Tim Tebow and 15 QB Heisman Trophy Winners Who Flopped in the NFL
15 QBs Who Won the Heisman, Then Failed To Make It in the NFL
The Heisman Trophy is a bizarre award. It's College Football's MVP award, but it far from guarantees success on the next level. In this slideshow we'll take a look at 10 quarterbacks who have won the coveted award and then failed in the NFL.
It used to be that the styles of play in college and pro football were radically different. There were schemes and styles ran in the world of CFB, that simply didn't (and still wouldn't) translate to the NFL. You still see some of these schemes and styles in college football (triple option, wishbone), but they aren't near as prevalent at the highest level.
The thing about CFB and the NFL today, is that the college game is most definitely influencing the pro game. This comes in the form of spread offenses. Spreading four and five guys out wasn't commonplace in the NFL until fairly recently. Now, you have guys like Chip Kelly bringing a proven college scheme to the NFL and actually having some success. The times are no doubt changing.
If you look back over the past few years of Heisman winners, you'll see that most of them are enjoying some level of success in the NFL. This trend is likely to continue, as it's easier than ever for QBs coming into the league from 'systems' to adapt and be successful.
Will the latest trends only last for a short time, or has the game changed forever? That's one of the big questions moving forward. For now, it looks like spread looks are here to stay.
But as for the last 25 years, here are 15 QBs like Tim Tebow who failed to make the leap from Heisman winner to winner in the NFL:
Danny Wuerffel won the Heisman back in 1996, but failed to make ever make an impact in the NFL. He was selected in the fourth round of the 1997 draft by the Saints and also played for three other teams. In total over his six-year NFL career, Wuerffel compiled a record of 4-6.
Crouch was a big time college star at Nebraska. The NFL? Not so much. After winning the Heisman in 2001, Crouch was selected in the third round of the 2002 draft by the Rams. However, they drafted him to play wide receiver. It wasn't meant to be, and after failed stints in the NFL, NFL Europe and CFL, Crouch's career basically came to an end in 2007.
Another FSU alum, Weinke did manage to stay in the NFL for five years. In his time with Carolina and San Francisco, the former Heisman winner compiled a record of 2-18.
Troy Smith won the 2006 Heisman by a landslide. But in the years that followed, he failed to make an impact in the NFL. Unlike some QBs on this list, he was drafted (fifth round), but from 2007-2010 he only started eight games.
Leinart took home college football's most prestigious award back in 2004. He entered the NFL in 2006 as the 10th overall pick, but his career never really got on track. Technically, Leinart is still an active player, but he hasn't started a game since 2011.
White won the Heisman in 2003, but was not drafted in 2005. Even after the draft was in the books, it was weeks before he even received a tryout. Eventually, bad knees led the QB to retirement after never playing an NFL down.
That's right, the Ol' Ball Coach won the Heisman back in 1966. But just like his coaching stint in the NFL, his playing stint wasn't successful either. Over 10 years, Spurrier compiled a 13-24-1 record as a starting QB.
Ware took home the Heisman back in 1989, but would only go on to compile a 3-3 record over four seasons in the NFL with the Lions.
This former Heisman winner never attempted a pass in the NFL. He declared that he wouldn't play in the NFL if he wasn't a first round draft pick and that he would take his talents to the NBA to play PG. Ward was not drafted by an NFL team in 1995, but he was a first round selection of the New York Knicks. Therefore, Ward played in the NBA for 12 seasons and never took a pro football snap.
Torretta had a great college career at Miami, going 26-1 and winning the Heisman Trophy in 1992. However, NFL scouts didn't see much in him. Torretta was a seventh round draft pick in 1993 and only played a couple of seasons in the NFL as a backup.
Detmer took home CFB's greatest honor back in 1991, but like many other former winners, NFL scouts weren't liking what they were seeing. Detmer went in the 9th round (doesn't even exist anymore) of the 1992 draft to the Packers. Eventually he found his way to the Eagles and in 1996 he actually posted a winning record of 7-4. From that point on, however, it was all down hill. Detmer only won four games from 1997 on, before retiring after the 2005 season.
Beban won the Heisman in 1967 as the QB for UCLA, but he only attempted one pass in the NFL.
Huarte is a popular Heisman QB winner because he played at Notre Dame, but he only threw for one touchdown during his six-year pro football career.
Way back in 1962, Baker became the first and only player from Oregon State to ever win the Heisman. His NFL career, however, was short and sweet. In total, Baker played three seasons and attempted 21 passes.
Sullivan is one of three Auburn Tigers to take home college football's highest individual honor, but his NFL career was a big time flop. He played four seasons for the Atlanta Falcons and went 0-5 as a starting QB.