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Heisman Trophy Winner 2012: Te'o's Slight Proves Defenders Can't Win Award

Dec 8, 2012; New York, NY, USA; Texas A&M Aggies quarterback Johnny Manziel (left) laughs with Notre Dame Fighting Irish linebacker Manti Te'o during a press conference before the announcement of the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner at the Marriott Marquis in downtown New York City.  Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
USA TODAY Sports
Mike HoagCorrespondent IIDecember 8, 2012

Quarterback Johnny Manziel edged out linebacker Manti Te’o for the 2012 Heisman Trophy by a 2,029 to 1,706 point margin. He collected 474 first-place votes to Te’o’s 321.

In electing to not select the first pure defensive player as the award’s winner, voters spoke loudly. Instead, the collective group picked a freshman as the winner for the first time in the award’s 78-year history.

Manziel certainly had an impressive season, breaking Cam Newton’s mark of 4,600 all-purpose yards when he won the award in 2010.

This isn’t about Manziel, though. He certainly had a great season and played well throughout.

It has to do with the perspectives in place that surround the game as much as it does the end result.

If Te’o wasn’t good enough in voters’ eyes, it’s extremely unlikely another defensive player will come along that can swing voters enough to win the award.

Te’o was the model candidate to break the mold and win the award. He was the leader and central figure on one of the top defenses in the nation. Oh, and by the way, that team—Notre Dame—is also the No. 1-ranked team in the country and competing for the national championship.

It’s unfathomable to understand what type of effort it would take in order to crown a defender as the best player in college football. That much is apparent after this result.

Voters and fans of the game are clearly addicted to flash and offensive touchdowns. Quarterbacks and running backs touch the football and are the focus of every game.

Poor tackling, high-point totals and touchdowns are what sells.

It’s understandable and completely legitimate.

As long as that’s the accepted process, there should be some changes made to the trophy selection process and requirements.

The award committee should stop the façade and label the Heisman Trophy winner what he really is: Offensive MVP.

 

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