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HeIsManti or Johnny Football: An incredibly biased opinion

Nov 28, 2012, 6:01 PM EDT

Manti Te'o, Stephon Tuitt

Having a blog that covers Notre Dame football stump for an Irish player’s Heisman candidacy is pretty transparent. And lame. So I’ll spare you some of the usual rhetoric that comes with this type of column. Do I think Manti Te’o should win the Heisman Trophy? Yes. Do I think he deserves it? Yes. Do I have much to support this argument? Not really.

All that being said, let’s do this anyway. Just because it’s that time of year, and we should at least have this play out for a bit.

As of yesterday, The Heisman Straw Poll had Johnny Manziel with a significant lead over Manti Te’o, in essentially a two-horse race. The redshirt freshman quarterback, who has been branded perfectly with the “Johnny Football” moniker has lost two games, but owns the upset of the year with his victory over Alabama. Besides a highlight reel that includes some terrific sandlot skills, Manziel is also putting up stats that compare favorably to Tim Tebow, Sam Bradford, Cam Newton, and Robert Griffin III (or at least so says a Texas A&M blog). Add to that the 30,000 watt megaphone that is the SEC and a cool Techmo Bowl themed viral video, and I can’t say I blame anybody if Manziel is holding college football’s most prestigious award.

Manziel seems to have captured the hearts and minds of many voters already. And while I’m basically the old man on the front porch in this scenario, here are a few things that I can’t seem to shake.


1. Manziel’s game against LSU was historically bad.

Sure, Manziel gets credit for beating Alabama, and rightfully so. But he should get equal blame for his game against LSU. Here’s a quick look at his numbers: 29 of 56 for 276 yards. 0 TD, 3 INT. 17 rushes for 27 yards. That’s one butt-ugly stat line, and might be the most historically terrible game any Heisman winner played in their crowning season. Let’s go back over the last ten years and look at the quarterbacks who won the trophy.

Heisman winning QBs worst regular season games
Carson Palmer, 2002: 18 of 46 for 186 yards. 1 TD, 0 INT (27-20 loss to Kansas St.)
Jason White, 2003: 27 of 50 for 298 yards. 0 TD, 2 INT (35-7 loss to Kansas St.)
Matt Leinart, 2004: 24 of 43 for 217 yards. 2 TD, 1 INT (38-0 victory over Washington)
Troy Smith, 2006: 12 of 22 for 115 yards. 1 TD, 2 INT (28-6 victory over Penn State)
Tim Tebow, 2007: 12 of 26 for 158 yards. 2 TD, 1 INT. 16 carries for 67 yards, 1 TD (28-24 L to LSU)
Sam Bradford, 2008: 13 of 32 for 255 yards. 3 TD, 0 INT. (58-25 victory over Kansas St.)
Cam Newton, 2010: 10 of 16 for 86 yards. 28 carries for 217 yards, 2 TD. (24-17 victory over LSU)
Robert Griffin III, 2011: 33 of 50 for 425 yards. 1 TD, 2 INT. (59-24 loss to Oklahoma State)

Stack Manziel’s afternoon against LSU up — one of his two losses — and it’s not even close. That’s the worst game that any Heisman quarterback of the last decade has played, with Jason White’s defeat in the Big 12 championship game — a game where many votes had already been cast — a distant second.

What’s the linebacker equivalent of that stat line? His defense giving up 50 points and getting run on for 300 yards?

2. How great are Manziel’s stats when adjusted for the system and the era?

Guys like Kenjon Barner and De’Anthony Thomas are penalized for being largely system players. Barner has 1,856 yards from scrimmage and sat on the sideline for most fourth quarters. Thomas is one of the game’s most electric all-purpose players. But because they’re playing in Chip Kelly’s offensive juggernaut, they’re largely relegated to the gimmick status.

Consider Manziel and the system he’s in. Just as Gus Malzahn was able to show, Kevin Sumlin has reminded SEC purists that up-tempo, spread, aerial attacks work in big-boy leagues, too. But compare Manziel’s numbers to the ones that Case Keenum put up at Houston, and you start to notice that maybe Manziel isn’t all that trenscendent, but merely a whole lot of fun to watch as a scrambler.

Manziel’s 24 touchdown passes? They’re exactly half of the total Case Keenum put up in 2011, when he finished 7th in Heisman voting, even though he threw for 5,631 yards and 48 touchdowns at Houston. Manziel’s numbers in a Sumlin-run offense pale in comparison to any of Keenum’s seasons, and really match up closer to David Piland’s, Keenum’s understudy, who threw for 24 touchdowns after Keenum was injured in 2010.

