Created on: February 27, 2013
As the college football season concludes each year, a number of team=related goals are within reach for the NCAA Division I squads. Many will have the opportunity to extend their season, via qualifying for a postseason bowl game. Eight teams are also selected for a more lucrative honor, that being the chance to play in a BCS Bowl game. The two best teams in the land advance to the BCS Championship Game, which crowns the National Champion for a given year. There are, however, numerous individual awards that are also given out.
Though almost every position on the football field has an award for its best player, perhaps no award is more coveted by college football players than the Heisman Trophy. Each college football season, the award is presented to the most outstanding college football player for that particular year. The award was first given out in 1935, when University of Chicago running back Jay Berwanger was the initial honoree. Since then, the trophy has been presented on 78 different occasions.
Some may not realize that the Heisman Trophy was not always named that. In 1935, the award that was presented to Berwanger was named the DAC Award, which was short for the Downtown Athletic Club. It was the DAC which came up with the idea for an award to recognize the best player in college football each season. It only carried that DAC name for one season though, as the death of legendary college football figure John W. Heisman led the club to rename the award in his honor. According to the Heisman Trophy website, the award weighs about 45 pounds, though other sites claim that it is 25 pounds, still making it one of the heavier trophies in existence.
In the 78 years of its presentation, only one man has won the award twice, that being Ohio State running back Archie Griffin back in the 1970s. There is an interesting story behind how the trophy got its design. The folks at the Downtown Athletic Club decided that they wanted to break from the usual cup or bowls that were traditionally given out back during that time. The club came up with the idea of wanting the figure of a football player, driving for yardage like runners of that day.
It led the DAC to enlist the services of Frank Eliscu, who was a well-known sculptor back in that time. He did not just create the figure from his mind or a picture. He found a top player from the New York University team, Ed Smith and used him as a model for the trophy. He created a clay model of what he thought the award should look like, and then took it to Fordham University to have it checked by famed Four Horseman figure Jim Crowley to verify the pose. After making a few tweaks, the award was ready to be made into a plaster cast.
Before it was set to bronze, the award got one more test, when it was shown to the Notre Dame football team. They gave their rousing approval, and the award was bronzed and awarded for the first time. In its history, athletes from three schools have taken home the honor on seven occasions, the most out of all universities. Notre Dame, The University of Southern California, and Ohio State hold that distinction. Five winners have gone on to Hall of Fame pro careers (Roger Staubach, Marcus Allen, Barry Sanders, Tony Dorsett, and Doak Walker) while only once has the award been taken away, or vacated (2005 - Reggie Bush).
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