Make some room for a new member of a super-elite triple crown club, Cam Newton. Joe Burrow is moving in.
In 2011, Newton became the first player in football history to win a Heisman Trophy, win the national championship, and then immediately go on to be the No. 1 overall pick of the NFL Draft in sequence. The former Auburn quarterback took the Tigers on a magical run to the SEC title and a BCS national championship while taking home Auburn’s third Heisman Trophy in program history. The Carolina Panthers kept the story rolling a few months later by taking Newton with the first overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, making him the franchise quarterback for (nearly) the next decade.
While there have been a couple of Heisman Trophy winners since Newton to be chosen with the top overall pick (Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray, both of Oklahoma), and a few others have obviously been drafted elsewhere, Newton remained in a club all to himself. Until now.
LSU’s Joe Burrow was selected with the top overall pick of the 2020 NFL Draft on Thursday night by the Cincinnati Bengals. This is just the latest chapter of Burrow’s remarkable story. Like Newton, Burrow went on a historic run with LSU last season to run away with the 2019 Heisman Trophy en route to an SEC title and, later, a College Football Playoff national championship.
As if the SEC needed anything else to brag about when it comes to the NFL draft. Now the conference has been home to the only two players to pull off this triple crown of football achievement.
NOTE: Florida State fans have been vocal in reminding me about Jameis Winston. Winston did win the Heisman Trophy and a national championship before later going on to be the No. 1 overall pick, but he played one more year of college football before turning pro after winning the Heisman and the national championship. The headline has been adjusted to attempt making this a bit more accurate. Apologies from the writer to Florida State fans. And Winston.
Former LSU quarterback Joe Burrow has helped to make some NFL draft history. By being named the No. 1 overall pick of the 2020 NFL Draft by the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday night, Burrow was the third consecutive Heisman Trophy winner to go No. 1 overall in the following draft. This is the first time in draft and Heisman Trophy history that the No. 1 overall draft pick won the Heisman Trophy the previous season.
Burrow was chosen with the top overall pick one year after 2018 Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray of Oklahoma was selected with the top pick in the 2019 NFL Draft by the Arizona Cardinals. The previous year, in 2018, Baker Mayfield of Oklahoma was selected with the first overall pick by the Cleveland Browns. Mayfield took home the Heisman Trophy in 2017.
Burrow is the 23rd Heisman Trophy player to go No. 1 overall in the NFL draft. Another LSU icon, Billy Cannon, pulled off the accomplishment in 1960 after winning the Heisman Trophy in 1959. The only other schools to have multiple Heisman Trophy winners that were chosen first overall in the draft are Oklahoma (4), Notre Dame (3), USC (2), and Auburn (2).
Heisman Trophy Winners Drafted No. 1 Overall in NFL Draft
- 1935 – Jay Berwanger – Chicago (Philadelphia Eagles)
- 1940 – Tom Harmon – Michigan (Chicago Bears)
- 1942 – Frank Sinkwich – Georgia (Detroit Lions)
- 1943 – Angelo Bertelli – Notre Dame (Boston Yanks)
- 1949 – Leon Hart – Notre Dame (Detroit Lions)
- 1956 – Paul Hornung – Notre Dame (Green Bay Packers)
- 1959 – Billy Cannon – LSU (Los Angeles Rams)
- 1961 – Ernie Davis – Syracuse (Washington Redskins)
- 1962 – Terry Baker – Oregon State (Los Angeles Rams)
- 1969 – O.J. Simpson – USC (Buffalo Bills)
- 1970 – Jim Plunkett – Stanford (New England Patriots)
- 1977 – Earl Campbell – Texas (Houston Oilers)
- 1978 – Billy Sims – Oklahoma (Detroit Lions)
- 1980 – George Rogers – South Carolina (New Orleans Saints)
- 1985 – Bo Jackson – Auburn (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
- 1986 – Vinnie Testaverde – Miami (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
- 2002 – Carson Palmer – USC (Cincinnati Bengals)
- 2008 – Sam Bradford – Oklahoma (St. Louis Rams)
- 2010 – Cam Newton – Auburn (Carolina Panthers)
- 2013 – Jameis Winston – Florida State (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
- 2017 – Baker Mayfield – Oklahoma (Cleveland Browns)
- 2018 – Kyler Murray — Oklahoma (Arizona Cardinals)
- 2019 – Joe Burrow, LSU (Cincinnati Bengals)
Murray and Mayfield completed a pretty rare feat as the top picks of the draft in back-to-back years. The 2018 and 2019 drafts marked the first time the top overall picks in consecutive seasons had come out of the same school since 1968 and 1969. USC’s Ron Yary and O.J. Simpson went No.1 overall in those years, respectively.
