By Ed Daniels, Sports
On the night Joe Burrow won the Heisman Trophy, there was not a dry eye at the Heisman ceremony or in the state of Louisiana.
A quarterback who has completed almost 80% of his passes was on target, again and again. He thanked his offensive line by name. He thanked head coach Ed Orgeron for “giving me the keys.”
He said the Burrow family could never repay Orgeron for the faith he had in Joe.
And, he mentioned growing up in southeast Ohio, a place where poverty is still common and opportunity is often lacking. Burrow told those in Ohio, that if he could make it, so could they.
Later in the night, Burrow again hit the target, right between the numbers. He was asked about the national semifinal game against Oklahoma in Atlanta.
Burrow said the other teams will be coming after LSU.
“There will be a target on our backs, especially after we won all of these awards,” said Joe.
He’s right. Burrow said his team, ranked No. 1 in the College Football Playoff, was still “hungry to get the title.”
Winning the Heisman Trophy and a national championship in the same year is a tough double. In the past 11 years, it has been done three times – by Alabama running back Mark Ingram in 2009, by Auburn quarterback Cam Newton in 2010 and by Florida State QB Jameis Winston in 2013.
That Burrow won the Heisman is a fantastic accomplishment, for him and for LSU. At LSU, Burrow is a legend, but he’s two victories away from being so much more, if that’s possible.
One of my Auburn buddies is still talking about the “Cam-back” nine years later. In the Iron Bowl, Auburn, led by Newton, erased a 24-0 deficit to Alabama and beat the Tide 28-27. In one season, Newton produced things that can never be replicated.
At Florida, Tim Tebow is a legend, but his Heisman year, 2007, was sandwiched in between championship years for the Gators in 2006 and 2008.
Webster’s dictionary defines immortality as “unending existence” and “lasting fame.” If Burrow leads LSU to victory over Oklahoma and a win in the national championship at the Superdome, of all places, he will have had the greatest season of any athlete in the history of Louisiana State University.
No one understands the enormity of the moment more than Burrow. So, the quarterback who didn’t have a working cellphone for at least a part of this season will bury himself in film study.
He’ll be as prepared as can be for the Sooners on Dec. 28. What Joe Burrow knows is he has the chance of a lifetime.
Legends win the Heisman, but immortals win that trophy – and one other.
Ed Daniels is sports director of ABC26 WGNO. He can be reached at email@example.com.