Updated: January 31, 2016





By Tony McClean, Editor-In-Chief Emeritus

EDITOR’S NOTE: With Super Bowl 50 in Santa Clara, California approaching, we here at BASN will be commemorating the upcoming event with our own special flavor. Over the next two weeks, we’ll be bringing you little tidbits and other insights about Carolina’s dynamic field general Cam Newton leading up to his team’s showdown with Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos on February 7th.
Today: Cam and Heisman Trophy winners in the Super Bowl.
NEW HAVEN, CT (BASN) — When Cam Newton takes the field for the Panthers in Super Bowl 50 on Sunday, February 7th, he’ll become the 19th Heisman Trophy winner to be on a Super Bowl roster.
Ironically when Carolina reached their first Super Bowl back in 2004, they had a former Heisman Trophy winner on their roster as well. Florida State’s Chris Weinke served as Jake Delhomme’s backup during the Panthers’ loss to the Patriots.
In all, Heisman Trophy winners have appeared in 25 of the previous 49 Super Bowls. Some have been MVP’s. Others have been bit players and others haven’t even gotten on the field.
Take Super Bowl I for example. Both the Chiefs and Packers had a Heisman winner on their rosters: K.C. running back Mike Garrett, who won the award for USC in 1965 and Green Bay running back Paul Hornung, the 1956 winner from Notre Dame.
A pinched nerve kept Hornung out of the game, but Garrett rushed for 17 yards on six carries, caught three passes for 28 yards, returned two punts for 17 yards and took back two kickoffs for 43 yards as the Chiefs fell to Green Bay, 35-10.
Garrett returned with the Chiefs two years later to help Kansas City beat Minnesota in Super Bowl IV, 23-7, making him the first Heisman winner to play in and win a Super Bowl. Also on the Chiefs roster that year was the 1964 winner from Notre Dame, quarterback John Huarte.
In many ways, both of those early Super Bowls we talked about served as a barometer regarding the frequency in seeing Heisman winners on Super Bowl rosters. That would change a bit in the early 70’s.
Two years after the Chiefs defeated the Vikings, future Hall of Famer and 1963 award winner Roger Staubach was the first Heisman winner to be named the game’s Most Valuable Player when he led the Dallas Cowboys to a 24-3 victory over Miami in Super Bowl VI.
“Captain America” was making the second of five Super Bowl appearances, the most ever by any Heisman winner. In Super Bowl XII, Staubach guided the Cowboys to their fourth Super Bowl as their rookie running back, Tony Dorsett, made history.
Dorsett, who won the Heisman for the Pitt Panthers in 1976, became the first player to win a Heisman, a national championship and a Super Bowl when the Cowboys beat the Broncos, 27-10.
A year later, Dallas lost to the Steelers in Super Bowl XIII, bringing Staubach and Dorsett’s combined Super Bowl appearances to seven. Four years later, another Heisman winner running back would make history.
USC’s Marcus Allen became the first and only football player to win a national championship, a Heisman, a Super Bowl and a Super Bowl MVP award, rushing for a then-Super Bowl-record 191 yards to help the then L.A. Raiders rout Washington, 38-9.
That win also marked the title for Super Bowl XV MVP Jim Plunkett, who won the Heisman for Stanford in 1970. Plunkett was 13-of-21 with 261 yards and three TDs as the Raiders easily handled the Eagles 27-10.
The last Heisman winner to be named Super Bowl MVP was Green Bay’s Desmond Howard. In Super Bowl XXXI, Howard was the first special teams player to win MVP honors after totaling 244 return yards (including a 99-yard kickoff return touchdown) as Green Bay downed New England, 35-21.
The last Heisman winner to appear in a Super Bowl was Michigan’s Charles Woodson. At the time, the future Hall of Famer was making his second appearance in the big game. Back in Super Bowl XXXVII, he and his Heisman winning teammate Tim Brown were on the wrong end of a 48-21 rout by Tampa Bay.
Woodson would finally get his lone Super Bowl ring eight years later while with the Green Bay Packers. Despite missing the majority of the second half with an injury, Green Bay would prevail over the Steelers 31-25 in Super Bowl XLV.
NOTE: Heisman.com contributed to this story.
NEXT: The Iron Bowl comeback.

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