Thirteen years after Oregon incorrectly identified quarterback Joey Harrington as “Joey Heisman” on a gigantic billboard in the middle of Times Square, the school finally received the recognition it so sorely craved long ago.
The Ducks’ current quarterback, Marcus Mariota, became the runaway winner for the 2014 Heisman Memorial Trophy.
For weeks leading up to the presentation of the award by the Downtown Athletic Club at the Best Buy Theater in New York City, the question wasn’t whether or not Mariota would claim the hardware. His coronation was inevitable. Would it be a landslide victory, though?
Marcus Mariota 788 first-place votes. Melvin Gordon 37. Amari Cooper 49.
— Joe Schad (@schadjoe) December 14, 2014
Mariota won with 95.16 percent of the votes.
— kbohls (@kbohls) December 14, 2014
Voters answered that question with the highest percentage of votes in Heisman Trophy history. And the Oregon product deserved to win in such a fashion. Mariota has been as good this season as any quarterback to win the Heisman Trophy since 2000.
The quarterback posted absurd numbers during his junior campaign. Mariota completed 68.3 percent of his passes for 3,783 yards, 38 touchdowns and a minuscule two interceptions. He also led the nation in passing efficiency (186.3) and yards per pass (10.17). The dual-threat signal-caller even ran for 669 yards and 14 more touchdowns.
Along the way, Mariota shattered Oregon records and became the Pac-12 Conference’s all-time leader in touchdowns account for.
Mariota’s victory isn’t simply important for Oregon football. It’s a major step in the right direction for an entire region.
The Pacific Northwest hasn’t had a Heisman Trophy winner since Oregon State’s Terry Baker took the trophy in 1962
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) December 13, 2014
Ten previous Heisman Trophy winners played for west coast schools. Seven of those came from USC. A Heisman Trophy in Eugene takes Oregon’s program to another level. And Mariota is the first player from the Hawaiian Islands to be honored.
Oregon should consider honoring Mariota in the same way the school once prematurely anointed Harrington: