A History Lesson: Jim Brown Deserved The Heisman

In the second and final of our sponsored EA Sports NCAA Football 2013 posts, we have been asked to play the critic and answer "Which player who did NOT win the Heisman Trophy was most deserving of the award?" The overlords gave us a "cough, cough Vince Young, cough" which is well deserved, but as you saw last week, we like to go back into the history books and do a little research for our answers.

Since this is obviously a Penn State blog, I'm sure many of you will share the opinion that either Ki-Jana or Kerry Collins should have been named the 1994 Heisman winner over Colorado 2,000-yard rusher and future NFL Hall of Famer Rashaan Salaam. We could have very easily written this story about them, but as I said, I love history.

I cannot take all the credit for thinking of who we should give our fake Heisman to. Devon came up with the name, I'm just writing the story.

In 1956, Paul Hornung won the Heisman while quarterbacking Notre Dame to a 2-8 record, throwing three touchdowns to go against 13 interceptions. This would lead you to believe that Matt McGloin could have won the 1956 Heisman. But since he was not yet gunslinging, we have to look elsewhere. Tennessee running back Johnny Majors came in second in the voting after leading the Vols to a perfect regular season before falling to Baylor in the Sugar Bowl. National champion Oklahoma had the next two finishers in running back Tommy McDonald and offensive lineman Jerry Tubbs.

This story is about the fifth place finisher that year. He led his team to a 7-1 regular season record and a birth in the Cotton Bowl. He ran for 986 yards -- third most in the nation -- and 14 touchdowns. He only played eight games while his counterparts played ten and he still destroyed both Majors (549 yards) and McDonald (853 yards) in yards rushing.

Jim Brown of Syracuse should have won the 1956 Heisman.

Why didn't he? It's a great question. Hornung was a Golden Domer and the next three finishers were on teams that finished #1 or #2 in the polls. There is no denying that Brown had the best numbers out of the top five finishers. There are two things that probably played a role in Brown's "downfall".

1. Syracuse did not play in a nationally televised game until the Cotton Bowl, but by that time, the trophy had already been awarded to Hornung. With all attention on being placed on Notre Dame and the defending national champions Oklahoma heading into the season, Brown was already fighting an uphill battle.

2. Jim Brown was black and it was 1956. By no means will I say that it was the sole reason, because it wasn't, but I'm sure it was in the minds of some voters at the time. Hell, it was even on the minds of his own team. Five years after Brown's stellar season, the Heisman would be given to a black player for the first time when it went to Ernie Davis, also a Syracuse running back, so race could not have been a prevailing, "stuck in the mud" type of thought.

So now we ask you, which Heisman Trophy snub most deserved to win?

This post was sponsored by EA Sports NCAA Football 13. Check out the video for the game below.

EA SPORTS NCAA Football 13 TV: "Son" (via EASPORTS)

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