There doesn’t seem to be much mention of system when you look at Manziel, but he’s essentially the prototype system quarterback. While the legend of Johnny Football will sell a truckload of t-shirts in College Station, don’t expect the NFL to beat the door down for a wispy quarterback that’s six-foot tall on his tip-toes with arm strength even Tommy Rees would chuckle at.

3. Trout vs. Cabrera? That might not have anything on Johnny Football vs. HeIsManti.

The internet was up in arms over the American League MVP race this fall, when Detroit Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera hit for the Triple Crown, but was thought by many new-school baseball minds to have put up the inferior season when compared to Anaheim Angels centerfielder Mike Trout. While Cabrera won traditionalists over with the first Triple Crown in 45 years — leading the league in home runs, batting, average, and runs-batted-in — his old-school statistical dominance wasn’t as impressive as the impact the Angels rookie had on his team.

Comparing Te’o and Manziel give you some of the same dilemmas. In Te’o, the Heisman voters would have to break a number of molds if they were to crown him this year’s winner. Even Charles Woodson, the only other defensive player to win the award, moonlighted as a receiver and impacted the game as a return man. Yet Te’o is a linebacker, plain and simple. While he had more interceptions than any cornerback in the country, he spends his time in the trenches, just as likely to take on a guard than drop into coverage.

From an old-school/new-school perspective, Te’o and Manziel also strike an interesting fit. In many ways, Te’o should be the epitome of an old-school favorite, with his defensive status on one of the nation’s best units on the country’s only 12-0 national title contender. Yet new-school stat-heads should love what Te’o does even more than the traditionalists, with his mesmerizing mix of productivity and forced turnovers largely unseen for a player of his position.

Simply put, seasons like Manziel’s happen a whole lot more than seasons like Te’os. One is happening with another diminutive quarterback in DeKalb, where Northern Illinois’ Jordan Lynch is putting up stats that are almost a mirror-image of Manziel’s.

One of baseball’s best statistics is WAR, or Wins-Above-Replacement. Put simply, how many wins does player X add to the team over an average replacement? No doubt, Manziel has added a tremendous spark to the Aggies’ offense and given Kevin Sumlin a terrific triggerman in his first SEC season. But we’ve seen what Sumlin quarterbacks look like, and they didn’t put up numbers all that different from Manziel’s (more often, they were better). Meanwhile, for those of us that have watched the last decade of middle linebacker play in South Bend, I think we can all safely say that Te’o’s production over the last few guys manning the spot has been a transcendent change.


In the end, it’s only a trophy. The Heisman has gone into the hands of some of the greatest athletes ever to play football, and ended up with winners who would never see the field in the NFL. It’s part of what makes the award so wonderful. There’s little question which direction Te’o is headed in even without the statue.

So while I don’t expect this to change any voters minds, one final statement:

Jjust because we all enjoy being swept up in Johnny Football mania, doesn’t mean he’s the country’s best player.


  1. ndgiants11 - Nov 28, 2012 at 6:11 PM

    You’d think that the Heisman pundits were merely looking for the best quarterback, and when one lost, they simply moved onto the next best option. Barkeley (3-1 odds) didn’t play up to the hype, Landry Jones (9-1) had two home losses, Denard Robinson (7-1) can’t throw, Geno Smith (8-1) had more TDs than incompletions before West Virginia rattled off five straight losses once they got into their Big-12 schedule, and Colin Klein threw three interceptions in a loss to one of the worst defenses in the country.

    “Hmm, let’s see. There’s got to be another quarterback we’re missing. Hey, about that kid that beat Alabama!”

    To the Heisman voters,

    Do everybody a favor this year and actually read the qualifications for the Heisman trophy. According to the official Heisman website, the trophy is given to the “outstanding college football player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity. Winners epitomize great ability combined with diligence, perseverance, and hard work.” Based on this definition, I’m led to believe that most of you leave out everything after “outstanding college football player.”
    I don’t think Manziel was displaying very much integrity when he was arrested for getting into a drunken fistfight with a 47-year old man at 2:00AM one month before the season started. When questioned by the police, Manziel presented them with a fake Louisiana driver’s license and when he was asked about his birthday, the quarterback alternated between 1990 and 1992.

