Follow Up and a Pointer

Following yesterday’s piece on the Heisman Trophy, I want to highlight a flaw of only looking at the last 20 winners.  You get a very different story if you extend the number to 25.  Consider:

Barry Sanders
Tim Brown
Vinny Testaverde
Bo Jackson
Doug Flutie

Those are the five before my 20. Sanders was the most exciting running back I’ve ever seen, and he is already in the Hall of Fame. Tim Brown was for most of his career the second or third best receiver in all of football, behind Jerry Rice and even with Cris Carter. Vinny Testaverde was incredibly productive for 21 seasons, with the 6th most passing yards and 8th most touchdowns all-time. Bo Jackson was spectacular until his hip gave way. Even Doug Flutie, distinctly the weakest of this five, had a better NFL career than any QB in the last 20 years of Heisman winners, though Palmer can and should still surpass him. The last 20 Heisman winners have been abnormally weak. They succeeded an absolutely brilliant five year run. That should be what Mark Ingram really aspires to.

Second, consider these two posts over at River Ave. Blues. MLB has been giving draft pick compensation to teams that lose top free agents for the last 30 years. Mike Axisa traces the draft picks given up by the Yankees from 1979-1985 and from 1986-1991. The posts remind us, first, how weak the MLB draft is. Second, they remind us how little draft pick compensation seems to matter. For 13 seasons of free agents, the Yankees missed out on Wally Joyner and Joey Cora. Finally, the posts remind us why the Yankees lost for all of those years. Consider the crop of free agents acquired. For the most part, the Yankees picked up past their prime players who contributed little. Unsurprisingly, they did not win.

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