In a post at the official blog of NFL Films, the producers of Top 10 Heisman Trophy Winners in the NFL say the list wasn’t intended simply to rank the 10 best NFL players who won the Heisman Trophy. Instead, there were a combination of factors:
Who had the best NFL career?
Who had signature plays and great moments?
Who had box-office appeal? Who sells tickets? Who sells jerseys?
Who has cultural resonance? Who passes the Mom test?
Well, it’s true that Tebow passes the Mom test. My mom called me when she heard the Broncos were considering signing Peyton Manning and asked why they’d do that when they already had Tebow. So if a player’s ability to get mothers and sons talking about the NFL is one of the criteria, I guess Tebow qualifies. (My mom has never called me to discuss Troy Smith or Matt Leinart.)
But I don’t think my mom would claim that her own curiosity about Tebow should have any bearing on a list of the Top 10 Heisman Trophy winners in NFL history. Yes, Tebow currently has a lot of box-office appeal, sells jerseys and has cultural resonance, but the first question is the one that should really count: Who had the best NFL career?
And when that question comes first, it’s silly to rank Tebow ahead of three Pro Football Hall of Famers.