So, the pressure is on for whoever ends up winning the 2020 Heisman Trophy. The bar has certainly been raised.
Have you ever noticed a similarity between Florida State quarterback Deondre Francois and Carolina Panthers quarterback (and former Auburn Heisman Trophy winner) Cam Newton? Some Twitter users did last night and shared screenshots from Florida State’s game against Alabama to share with the masses for confirmation.
This tweet in particular caught the eye of someone at the social media team with the NFL’s Panthers, and a response was issued.
Well, that is quite something. Are the Panthers having some innocent fun, or was someone behind the Panthers’ Twitter account jabbing Florida State a bit when they were down. Not only did Florida State lose the game, but Francois was taken out of the game and later seen in an air cast on his leg with what appeared to be a serious leg injury. But one can only wonder if the Twitter user behind the Panthers account
has a rooting bias against Florida State, or perhaps Alabama. Or maybe it was an innocent joke just to pump up the franchise’s own quarterback?
The world may never know.
The Denver Broncos won the Super Bowl on Sunday, which means tight end Jeff Heuerman is now the answer to a fun little trivia question for years to come. Heuerman became the first football player to win both a College Football Playoff national championship and a Super Bowl.
Heuerman was a senior tight end for Ohio State in the 2014 season, catching 207 yards and two touchdowns for the Buckeyes, who captured the first College Football Playoff national championship under the new postseason championship structure. He went on to be a third-round draft pick of the Broncos in the 2015 NFL Draft, but he tore his ACL in Denver’s rookie camp in May 2015. He was subsequently ruled out for the entire 2015 season, so his place in history comes with a tiny caveat. But he still will get a Super Bowl ring to go with his national championship ring from a year ago.
The search will go on now for the first player to both play in and win a College Football Playoff national championship and a Super Bowl. Former Auburn quarterback Cam Newton was unable to make his own history with a Super Bowl win, but he may get another crack at that again before his career is done.
Helmet sticker to Reddit.
On the eve of the Super Bowl, Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton was named the Most Valuable Player of the National Football League. He is the first Heisman Trophy winner to win the NFL’s MVP award since Detroit Lions running back and former Oklahoma State star Barry Sanders was named the best player in the NFL in 1997. Sanders shared the MVP honors that season with Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre, which means Newton is the first Heisman Trophy winner to be the outright winner of the NFL’s MVP award since 1985, when Los Angeles Raiders running back Marcus Allen won the award (Allen was a Heisman Trophy running back for USC in 1981.
Newton becomes the first quarterback to win the top honor at the college and NFL level and joins a short list by becoming the sixth player to receive both awards. Newton was a Heisman Trophy quarterback for Auburn during the 2010 season, in which he fueled a BCS Championship Run. Newton now can become the first player in football history to win the Heisman Trophy, a college national championship, NFL MVP and a Super Bowl. To do that, Newton will have to lead the Panthers past the Denver Broncos and Peyton Manning, who is perhaps one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time but was passed over for a Heisman Trophy by Michigan’s Charles Woodson in 1997 (Manning finished second in the voting that season).
It is somewhat amazing to think that grand slam of football has never been achieved once since the NFL MVP award was first awarded by the Associated Press in 1957, but it also goes to show that sometimes the best players in college and the NFL do not always achieve the top-level of championship success.
Players to win Heisman Trophy and NFL MVP
- RB Paul Hornung
- RB O.J. Simpson
- RB Earl Campbell
- RB Marcus Allen
- RB Barry Sanders
- QB Cam Newton