College football’s Heisman trophy will be awarded this weekend. As CNBC’s Darren Rovell reported on “Squawk Box” this morning, gridiron greats get more than an iconic statue when they win the prize. With a Heisman comes paid-for autographs and speeches and membership in the exclusive Heisman Winners Association. The HWA aggregates the rights of more than 50 former winners.
Eric Lindberg of the HWA summed up the importance of winning a Heisman: “You align your name as an athlete with that award, with the history and lineage behind it, is a tremendous honor. And from a marketability standpoint, whether you have a successful professional career doesn’t really matter. You are now a member of the most elite fraternity of all of sports.”
This year’s expected winner is Ohio State’s Troy Smith – but there are no guarantees. There are whispers that Notre Dame’s Brady Quinn could come away with a surprise win.
But not all Heisman winners have spectacular times in the NFL. Heisman winners like Tony Dorsett (1976) and Earl Campbell (1977) had good careers. But Mike Rozier (1983), who ran for more than 1,000 yards just once in seven NFL seasons--did not. There's also two-time Heisman winner Archie Griffin (1974-75), who never topped 700 yards rushing in the pros.
And don't forget 2003's Jason White--who now works for a securities firm in Oklahoma City just two years after being voted the best college football player in the nation.