Take a read over my story from today’s newspaper that deals with the changing landscape of the Heisman Trophy voting.
TUSCALOOSA — The statue with its leather-helmeted player and stiff-arm pose evokes memories of the game as it was.
The Heisman Trophy is timeless — easily the most recognizable symbol of individual success in American sports. But as the bronze embodiment of that achievement remains frozen in time, the process of carrying it home is evolving.
The makeup of the five finalists heading to New York for the Saturday night ceremony shows how much times have changed. And like most transformations these days, technology plays both primary and secondary roles.
Votes have been cast at a secure online site the past three seasons, allowing the more than 900 voters to watch every snap of every game before submitting their choice. No longer is there a fear of the post office losing the envelope before votes are tallied the Monday before the ceremony.
Three of the five finalists played the final Saturday of the season, while Alabama’s Trent Richardson and Stanford’s Andrew Luck sat idle. In the course of a few hours, Wisconsin’s Montee Ball scored four touchdowns, and LSU’s Tyrann Mathieu gashed Georgia’s punt team twice.
Both were fringe contenders before winning conference title games and finalists afterward.
Then there’s current front-runner Robert Griffin III, who set an NCAA FBS record with his 192.31 passer efficiency rating.
His Baylor team (9-3) likely wouldn’t have played in a Big 12 title game if it still existed, but his four-touchdown performance in a regular-season game with Texas vaulted him to the top of most projections.
A week earlier, he trailed Richardson, who led nearly every poll of voters after running for a career-high 203 yards at Auburn.
Kari Chisholm, an Oregon political media analyst who runs StiffArmTrophy.com, said it’s impossible to ignore the impact of the final impression.
“It’s troubling to me that this is basically a player of the week award as opposed to a season-long award.” Chisholm said. “That said, Robert Griffin performed well all season. It’s just interesting to me that Andrew Luck led the entire season, then lost in the end.”
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