O.J. Simpson

AP Photo/Butch Dill

Cam Newton is first Heisman Trophy winner to win NFL MVP since Barry Sanders

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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

Derrick Henry joins an even more exclusive fraternity with Heisman Trophy win

Kelly Kline/Heisman Trust via AP
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When Alabama running back Derrick Henry was named the winner of the 2015 Heisman Trophy Saturday night in New York City, the Crimson Tide star joined the exclusive fraternity of Heisman Trophy winners. This is often referred to as the most exclusive fraternity in sports, as only one player per year is inducted into the club every season since 1935. But Henry joined an even more exclusive club in college football history with his Heisman Trophy win by becoming the 22nd player to win each of the three major individual awards in college football; the Heisman Trophy, Maxwell Award and Walter Camp Player of the Year.

USC’s O.J. Simpson was the first player to win all three major awards in the same season, doing so in 1968. Simpson actually prevented UCLA’s Gary Beban from being the first triple crown award winner in college football when he was named the inaugural Walter Camp Award winner in 1967. Beban won the Heisman Trophy and the Maxwell Award that season. Stanford’s Jim Plunkett became the second player to sweep the three individual honors in 1970, and Penn State’s John Cappelletti swept the awards in 1973.

Henry is the fourth player from the SEC to win all three major awards, joining Georgia’s Herschel Walker, Florida’s Danny Wuerffel and Auburn’s Cam Newton. Henry is also the first running back to pull off the feat since Wisconsin’s Ron Dayne took all three honors in 1999. Ricky Williams of Texas did it the previous season in 1998 as well. Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota won all three individual awards last season as well. Alabama’s A.J. McCarron prevented Florida State’s Jameis Winston from winning all three awards by being named the Maxwell Award winner in 2013. Alabama’s last Heisman Trophy winner before Henry, Mark Ingram in 2009, actually prevented Texas quarterback Colt McCoy from pulling off the triple award feat. McCoy won the Maxwell Award and Walter Camp Player of the Year awards in that 2009 season.

Players to win Heisman Trophy, Maxwell Award and Walter Camp Player of the Year in Same Season

  • O.J. Simpson, USC (1968)
  • Jim Plunkett, Stanford (1970)
  • John Cappelletti, Penn State (1973)
  • Archie Griffin, Ohio State (1975)
  • Tony Dorsett, Pittsburgh (1976)
  • Charles White, USC (1979)
  • Marcus Allen, USC (1981)
  • Herschel Walker, Georgia (1982)
  • Mike Rozier, Nebraska (1983)
  • Doug Flutie, Boston College (1984)
  • Vinny Testaverde, Miami (1986)
  • Barry Sanders, Oklahoma State (1988)
  • Desmond Howard, Michigan (1991)
  • Gino Torretta, Miami (1992)
  • Charlie Ward, Florida State (1993)
  • Eddie Georgia, Ohio State (1995)
  • Danny Wuerffel, Florida (1996)
  • Ricky Williams, Texas (1998)
  • Ron Dayne, Wisconsin (1999)
  • Cam Newton, Auburn (2010)
  • Marcus Mariota, Oregon (2014)
  • Derrick Henry, Alabama (2015)

Report: USC’s O.J. Simpson Heisman Trophy was once buried in someone’s back yard

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USC recently recovered the stolen copy of O.J. Simpson‘s Heisman Trophy following a 20-year search. It turn out the trophy has been buried underground and traveling the streets with a homeless man, and was once traded in exchange for a Honda and $500.

TMZ interviewed a man they believe to have been the one that was most recently holding on to USC’s copy of Simpson’s Heisman Trophy, although this man was not the one that could have pulled off the heist. He was in jail at the time of the theft. The anonymous man did admit to coming into possession of the trophy by trading a burgundy Honda Accord and $500 from a man that had the trophy buried in his backyard.

