Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Heisman yawn-a-thon

For anybody that watched, the 2014 Heisman Trophy presentation was quite the extravaganza. If one considers a foregone conclusion that is dragged out for hour after excruciating hour stimulating -- this was the show for you.

As we know, and fully expected all along, Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota walked off with the iron. In fact, he got over 90% of the votes. A landslide of historic proportions.

Thing is, this is not like your run-of-the-mill election, where as soon as the polls close, results start coming in quickly. Within a few hours everybody knows who won and who lost.

Heisman voting had taken place some time ago. The results had long since been in -- but they were kept a secret until they could go on national TV and drone on and on for hours. Babies were born, people died, and Congress actually accomplished something during the time it took the Heisman folks to present a trophy.

Officially, the public didn't know the outcome until the very end. Neither did the sports reporters or past Heisman winners that get to vote.

Per usual, they had roped in a cast of former winners to stand in the background like potted plants and occasionally politely applaud.

There was Tony Dorsett, and Billy Sims, Charlie White, George Rogers, Marcus Allen, Tim Brown, Desmond Howard, Charlie Ward, and even Tim Tebow, to name a few. It's almost a miracle Tebow didn't drop to his knees and pray -- for the dog and pony show to mercifully finally conclude.

Even John Huarte was highlighted. He won the trophy back in 1964 -- a full 50 years ago. Does anybody care?

Oddly enough, Orenthal James Simpson, the 1968 winner, was noticeably absent. Perhaps OJ had another engagement he couldn't get out of.

The Heisman folks will tell you, and they did again, that they're rich on tradition. For 80 years they've been giving out this trophy to the most deserving college gridder. And they'll also tell you how many millions of dollars they have contributed to worthwhile causes along the way.

That's just great, but what they won't tell you is that their "club" is akin to Augusta National, home of the Masters golf tourney. A whole bunch of uppity filthy rich guys that live in the lap of luxury. A million here or there is chump change, and tax deductible to boot.

But the whole process begs a question -- given these guys already know who the winner of the Heisman is -- then why invite a few other also-rans from around the country -- only to disappoint them on national TV?

Yours truly figured it out a while back. No sense watching the whole show. Click on it every half hour or so to see if anything interesting is going on. Usually not. Just more blather about times long past. To me, it's like being at a friend's house and having them fire up old family movies. Very interesting to them. Torture for anyone else.

The key is to click back on it 5 minutes before the program is scheduled to end. That's when they'll finally announce who the winner is -- even if we've known it all along. At that, they still go through the rigmarole of "unsealing the envelope", like it's an Academy Award or something. And those folks know too in advance who won.

So why drag it out so long? Instead of hours, the Heisman show could be done in 5 minutes. Announce the winner and let him give a 2-3 minute speech, thanking everybody from his Pop Warner coach, to his grandma and Uncle Gus, to his teammates and favorite professor -- if he ever went to class.

Two hours of programming, pseudo suspense, and insufferable analysis, all while the jury had returned its verdict long before?

Please. Just get on with it. The dude's going to be a first round pick and sign a pro contract for millions. Maybe he'll be a star in the NFL, and maybe he'll be a bust. Heisman winners have been both over the years.

It's just a trophy that guarantees zip at the next level.

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