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Heisman 1951 Dick Kazmaier
AP Photo/John Rooney

Princeton Offense

1951 Heisman winner Dick Kazmaier

Dick Kazmaier's 1951 Heisman Trophy victory stands as a watershed of sorts. Kazmaier, who led Princeton to 22 consecutive victories, is the last Ivy League player to win the award. That sounds almost quaint, given the gulf that has opened between the football powers of today and the Ivy League. Yet there seems something curiously modern about the way that Kazmaier played. For instance, Kazmaier completed 62.3 percent of his passes as a senior in an era when anything more than 50 percent attracted fanfare. He completed 15 of 17 passes for 236 yards and rushed for another 124 in a 53-15 rout of Cornell. And he routed the competition in the Heisman voting, beating second-place Hank Lauricella of Tennessee by an almost 4-to-1 margin. There is another Ivy League tint to Kazmaier's victory. He is one of the last Heisman winners who did not play professional football by his choosing instead of the NFL's choosing. Kazmaier told the Chicago Bears, "No, thanks," and went to Harvard Business School. His family investment firm is still going strong a month after his 79th birthday. "It [the Heisman] did not have much impact on my business career, I don't think," Kazmaier once told author Bill Libby, "but it has had an impact on my personal life." That is true to this day as well. In recent years, Kazmaier, who lives in South Florida, has begun bringing his grandchildren to the annual Heisman festivities.
-- Ivan Maisel


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