    • Jennifer - Nov 28, 2012 at 6:40 PM

      Last night Herbie Hancock actually said that “Manti shouldn’t even be in the Heisman discussion,” and he “Isn’t even worthy of an invitation.” That ridiculous statement just adds to the legitimacy of Coach Kelly’s comment that “If Manti doesn’t get this award, they might as well officially make it an offensive-only player award and be done with it. Just one defensive player, Charles Woodson, a d-back at Michigan won it in 1997, but he also played wide receiver.” So, the bias continues, and this year the award is expected to go to a freshman from Texas who just yesterday spoke for the first time in front of the media. Why just now? Because his coach forbid it. Why forbidden? Who knows for sure, but it might be related to Johnny’s arrest last Summer when his “47 year old friend made a racial slur to a black man and that started a fight between those two, but all three were arrested.” (Full disclosure, any form of racism is is a real hotbed for me, as I am active with Genocide Prevention Network, and the Center for Global Responsibility to Protect.) But all things considered, Manti has proved himself time and time again to be stellar both on and off the field, and a real leader and great example across the board. Johnny has three more years to mature and get even better. The bias here is Notre Dame: TV contract; National following; More press than any other school; 99% graduation rate; best tradition and national fan base, etc. etc. But the guy flat out deserves this award, and defensive players across the board would give a standing O for him, and well they should. I’m sorry I’ve gone on too long here, but it’s cheaper then a session with a psychologist, so I promise not to do this again. It’s just that Manti would do this honor proud, and the legitimate meaning of receiving the award would be truly honored if he’s at that podium.

      • 808raiderinparadise - Nov 28, 2012 at 6:46 PM

        When you have a name like Herbie Hancock, I’m sure your bitter about everything.

      • grantland1924 - Nov 28, 2012 at 11:21 PM

        WTF, Herbie Hancock. Please tell me you’re not speaking of the immensely talented musician… hell of an R&B artist, not sure he’s entitled to an opinion on the Heisman race though.

    • tedlinko - Nov 28, 2012 at 9:54 PM

      “pursuit of excellence with integrity.”

      Look that up in the encyclopedia and you’ll find a picture of Manti Teo (or at least you should).

  2. 808raiderinparadise - Nov 28, 2012 at 6:22 PM

    Defense wins Championships, so why can’t a defensive player leading the #1 undefeated team into the national championship from years of mediocrity as a senior not win it?

    Johnny Football didn’t even win the SEC West, he broke Newton & Tebow records but when those two set those records they won Championships, therefore their stats are relevant, because they helped their respective teams win it all, not Johnny.

    Teo deserves it, he led a 2QB team early in the season thru it all. Leadership, performance, statistics and playing for a national championship.

    Johnny … well he put up stats. STATS. S-T-A-T-S. Thats it. 2 loss team.

    Go read the Heisman mission statement, it defines Teo.

    The voters should read it too.


    I ordered my hoody Monday.

  3. 9irish - Nov 28, 2012 at 6:28 PM

    Manziel doesn’t deserve it. No way in hell he is the best player in college football. He’s got plenty of years to work on it.

    Everybody forgets about Leon Hart (1948, I think?) Played on both sides of the ball, but mostly known for being a defensive end.

    Manti winning that would probably require a doctor to come in and convince me that this whole season actually happened.

    Go Te’o….Go Irish

  4. nudeman - Nov 28, 2012 at 6:33 PM

    I only scanned the article, no disrespect intended Keith. Reason is I personally don’t care that much about the Heisman.

    I hope T’eo wins, think he’s extremely deserving, and believe he has a better shot than people give him credit for. The win against USC, the INT and yet another goal line stand validated so much about ND, its D and T’eo in front of a huge national audience that his stock has to have risen in the last several days. If being a great person is part of it then he’s got that one nailed too.

    Having said all this, by comparison I rate winning a NC as more important by a factor of about 200:1. There’s of course no reason both can’t happen; I’m just saying that in this day of hype, deep pocketed PR machines, and outright smarmy SEC campaigning for the award … meh. Only so much “excitement bandwidth” available at my age.

    Thumbs down, just below.

    • 9irish - Nov 28, 2012 at 6:43 PM

      absolutely….and it’s all about stats, which makes it tough on a defensive player. This is where football goes baseball in terms of judging.
      Manti would agree with you 100%.

    • irish4006 - Nov 28, 2012 at 7:47 PM

      Thumbs up, actually. There is absolutely no point worrying/talking about things that we don’t control. As far as I am concerned, it’s all about the game plan and execution in the next game. It’s good that our guys get a little time off to study and exams, but 6 weeks is way too long…

      I hope we use the time wisely to get ready for the game. Bama has been there, I worry about ND’s preparation.

      • nudeman - Nov 28, 2012 at 7:58 PM

        On the 6 week thing, couldn’t agree more. Every year the teams come out and look like sh** in the 1st qtr, minimum. This schedule is not something that the NCAA can be proud of. Delay it as long as possible, generate as much pub (garbage hype) right up to the point where one more day of such would be the point of diminishing returns (in terms of turning off viewers), and THEN play the game.

        Hey, why stop there? Maybe they should hold the game in April.


        Wish they’d go back to the days of playing everything on NY Eve and NY Day.

    • ndgoldandblue - Nov 28, 2012 at 10:54 PM

      Thumbs up for me too, my man. Te’o, himself, even said as such. Winning a national championship is more important to him than winning the Heisman. Pure team player if there ever was one. Besides, winning the NC is usually something players take more pride in than winning the Heisman.

