Football 101: No. 41, Marshall Faulk
We continue with our weekly roundups of the next players in the Football 101—my personal countdown of the greatest players in pro football history. Thanks for reading, and for those who aren’t subscribers, I hope you’ll consider joining!
Let’s start in New York, Downtown Athletic Club, Dec. 12, 1992. They’re about to announce the Heisman Trophy winner. As it turns out, I am there — because I cover the University of Georgia for The Augusta Chronicle, and one of the Heisman finalists was a Bulldogs running back (and Augusta local, from nearby Lincoln County) named Garrison Hearst.
Before the announcement is even made, I know Hearst is not going to win the award, not after he and Georgia came up pretty small against arch-rival Florida. Before the announcement is even made, I know that Gino Torretta — the awkward quarterback whose Miami team never loses — will win the Heisman Trophy because all the people who know about such things are predicting it. ESPN’s Lee Corso, for example, told everyone: “Don’t waste your vote. Vote for Gino Torretta. He’s the only candidate who can win.”
But what I don’t know is that the third person on that stage is fully expecting to hear his name. In his mind, he’s DEFINITELY the Heisman Trophy winner. Nobody else is even close to him. The Heisman Trophy is supposed to go to the best college football player, right? The idea that Garrison Hearst or Gino Torretta or anybody else might actually be named the Heisman Trophy winner seems so ridiculous to him that his brain cannot even fathom it.
And when the announcement is made, and Gino Torretta stands up, the third man stares icily into space because he cannot understand what just happened.
This is just a guess, but I don’t think to this day Marshall Faulk has quite gotten over it.
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