Griffin defies odds, redefines Heisman

December, 10, 2011
12/10/11
8:54
PM ET

A Heisman winner? At Baylor?

Uh, no.

After losing his third game in four outings, Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III didn't look likely to buck the trend.

[+] EnlargeRobert Griffin
AP Photo/Tony GutierrezQuarterback Robert Griffin III is the first Baylor player to win the Heisman Trophy.
"Yeah, he's a great player. Probably the best in the Big 12. But he can't win the Heisman. That's morphed into an award reserved for the best player on the best team, anyway."

Uh, no.

RG3 happened.

It began at Baylor in 2008, when a flashy freshman made tacklers miss against Wake Forest and looked the part of a future superstar.

It built to a crescendo Saturday night, when Griffin became the 77th winner of the Heisman Trophy, the most hallowed individual award in all of sports.

Along the way in 2011, Oklahoma and Kansas experienced dramatic, RG3-led Baylor comebacks firsthand.

Tim Tebow and Ricky Williams are the only other players since 1998 to win the Heisman and not play in a BCS bowl in that same season. Not bad company, considering one is 80 yards short of the NCAA career rushing lead and the other is one of the game's most legendary talents who finished his career with two national titles.

Griffin broke the NCAA passing efficiency record and may soon break the mold for the quarterback position. He's perhaps the best athlete on his team; a strong background in track and field and a Big 12 title in hurdles as a freshman attest to that.

Athletes like Griffin aren't supposed to throw the ball the way he does.

Any number of teams would have moved him to safety or receiver. Not Art Briles. The two Bears have revolutionized the program together, and neither could do it without the other.

Briles has helped Baylor win the most Big 12 games (6) in its history. A Bears player hadn't appeared in the Heisman voting since 1963, according to Big 12 officials, much less won the trophy.

Griffin has changed all that, and he's changed Baylor.

The Bears have their first Heisman winner, and Griffin has his place in college football as a player who will never be forgotten.

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