ONE SPORTWRITER'S CASE FOR TEO:
The Heisman Trust states that The Heisman Memorial Trophy annually recognizes the outstanding college football player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity. Winners epitomize great ability combined with diligence, perseverance, and hard work. This is a perfect description of Manti Teo. Teo is a part of a two horse race between himself and Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel for college footballs top individual prize. Both players have impressive stats but Teo excels in every way including intangibles and representing the spirit of the Heisman in ways Manziel cannot come close to equalling. Those arguing in favor of Manziel to be the Heisman winner point to the fact he has a Heisman moment, guiding the Aggies to a road victory over then number one ranked Alabama, while Teo doesnt possess such a moment, this notion is absurd. Teo has led the Irish on two legendary goal line stands, one against Stanford in the pouring rain and another against USC to solidify the Irishs trip to the national championship. These goal line stands symbolized the toughness of the Notre Dame defense, a defense led by Teo, which takes its attitude from its senior leader. The Notre Dame defense and entire team for that matter are a reflection of Teo, the team plays for each other and never gives up despite the odds, a team that takes the fight to the opponent instead of sitting back and playing not to lose. These intangibles all symbolize the spirit of Notre Dame, which Teo has resurrected. Teo also has a Heisman moment against Oklahoma, a team favored by double digits against the Irish, his fourth quarter interception of Sooners quarterback Landry Jones led to a game-clinching filed goal and established on primetime television as the world watched that Notre Dame is back.
Furthermore Teo has 103 tackles, seven interceptions, good for second in the nation, two fumble recoveries, and eleven pass defenses. Teo has had some games where he hasnt had ground-breaking stat totals, but has never had an off game to the degree of costing his team a victory, as even when he is slowed down he makes sure the rest of the defense is in the right position to make plays. Teo leads the number one defense in the nation, a unit that triumphs with its back to the goal line and makes opposing offenses earn every inch, a defense that has yet to have an awful game. Manziel on the other hand has produced great stats, throwing for 3419 yards and 24 touchdowns while completing 68 percent of his passes, to go along with 1181 yards and 19 touchdowns rushing, but has had off games. Manziel is in an offense made for him to rack up numbers win or lose; however, he has had poor outings which have led to his teams two losses. Manziel threw for only 173 yards and no touchdowns, while rushing for only 60 in a loss to Florida, and played horrendously in a loss to LSU, throwing three interceptions while completing barely over 50 percent of his passes, and rushing for a mere 27 yards on 17 carries, not exactly Heisman-like performances. Also Teo is a consensus first team all-American, while Manziel is not, and it seems ridiculous to have a Heisman trophy winner who isnt an all-American.
Additionally Teos story is story book, returning Notre Dame to glory and capturing the heart of a nation after playing in the same week he lost both his girlfriend and grandmother, and doing it all with a team expected to lose five games this season. On the other hand Manziel is just another spread quarterback racking up huge numbers. It is impressive he has done so as a freshman in the SEC, but he wasnt even on the Heisman radar before the Alabama victory and quite frankly doesnt possess Teos body of work throughout the season. Manziel doesnt have the intangibles of Teo as he is a freshman and is not the undisputed leader of his team, not to mention his arrest for disorderly conduct, not exactly what the Heisman statement symbolizes a player to be.
The Heisman symbolizes more than just stats; it symbolizes a player and a type of person which Teo fits perfectly. Manti Teo is the best player of the best team in the nation and as his head coach Brian Kelly has said if Teo doesnt win the Heisman it might as well become an offense only award. Its simple, Teo has been the man all year, Manziel is just the flavor of the month.
Really? With that kind of reply Johnny Majors should have won in 1956. Time is relative. Think about it.
Manti Te'o ought to move to South Carolina and run for Congress in the First District--He could give Mark Sanford some competition!