touchdowns. His percentage of the Aggies’ TDs is .597. That’s an even more remarkable number.
Still, I wanted to make sure Manziel didn’t just run up numbers against the three non-conference lightweights on the A&M schedule: SMU, South Carolina State and Sam Houston State. He had a hand in 16 of the Aggies’ 23 touchdowns in those games (.696). But if you subtract those numbers from the season totals, Manziel still was a part of more than half of A&M’s touchdowns (.551).
That’s a pretty strong advantage for Johnny Football.
He also produced 4,600 of the Aggies’ 6,628 yards of total offense (69.4 percent). And while it is easy to say that a quarterback is naturally in position to have a greater impact on a game than a linebacker, it’s hard to have an impact as great as Manziel’s. His 584 plays (running and passing) averages out to 49 per game – a huge load on one player’s shoulders.
If you’re still not convinced, then you just don’t understand football and that’s fine, not everyone does. Or perhaps you’re just a bias Notre Dame fan who refuses to do anything but love Notre Dame and all of their players. Some people think that the award is already in Johnny’s hands, but who knows.
What it comes down to tonight is which the voters hate more; giving the Heisman to freshman or giving it to a player that only plays defense. Quite honestly, both streaks should have been broken a while ago, but one of them will be broken tonight. Hopefully people realize that your off-the-field accomplishments and your team’s accomplishments, shouldn’t carry more weight than individual accomplishments for this INDIVIDUAL award.
Here’s my Heisman ballot:
1. Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
2. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State
3. Marqise Lee, WR, USC
4. Braxton Miller, QB, OSU
5. Manti Te’o, LB, Notre Dame