Per the report from TMZ, after acquiring the Heisman Trophy in the exchange (I guess we now know the going rate for a Heisman Trophy on the streets), the man later was left to live on the streets after being forced to lose all he had owned, but he kept hold of the trophy everywhere he went.

Coincidentally enough, just as Los Angeles police acquired a warrant, the man decided to turn the trophy over to authorities.

The investigation to find the original thief or thieves is ongoing.

Big Ten and Pac-12 clash for national title for first time since 1969 Rose Bowl

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On Monday night, Oregon and Ohio State will play in the first College Football Playoff National Championship Game in Arlington, Texas. It will be the first time since the 1968 season a team from the Big Ten and the Pac-12 (or the Pac-8 in this case) battled for college football’s top honor.

Somehow, the Big Ten and Pac-10/Pac-12 missed each other during the BCS Era. The Big Ten and Pac-10 combined for six BCS championship game appearances (SEC fans laugh at that stat, probably), including a string of four straight years at one point, but the two never overlapped on the biggest of stages. Until now.

In 1968, the Rose Bowl just happened to have a dream match-up in Pasadena with No. 1 Ohio State representing the Big Ten against No. 2 USC from the Pac-8. Woody Hayes and his Buckeyes pulled away with Ohio State quarterback Rex Kern winning game MVP honors following the 27-16 victory over John McKay and his Trojans, with 1968 Heisman Trophy winner O.J. Simpson (that Heisman Trophy was just recovered following a 20-year search).

The 1969 Rose Bowl between Ohio State and USC was the second Rose Bowl to be played between top two teams. No. 1 USC defeated No. 2 Wisconsin in the 1963 Rose Bowl in the other. The 1980 Rose Bowl featured No. 1 Ohio State losing to No. 3 USC, which gave Alabama the national title as a result. USC also claimed the national title after defeating No. 3 Ohio State in the 1973 Rose Bowl, with the Trojans ranked No. 1 going in. So championships have been on the line, but very rarely were they the definitive national championship game between the two power conferences.

There have also been other seasons in which one of the top two teams in the country played in the Rose Bowl Game with a hope to win a share of the national championship. USC laid claim to a split of the 2003 season’s national title with a win over Michigan in the 2004 Rose Bowl. Michigan earned a share of the 1997 national championship, but Penn State was left with nothing to show for a 12-0 season ending with a victory in Pasadena against Oregon in the 1995 Rose Bowl.

Still, considering the traditional strength of each conference, it is amazing to think it has taken this long for both conferences to be represented in a no-questions-asked national championship game.

Maybe it will be worth the wait.

LAPD recover O.J. Simpson’s stolen Heisman Trophy after 20-year search

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It was about 20 years ago when USC reported the school’s copy of the 1968 Heisman Trophy, awarded to former running back O.J. Simpson, had gone missing. It took a while, but the search for the real thief has finally led to the recovery of the trophy by Los Angeles police.

The Los Angeles Times reports USC’s copy of the Heisman Trophy was reported stolen in July 1994, and was finally recovered in December 2014. The announcement confirming the recovery was made Tuesday, but no further details about the crime were made available by LAPD due to the investigation still ongoing. A warrant to review phone records of a person believed to be connected to the theft 20 years ago was received by the LAPD’s art theft unit.

USC had its copy of Simpson’s 1968 Heisman Trophy on display in Heritage Hall, but removed it once he was arrested in connection to the murder of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman. Simpson was found not guilty of the murders, but a life of court battles later led Simpson to sell off his property to pay for court costs and a civil suit. Among the items believed to have been sold off by Simpson included his Heisman Trophy.

At some point, USC put its trophy and Simpson’s uniform back on display in Heritage Hall, but they did not stay there for long. At the time, police reported two suspects broke into the room with the trophy and uniform on display and unscrewed the display cases before making off with the trophy and jersey. For years, police were never able to make much progress on the case. Until recently.

Simpson is currently serving time in a medium-security prison in Nevada for a dozen counts including robbery and kidnapping assault with a deadly weapon.