      It’s funny, but at the beginning of the year, I said that if the Irish ever win another national championship, that would keep me content as a fan for a good ten years. I’m actually doubling down on that now. This team has four quarters of football to outscore their opponent by 1 measly point. If they do that, they could pull an Auburn and surround one year of greatness with several of mediocrity. I wouldn’t care. It would last me for the rest of my life.

      Something nude and all the elder posters of the blog don’t realize is that many of us were either too young or not even born the last time the Irish won it all. As far as I was concerned, it was never going to happen again. And after this year, who knows when the next opportunity will arise? A lot of things have to fall into place for a shot at the national championship. If Te’o and company do what everyone outside of NDNation thinks is impossible and pull out a victory, he will go down in the lore of all of college football as one of the greats, just like Rocket. And Manziel, Heisman trophy winner or not, will be just like Ty Detmer: an afterthought.

      • alsatiannd - Nov 29, 2012 at 7:00 AM

        Ye of little faith. Look at next year’s schedule. 10 wins, minimum. Could run the table again.

      • nudeman - Nov 29, 2012 at 9:57 AM


        EXACTLY right
        There is no guarantee they’ll be back anytime soon. Just because they ran the table this year, they have a young exciting QB, a great draft class and a great coaching staff … no guarantees.

        That is why ND absolutely MUST win THIS year.

        One other thing that nobody talks about: Just like ND was actually pretty damn close to 10-2 last year, they were pretty close to 10-2 or even 9-3 this year. Stanford, Purdue and especially Pitt were razor thin wins, with the Pitt win requiring some sort of divine intervention on the missed chip shot.

        Point is that this was a magical season and it’s unlikely to play out that way again next year.

      • ndgoldandblue - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:01 AM

        I didn’t mean any disrespect to nude or any of the posters who saw the greatness of Parseghian, Devine and Holtz. All I’m saying is, to many of the folks who saw those coaches and their respective teams, Notre Dame should always be in the hunt. We should be a perennial contender. We should be great. I get that, but that was a different time, and the college football landscape has changed dramatically.

        That’s the same thing as saying the UCLA Bruins should dominate college basketball because they did it under Wooden. They got one championship in the 90’s and haven’t been back since. I’m not saying that’s going to happen with the Irish, but I’m fearful that, if they don’t win it this year, Notre Dame might not get another chance for a while. For us younger folks, this season is a bit of an anomaly. Hopefully, it isn’t.

      • 4horsemenrideagain - Nov 30, 2012 at 11:25 AM

        I’m going to be first to say it, right here with all of you as witnesses:

        Notre Dame wins the NC this year and next year too, over Ohio State. You think beating Saban and shutting up the barbarian horde of SEC fans will be gratifying? Imagine how good it will feel to win another one, over a coach who’s named after a Pope and whose team’s fans rival even SEC fans in abrasiveness and absurdity.

  5. ndnphx - Nov 28, 2012 at 6:41 PM

    Keith, I am also incredibly biased on this subject, and refuse to apologize for that.

    As BK says, if you’re going to award the Heisman to the “best offensive” player, then rename the award and stop with the nonsense. If you’re going to make this an MVP award, it needs to go to Manti, because an MVP award combines performance with intangibles, like incredible leadership qualities. This guy willed the defense to the goal line stands against Stanford and SC, and to the level of excellence the entire unit was compelled to achieve on their way to a 12-0 record.

    As the saying goes and the ESPN shills need to recognize, stats are really only relevant to the losers. Winners don’t need stats to quantify their level of achievement.

    As for “beating Alabama”, if that is this year’s Heisman litmus test, I think the unit Manti leads is going to do just that when they get their chance…

  6. wisner74 - Nov 28, 2012 at 7:08 PM

    It is hard to argue with Manziel’s stats, just as it is hard to argue with the fact that the Heisman is certainly an award for the best offensive player in college football. But if stats were all that counted, we could develop a program and let a computer make the decision. To repeat the quote from NDgiants11 above, the Heisman goes to the: “outstanding college football player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity. . . .” Is there anyone who fits that description better than Te’o?

    I don’t mean to besmirch the reputation of Manziel, but he is only a red-shirt freshman, and he is already off to a shaky start when it comes to the “intergrity” part of the qualification. There’s no telling what the future holds, but the N.Y. Atheletic Club (or whatever it’s called) has recently had to endure the embarassment of having Reggie Bush’s trophy returned for his behavior. Does it really want to sit around for the next two or three years with fingers crossed that Johnny “Heisman Trophy Winner” Football doesn’t punch-out some other guy in a bar fight, or worse?

