Stiff Arm Trophy

Newton: biggest Heisman winner of all time?

Posted by Kari Chisholm on December 5, 2010 in News.

We're hearing a lot of folks wonder aloud whether Cam Newton will be the biggest landslide winner of the Heisman Trophy. While it's certainly too early to know for sure, it's worth nailing down exactly what that means.

A bit of history: Over the years, the Heisman Trophy has had as many as 1200 voters participating and as few as 500.

In 1987 (or maybe 1988), the Heisman Trust went to a new voting system -- with 870 members of the sports media and all the living former winners. That's locked in the number of voters at more-or-less 920. (Each year, there's one more living former winner -- and every few years, someone sadly passes away.)

So, you can't just look at the total number of votes and points scored. In 1968, OJ Simpson got 2903 points - but there were 1200 voters that year. This year, there are 925 voters. Even a unanimous vote would only be 2775 points (925x3).

The best way to analyze biggest winner ever is to ask, "Who got the closest to a perfect, unananimous vote?"

Here's the top five Heisman winners of all time:

yeartrophy winnerschoolpointsvoterspct.
2005Reggie BushUSC254192391.8%
2006Troy SmithOhio State254092491.6%
1998Ricky WilliamsTexas235592185.2%
1993Charlie WardFlorida State231091983.8%
1968O.J. SimpsonUSC2903120080.6%

See the full chart here: Top Heisman Winners of All Time

Note: For some idiotic reason, the Heisman Trust doesn't list the total number of voters for 1988, 1941-43, and 1946-47 - so those years aren't included on our chart. If anyone has that information, please contact us.