Former University of Tennessee star Peyton Manning was robbed of the Heisman Trophy before a national television audience in December of 1997. He wasn't the only victim of a Heisman hold-up, however.
In a piece entitled "Heisman Hindsight," SportsIllustrated.com college football analyst Cory McCartney suggests that nine of the past 20 Heisman Trophies have been awarded to the wrong man – the Peyton Manning
snub in '97 being one of the more memorable mistakes.
The columnist believes Heisman voters got it right 11 times in the past 20 years, including 1993, when Florida State quarterback Charlie Ward outdistanced Vol quarterback Heath Shuler.
Here's what McCartney says about the '93 Heisman balloting:
"Winner: Charlie Ward, Florida State
Who Should Have Won: Ward
The only winner to go on to play in the NBA, Ward led the Seminoles' no-huddle, shotgun "Fast Break" attack. He accounted for 31 touchdowns, including 27 passing, and had 3,536 yards of total offense, averaging 5.2 yards per carry. He beat out Tennessee's Heath Shuler by 1,662 points, the third-biggest margin of victory."
And here's what McCartney has to say about the '97 Heisman vote:
"Winner: Charles Woodson, Michigan
Who Should Have Won: Peyton Manning, Tennessee
Voters may have gotten caught up in Woodson's do-everything exploits at corner, wide receiver and on punt returns. But while he did deliver some spectacular plays, Manning was spectacular the whole season. He passed for 3,819 yards, 36 touchdowns and had just 11 picks. Manning was likely the victim of lofty expectations and voters who were more excited about honoring a defensive player, rather than the most dominant one."
Here are the other eight players McCartney believes were unfairly denied the Heisman Trophy during the past 20 years:
1987: Syracuse QB Don McPherson should've won instead of Notre Dame WR Tim Brown.
1989: Indiana RB Anthony Thompson should've won instead of Houston QB Andre Ware.
1992: San Diego State RB Marshall Faulk should've won instead of Miami QB Gino Torretta.
1994: Penn State RB Ki-Jana Carter should've won instead of Colorado RB Rashann Salaam.
2001: Florida QB Rex Grossman should've won instead of Nebraska QB Eric Crouch.
2003: Pitt WR Larry Fitzgerald should've won instead of Oklahoma QB Jason White.
2004: Oklahoma RB Adrian Peterson should've won instead of Southern Cal QB Matt Leinart.
2005: Texas QB Vince Young should've won instead of Southern Cal RB Reggie Bush.