    To win the Heisman you are not only supposed to be an excellent college football player, but also a solid, stand-up human being. We need to see a larger body of work from Manziel on the second factor before he is considered for the award. Again, I don’t mean to slander the kid; I just think freshmen in general have not proven enough on the integrity side. Te’o has, and he richly deserves the award.

  7. 1notredamefan - Nov 28, 2012 at 7:10 PM

    Watch the defense in 09′ and watch it today…. you can’t tell me that a boy wasn’t made into a man and that man made us successful!! It’s crazy to see him running amok looking for what to do…. tooo bad we were so bad that we couldn’t have saved that first year and got him back for 1 more year!!!

    • ohioirish - Nov 29, 2012 at 12:19 PM

      Fan, If Manti did redshirt in ’09 and if all things turned out the same. i.e. ND finishes 13-0 and wins the NC, there is no way Manti comes back for a fifth year. His draft stock would not get any higher if he came back for another year, and he would have accomplished his goal of winning a NC and graduate with a degree.

  8. 1notredamefan - Nov 28, 2012 at 7:17 PM

    When everything’s on the table and we line up against Bama/Georgia the world should be able to give the eye test and figure out what we all already know. Till then It’s apples and oranges as to whether he win’s…. IMHO I could care less…. if he doesn’t.. more flame to the fire on gameday!!!

  9. bernhtp - Nov 28, 2012 at 7:27 PM

    Keith: great article and analysis. One of your best.

    You make the point well that Manziel is a system product, and not terribly exceptional in that context. Similarly, remember Andre Ware getting the Heisman from the University of Houston and their run and shoot offense (a precursor to the spread) that put up astronomical numbers? Ware was a top NFL pick but was a complete bust. Ware’s successor, David Klingler, had stats were even more astronomical, but the Heisman committee figured it out at this point. The NFL didn’t; Klingler got drafted in the first round also and didn’t do much.

  10. dannygjay - Nov 28, 2012 at 7:29 PM

    Why all the hype for either of these guys. johnny is not best offensive player. How about a offensive lineman like cyrus k at alabama. NOT really but thats how stupid it sounds to give the award to manti, who isn’t even the best defensive player(jarvis jones, clowney). The best skill player in college football is Tyler wilson. Roll Tide

    • 808raiderinparadise - Nov 28, 2012 at 7:53 PM

      wow your just all kinds of stupid.

      Johnny first of all schooled your defense, regardless of your manti take.

      Jarvis jones eh? He lead his team to a national championship? Clowney?

      Those are just edge rushers, rush, rush, rush off the edge. Not ILB in a 3-4 which requires an IQ (which would count you out) calling the plays, moving guys around and getting the ball in rush/pass situations.

      Chalres Woodson won it with 8 int, he was a DB.

      Teo has 7, HE IS AN ILB.

      Sure hope ND plays Alabama.

      Your crying QB lol

      • alsatiannd - Nov 29, 2012 at 7:10 AM

        Bears repeating: your CRYING QB.

  11. dinklespiel - Nov 28, 2012 at 7:35 PM

    You can try too compare offensive stats with defensive stats til the cows come home but the two are mutually exclusive. So calm down, sure Manti had a good year for a linebacker, Johnny Football had a great year for a quarterback.

    Could the real problem be that a lowly Freshman could possibly take away what some think a Senior deserves that bothers you all so much?

    Sounds like a bunch of Frat Brats at initiation time to me.

  12. twreck13 - Nov 28, 2012 at 7:35 PM

    Y’all act like Johnny is nothing but stats, how bout him LEADING, yes leading, a 500 team into the sec and going 10-2 as a freshman. Rg3 had three losses his heisman year, why are y’all putting so much stock into “best player on an undefeated team?”

    • wisner74 - Nov 28, 2012 at 8:05 PM

      twreck13 and dinklespiel, please see my comment above. We’re talking about COLLEGE FOOTBALL here, not the NFL. Character counts more in college because it’s about more than just winning, dollars and numbers. These kids are in it for the game itself, not making millions of dollars, so integrity should be an issue. It is one of the many factors that makes college football — an amateur endeavor — a superior product to the NFL. I’m not saying that Manziel will not prove himself worthy in the long run, but in my mind numbers alone should not win the award, and I think the jury is still out on what type or human being Johnny Football is. If he puts up the same kind of numbers for the next few years, and does nothing to embarass the sport, then more power to him and he deserves it. But right now, with him as with any freshman at any school, I think it’s too early. Let’s see how well the kid represents the sport OFF the field before we give him the Heisman.

      • ragulator - Nov 28, 2012 at 9:10 PM

        So Johnny Rodgers wins the award after getting a felony conviction for robbing a gas station earlier that year, Cam Newton wins the award after cheating on college work and getting arrested with a stolen laptop, but you are going to whine from post to post over the legal equivalent of a traffic ticket?

