The Changing Game

By Adam Caparell - June 29, 2007

AUSTIN, Texas - Over the last six decades, the game has changed. And each different Heisman Trophy winner, of the nearly two dozen in attendance here at the inaugural HWA's Heisman Winner's Weekend, has a different perspective on it.

From 1957 winner John David Crow down to the 2000 winner Chris Weinke, each views the game they once dominated in stark contrast.

But 1983 winner Mike Rozier had the funniest take of the night.

"I think it's kind of a soft sport now," Rozier said, eliciting a big laugh out of the audience assembled in the Barton Creek Resort & Spa's Darrell Royal Ballroom, where the highlight of the evening was the roundtable discussion of Heisman winners representing each of the past six decades.

"Nowadays you can't smash a quarterback to the ground or kick somebody. That's the way football was," Rozier said. "Now it's like tag. Why go inside the stadium to watch the game? Stay outside and have fun."

Several winners, including Crow who was specifically honored along with 1977 winner Earl Campbell at the dinner, talked about how the Heisman Trophy is as much a team award as it is an individual award. But that team-first mentality is something many feel has become ancient history.

"There seems to be a lack of respect from some of the younger guys that was demonstrated by Mike Rozier, Tony Dorsett, Barry Sanders and guys of that era," 1995 winner Eddie George said. "The biggest thing I see is that it's gotten away from the team and become more about the individual."

The biggest change Dorsett, the 1976 winner, has seen is the way the award is covered and the amount of scrutiny placed on Heisman candidates.

"The media is 100 times greater than what it was when I was playing," Dorsett said. "There's a lot of visibility. I think it makes for good drama, though."

Some of the Heisman winners also talked about how they vote for the award, and it featured some interesting revelations.

Campbell elicits some outside opinions before he casts his ballot each year.

"He tells me to watch that guy," Campbell said. "And that's what I do."

And then Campbell offered this beauty, elborating on just who exactly "he" is.

"His name is Catfish," the Texas Longhorn deadpanned, leaving the crowd in stitches.

Not surprisingly, Crow is an old school guy and he likes his Heisman winners the same way.

"The guys who jump up and down after the score in the endzone aren't going to get my vote," Crow said.

At the end of the dinner, the Heisman winners congregated for a group photo to commenerate the largest gathering of Heisman winners ever in history. Lined up were 1967 winner Gary Beban, 1974-75 winner Archie Griffin, 1964 winner John Huarte, 1972 winner Johnny Rodgers, 1960 winner Joe Bellino, 1980 winner George Rogers, 1989 winner Andre Ware, 1990 winner Ty Detmer, 1991 winner Desmond Howard, Dorsett, Crow, Campbell, Rozier George and Weinke.

And while there were many Heisman winners absent, and some will finally join the festivities Saturday, Campbell called upon one local legend to be welcomed back to the Heisman fraternity who has been estranged from the award for a number of years now: former Longhorn and 1998 winner Ricky Williams.

Posted by Adam Caparell at 11:48 PM on June 29, 2007
Comments (1)


Your report of the HWA dinner is a little off. Richard Kazmaier was not there.

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