Norm Chow, Pete Carroll, some amazing weapons on offense and maybe even his fiancée helped propel Carson toward this award. However, as I sat in the press room of the Yale Club and looked at him twenty floors below me while he stood at the podium accepting the award, I was happy to see that the moment was his and he handled it perfectly.
Like the greatest singer-songwriter to ever live Bob Dylan described, "there's people up above and people down below and if someone disappears you never even know."
New York City is a monster. It intimidated and frightened me all the way through three bottles of Johnny Walker black label scotch. Enough about my issues on trips, let's talk about Carson Palmer. Carson completed a regular season to remember by unthinkably becoming USC's fifth Heisman Trophy winner. Carson's story is probably the best Heisman story that any of us can remember. Shunned by his football program to the back page of the media guide and basically forgotten about in discussions of the elite quarterbacks in college football, Carson made a miracle turnaround and deserves every bit of every accolade that he receives.
Needless to say, the university will forever be grateful and indebted to Carson. A lot of times when things get tough for talented people you don't see them recover. Carson did more than recover, he made college football history. He has earned the country's respect by coming on and grabbing sport's most prestigious award so make room in Heritage Hall and get ready to retire #3 (sorry Keyshawn). When you talk about former USC football players or ask them about the guys they played with they will associate the era with a name such as Mike Garrett, O.J. Simpson, Charles White or Marcus Allen. That is pretty much the way we've divided our past. You look at a guy like Paul McDonald, he was an All-American but people look at him and say that's the guy who played with Charlie White. Now a new batch of players, including myself, can say "I played with Carson Palmer, Heisman Trophy winner". Of course Norm Chow, Pete Carroll, some amazing weapons on offense and maybe even his fiancée helped propel Carson toward this award. However, as I sat in the press room of the Yale Club and looked at him twenty floors below me while he stood at the podium accepting the award, I was happy to see that the moment was his and he handled it perfectly.
Who among us could have guessed that Carson would have such a year? It's been a great thing and he will forever be remembered in Trojan lore. A lot of guys go on to have great pro careers but you don't remember where they went to college, like Rod Woodson…where did he go to school? You know what I mean? With Carson he won the Heisman Trophy and will forever be linked with the university. After winning the award I ran into Carson at the press conference. After giving him a hug and offering congratulations to his family I noticed a kind of vacant look in his eyes. It was a look of disbelief, very genuine. You could see how grateful he was to the people around him. I ran into him later that night in New York when he was out with his family and fiancée to celebrate. I spent about an hour with them and by that time you could tell it had sunk in a little and all he wanted to do was call the guys on the team and share it with them.
It was a great weekend and I hope everybody has a happy holiday. I'll check in again before I head down to Miami for the bowl game. Peace and Fight On. Petros.