        The Question is a moot one now anyway. Vegas has made it clear that the only people who still think this is a close two horse race are catholic fan boys who don’t know how to look up odds

      • yogihilt - Nov 29, 2012 at 7:26 AM

        look up odds?, ragulator… did u see the odds in august re. NDs chances at championship game. Vegas doesn’t know all.. and catholic fan boys? please

  13. ndirish10 - Nov 28, 2012 at 7:38 PM


    It ain’t biased if it is true. You sir speak the TRUTH!!! GO MANTI!!! GO IRISH!!!

  14. dannygjay - Nov 28, 2012 at 7:41 PM

    sorry. I didn’t know I was on a ND board. I thought I was the college football board

  15. irish4006 - Nov 28, 2012 at 7:51 PM

    To me, it feels like it was very close up until a few days ago (wasn’t Manti 2nd to Optimus Klein, at some point). Over the last couple of days, however, it seems that ESPN has been promoting Johnny crack corn pretty hard.

  16. dinklespiel - Nov 28, 2012 at 8:03 PM

    I predict Manti will win because their are too many old traditionalists doing the voting and they sure as heck ain’t going to give that Little Red Neck nothin.

  17. ndgiants11 - Nov 28, 2012 at 8:08 PM

    Before the USC game, Rick Reilly said on Twitter there was “no way” the Irish would win, and that if they did, he would personally go to South Bend and help polish the helmets. Well, Rick’s a man of his word:

  18. kiopta1 - Nov 28, 2012 at 8:48 PM

    There seems to be a fair amount of voters who seem to be leaning Manti’s way(not set in stone but Eddie George and Pat Forde came across that way). Will it be enough in the end or will it the offense only media mania that wins the day?

  19. wisner74 - Nov 28, 2012 at 9:31 PM

    Well Ragulator, you got me there. I didn’t know about Johnny Rodgers, and I had forgotten that a cretin like Cam Newton had actually won the award. Gee, it makes you wonder why Lawrence Phillips didn’t win it!

    I’m not equating Manziel with any of those guys, but I am saying let’s wait a few years to see what kind of person he is. But I guess your right, the Heisman committee aparently doesn’t care too much about these things. How naive of me. But you see, Regulator, I am at a disadvantage. I am an ND grad and was on campus when the team won the championship in ’73. I have bred in my bones that there is a right way to do these things and a wrong way. It is unfortunate that your point is well taken, because apparently the Heisman committee does not have its priorities in order.

  20. mdirish - Nov 28, 2012 at 9:37 PM

    I didn’t read through every comment so if this has been said already I apologize. We don’t know that JM is not a one hit wonder. I don’t think that winners should be based on just one year. I think there should be some kind of build up to the winning season. I know it’s not a 2 year award but to have a little background on kids performance goes along ways with me. Which is kinda why many voters don’t like freshman for this award.

  21. ndfaithful - Nov 28, 2012 at 9:59 PM

    I am just amazed that NOBODY, not even here, in an article with that title, is taking about this kid getting ARRESTED and having MULTIPLE fake ID’s when caught. Integrity is just a word now.

    • ndfaithful - Nov 28, 2012 at 10:03 PM

      Johnny (fake I’D) Football that is…

    • bluecouchstudiostx - Nov 28, 2012 at 10:13 PM

      You are grasping. First, “integrity” in Heisman terms is talking about cheating… not morality. This is basic English. Context must be used. Second, even ESPN’s Ubben (covers Big 12) knows that this argument is garbage and he has every incentive to grasp onto it and fight for Klein. But he is honest, something that Notre Dame fans appear to have trouble with.


      Pete (Missouri): Shouldn’t Johnny Manziel’s arrest influence Heisman voters? If it doesn’t, where is the moral compass in College Football. Klein and Te’o are much more deserving!!

      David Ubben: This argument is so dumb. First off, Manziel’s arrest was for two misdemeanors, the worst of which was disorderly conduct. Cam Newton had a more serious past, and nobody cared, or at least not folks digging for reasons why he shouldn’t win the Heisman. If Manziel was under investigation for sexual assault or some violent crime, then fine. I think that matters. But some idiotic, alcohol-fueled fight back in June, and getting caught with a fake ID? Please.

      • ndfaithful - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:05 PM

        I just disagree. And frankly, you’re the perfect example of what I’m talking about. You’re twisting a black and white word “integrity” to suit your purposes. Here are the three different definitions of integrity. They don’t mean something different to anybody other than people like you.

        1. adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.

        2. the state of being whole, entire, or undiminished: to preserve the integrity of the empire.

        3. a sound, unimpaired, or perfect condition: the integrity of a ship’s hull.

