Stiff Arm Trophy

Biggest Heisman Winners Ever

A critical question is "Who is the biggest Trophy winner of all time?"

The best way to analyze "biggest winner" is to examine the points scored, as a percentage of points possible (number of voters times three).

We do not recommend that analysts use total points or vote margin to compare modern Heisman Trophy contests to earlier contests. (To be sure, OJ Simpson had the most votes ever - but with 1200 voters, there were nearly 30% more voters than in the current voting. It's simply not an "apples-to-apples" comparison.)

The years with more voters (as many as 1200) will have have higher total points and vote margins than the years with fewer voters (as few as 500). The raw number of voters shouldn't determine our historical view of "the biggest winner ever."

In fact, the number of voters changes every single year - since every year there's one more winner than the year before (and now and then, a Heisman winner passes away.)

The only responsible method for comparing Heisman Trophy wins across multiple years is to compare the winner to the total possible points (number of voters times three.)

In short, "How close did this winner come to a unanimous #1 selection?"

Top Heisman Trophy Winners of All Time

Note: We're not able to include the years 1941-43 or 1946-47 - as the Trophy Trust website (inexplicably) does not have the total number of voters listed for those years. In 2010, we were - after several years - able to add 1988, thanks to a contemporaneous note revealed in a (surprisingly good) 1988 issue of Sports Illustrated.

yeartrophy winnerschoolpointsvoterspct.
2005Reggie BushUSC254192391.77%
2006Troy SmithOhio State254092491.63%
1998Ricky WilliamsTexas235592185.23%
1993Charlie WardFlorida State231091983.79%
2010Cam NewtonAuburn226392581.55%
1968O.J. SimpsonUSC2903120080.64%
1991Desmond HowardMichigan207791775.50%
1976Tony DorsettPittsburgh2357104874.97%
1999Ron DayneWisconsin204292273.83%
2012Johnny ManzielTexas A&M202992872.88%
1984Doug FlutieBoston College2240105071.11%
2007Tim TebowFlorida195792570.52%
1986Vinny TestaverdeMiami (Florida)2213105070.25%
1988Barry SandersOklahoma State187891768.27%
1997Charles WoodsonMichigan181592165.69%
1967Gary BebanUCLA1968103363.50%
1994Rashaan SalaamColorado174392063.15%
2008Sam BradfordOklahoma172692662.13%
1982Herschel WalkerGeorgia1926105061.14%
2011Robert Griffin IIIBaylor168792760.66%
1951Richard KazmaierPrinceton177798760.01%
1974Archie GriffinOhio State1920107559.53%
2000Chris WeinkeFlorida State162892258.86%
1970Jim PlunkettStanford2229126458.78%
1975Archie GriffinOhio State1800104157.64%
1983Mike RozierNebraska1801105057.17%
1981Marcus AllenUSC1797105057.05%
1955Howard CassadyOhio State2219132455.87%
1963Roger StaubachNavy1860112355.21%
1940Tom HarmonMichigan130380054.29%
1990Ty DetmerBrigham Young148291753.87%
1979Charles WhiteUSC1695105053.81%
1959Billy CannonLouisiana State1929119753.72%
2003Jason WhiteOklahoma148192253.54%
1960Joe BellinoNavy1793113052.89%
1995Eddie GeorgeOhio State146092152.84%
1992Gino TorrettaMiami (Florida)140091850.84%
1996Danny WuerffelFlorida136392049.38%
1953John LattnerNotre Dame1850125549.14%
1977Earl CampbellTexas1547105049.11%
1966Steve SpurrierFlorida1679116048.25%
2002Carson PalmerUSC132892248.01%
1985Bo JacksonAuburn1509105047.90%
2004Matt LeinartUSC132592347.85%
2009Mark IngramAlabama130492546.99%
1987Tim BrownNotre Dame1442105045.78%
1935Jay BerwangerChicago846543.08%
1971Pat SullivanAuburn1597126042.25%
1969Steve OwensOklahoma1488121240.92%
1958Pete DawkinsArmy1394119139.01%
1989Andre WareHouston107391838.96%
1972Johnny RodgersNebraska1310112738.75%
1949Leon HartNotre Dame99590836.53%
1936Larry KelleyYale21319536.41%
1980George RogersSouth Carolina1128105035.81%
1945Felix "Doc" BlanchardArmy86084833.81%
1937Clinton FrankYale52453132.89%
1973John CappellettiPenn State1057107532.78%
1957John David CrowTexas A & M1183126731.12%
1939Nile KinnickIowa65170031.00%
1964John HuarteNotre Dame1026110430.98%
1938Davey O'BrienTexas Christian51958429.62%
1948Doak WalkerSouthern Methodist77890828.56%
2001Eric CrouchNebraska77092527.75%
1954Alan AmecheWisconsin1068131827.01%
1956Paul HornungNotre Dame1066131826.96%
1965Mike GarrettUSC926116026.61%
1978Billy SimsOklahoma827105026.25%
1961Ernie DavisSyracuse824109125.18%
1950Vic JanowiczOhio State63395822.03%
1962Terry BakerOregon State707110921.25%
1944Les HorvathOhio State41275018.31%
1952Billy VesselsOklahoma525122214.32%

If you want to give credit, please credit "analysis by Kari Chisholm, a political consultant who operates StiffArmTrophy.com".

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