        The only possible use of “integrity” in the context of a Heisman candidate is #1. If carrying fake ID’s so that you can engage in planned, illegal, underage drinking isn’t the polar opposite of “integrity”, then I don’t know what is.

        Your argument that David Ubben doesn’t care and that many feel the same way, is obviously true and the sole reason for my post. If you’re saying that you don’t care if the winner has character and integrity, then just say it. But don’t redefine a simple word to change the definition of what the award is given for.

        And don’t go giving me the crap about domers having trouble with it. If it bothers you that domers expect a Heisman candidate to have integrity, then I guess you just don’t get it.

        I for one, would have said the same about Michael Floyd last year or guys like Tommy Rees this year. They just don’t deserve the Heisman award (no matter what their on-field performances are like) if they don’t have integrity. Why did they take Bush’s back? Because he didn’t have integrity. Nothing he did at U$C gave him some unfair competitive advantage. He didn’t cheat. He just lacked integrity. If Manziel plans illegal activities and has a small collection of fake ID’s to help him carry them out, he doesn’t have integrity. period.

        There are almost 1,000 voters involved in the Heisman award and I’m afraid you’re right. Many don’t care or even talk about integrity. Most don’t even seem to know it was included in the intent and honor of the award. Hence my post.

        Manti deserves it for his play alone. Integrity just eliminates guys like Manziel for me.

  22. bluecouchstudiostx - Nov 28, 2012 at 10:09 PM

    This article and most of the comments are ridiculous. Let’s start with the points in the article.

    1. Manziel threw for 100 more yards than any other SEC QB against the LSU D. Also, only 1 of the INTs was his fault and it came late in the game when he was trying to make something happen. One of them bounced of the WRs shoulder pads when he took his eye off the ball and the LB caught it. On the 3rd INT, the true freshman WR broke off his route incorrectly and the safety easily caught the ball where the WR should have been.

    Also, A&M lost that game by 5 points. The kicker missed 2 FGs and 1 XP (7 points). And with time expiring in the first half, A&M’s RB fumbled and LSU recovered and 2 plays later scored on a diving TD pass (7 points). So Manziel played well enough to put A&M in a position to win the game against one of the best D’s in the country (Top 5) and yet, you say he played “historically bad”. That’s just bad journalism. You should be ashamed.

    2. Seriously? Last I checked, the SEC was a bit tougher than C-USA. And anyone watching Manziel’s film knows he is not your normal QB. He does things with his feet that no other QB can do. Fortunately, Heisman voters will actually do SOME research. Seriously, you should turn in your press pass and NBC should kill this blog (or certainly find a writer with some journalistic integrity).

    3. Huh? Season’s like Manziel’s happen more often?

    He’s one of only 5 QBs in NCAA HISTORY to pass for 3,000 and rush for 1,000 yards in a single season. He’s the only SEC QB to do so EVER. And he’s only the second from a AQ school. Vince Young was the other. And Manziel did it faster than the others: 11 games instead of VY’s 13.

    Manziel is also the only QB EVER to have 3 games with 300 yards passing and 100 yards rushing in their CAREER and he did it in 9 games.

    Manziel now holds the single season and single game SEC RECORDS FOR TOTAL OFFENSE.

    I could go on but obviously, you can find out all of this information if you read. Please visit

    Final Thoughts

    Notre Dame and Te’o deserve better than this garbage. It goes well beyond bias to willful ignorance. This “blog” lacks not only basic knowledge of football but basic “integrity” that you claim Te’o has so much of. (For the record, “integrity” in Heisman terms is talking about cheating… not morality. This is basic English. Context must be used.)

    Manziel is not a one-hit wonder. He did the same thing in HS and people questioned if he could do it in college. Well, you have your answer. His numbers are not just exceptional THIS YEAR. His numbers are exceptional when observing this HISTORY of college football. And on that basis, he deserves the Heisman.

    • wisner74 - Nov 28, 2012 at 10:52 PM

      bluecouch – As I suggested above, let’s just let a computer decide it then if it’s all simply about the stats. As for the rest of what you have to say, perhaps you have never learned that the more heated your rhetoric is the less persuasive your argument is.

      Of course his stats are fantastic. Who can argue with them? I simply question the wisdom of giving such an award to a freshman who hasn’t yet had time to demostrate that he is a stand up guy, and who already has one red flag on the character issue. But as your soulmate Ragulator has pointed out, the Johnny Rodgers and Cam Newton awards apparently demonstrate that the Committee doesn’t care so much about character, so what do I know?

      • ndfaithful - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:11 PM

        Agreed. He’s already clearly demonstrated that he’s NOT a stand up guy.
        He’s a heck of a QB and football player. I wouldn’t take that away from him. I think he’s in the top 5 QB’s in college football. But not the best at his position. Where was he when they got beat by LSU and Florida? When the 12-0 season was on the line, Manti sealed the deal every time.

    • alsatiannd - Nov 29, 2012 at 7:19 AM

      It’s almost enough to make me wish ND played A&M in the BCS so we could crumple Manziel into a little ball like we did to everyone else this year. Too bad A&M isn’t as good as we are and can’t played in the ‘ship.

      • bluecouchstudiostx - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:53 AM

        LOL. A&M would be up by 30 points on Notre Dame… at halftime. Even Kirk Herbstreit admitted (on Randy Galloway’s radio show yesterday) that A&M is the best team in the country right now.

        I feel bad for Notre Dame fans. All this hype, keep thinking you are good, and will be embarrassed in the national title game by the SEC champion.

        As for character, check out this story from a mother of a child with muscular dystrophy about Manziel.

  23. sinister23 - Nov 28, 2012 at 10:32 PM

    Manti is no way in hell worthy of the Heisman. I mean, seriously!! He absolutely doesn’t deserve to be in a class with WOODSON. He’s really good, yes. Not worthy

    • nudeman - Nov 29, 2012 at 12:11 AM

      was not aware Woodson is back on the ballot this year
      Thx for the scoop

    • alsatiannd - Nov 29, 2012 at 7:21 AM

      Don’t let the new trolls take your #1 spot. Man up.

  24. Tim's Neighbor - Nov 28, 2012 at 11:13 PM

    Just because derelict, law-breaking assholes have won in the past doesn’t mean that they should continue to win. Thinking someone deserves the Heisman and thinking they’ll win it are two different things.

    Btw, SEC records impress me about as much as when Jeter broke whatever dumb Yankee record he won. -Yawn-

    While the SEC is the best conference, it’s not that much better and it’s records are particularly noteworthy to anyone outside of the SEC. Plus, hard to take any record seriously when the team/player in question faces an FCS team (let alone two). How are you not embarrassed by that?

    • bullingtonbryson - Nov 28, 2012 at 11:25 PM

      This article makes my point for me…Manziel had one bad game (according to the stat line, without looking at what happened in the actual game, but that is another discussion) and still put up better numbers than all of those other QB’s that he was compared to in the article, accept for RG3. Watch all of Teo’s games and there are stretches of games, not plays, where you don’t even notice he is on the field….if you are a Heisman worthy candidate, you are supposed to leave an indellible mark on at least a majority, if not all of the games you play…not disappear. Why are those QB’s even brought up? again, RG3 numbers would have been broken had Johnny had the oportunity to finish all of his game like RG3 did. I thought the article was supposed to be an arguement for Teo or at least a comparison of the two players, yet it does not say anthing about Teo’s on the field performance, accept that he is a leader. So now all it takes to be a Heisman winner is being a leader…I am not trying to be hyperbolic, but I truly don’t understand the argument.

      I love the system quarterback comparison to Keenum at Houston…HOUSTON! I guess the competition Houston faced is the same as Manzeil??? Keenum ran a completely different offense than Manziel. Kingsbury even says they completely changed the offense to take advantage of Manziel…they changed the offense to fit Manzeil, not the other way around. They did not just plug another guy into the system; if they were going to do that, Manziel would not have won the starting job, Jameil Showers would have. He is a pocket passer, like Keenum, but with a much stronger arm. Premier draft expert, Mel Kiper already says he thinks Manziel will be another Drew Brees-like quarterback and will be a first round draft choice in a couple of years. System quarterback…right, just like A&M would finish at the bottom of the West division in the SEC and be buried in misery. I love how all these people that know what is going to happen in the future use it to minmize the unparalleled success that is happening today. Embarassing. I guess RG3 was a system QB, too. Oh, wait, he is having success in the NFL, so we can’t use that in the article because it doesn’t fit our biased premise.

      It amazes me that an admittedly biased artlicle by the network that carries all of ND’s games on national television came down on the side of Teo…ha ha! The fact they have the audacity to say that seasons like Manziel happen more often than Teo’s is absurd….what kind of year did HE have? He played on an undefeated team that plays a weak schedule and should/could have lost 2-3 games. What did HE do? The idea is to promote why they think Manti should win, but they spend the whole article talking about Johnny.

      The article does a great job at the outset of defeating itself….if you are objective an unbiased, there is no way you vote for Manti…no way. However, the article was honest about the fact that it was unabashidly biased…and so is anyone else that tries to convince you that he is deserved of the award based on how it is intended to be awarded.

  25. ocon171 - Nov 28, 2012 at 11:34 PM

    amen bullingtonbryson. What exactly has done that makes teo’s season so special in a historic sense? maybe if he was top 10 in multiple categories but not even close. He’s having a good season for a linebacker. if it wasn’t for a weak Heisman class this year he wouldn’t even get an invite

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