'Morning Joe' Sports Minute Puts Charles Woodson's Heisman Back in the 1960s


It was quite a morning on Morning Joe in the wake of Georgia turning blue, but that doesn't mean there wasn't time for Joe Scarborough to shoehorn a little Alabama football talk into the rundown. And it didn't seem forced given the glow of DeVonta Smith's Heisman Trophy victory — the first from someone outside the Quarterback-Running Back sphere since Charles Woodson in 1997.

Mike Barnicle, who can be counted on for a solid baseball take as regularly as incisive political commentary, inadvertently placed the Michigan cornerback back in the late-1960s.

To err is human. Who among us hasn't botched a fact or had a slip of the tongue?

This did get us thinking, though. Just how dominant would have Woodson been had the played for Bo Schembechler? Or would his value been greatly reduced because offenses were more run-dominant back then? Would he have been given the chance to ply his talents on the offensive side of the ball, which he couldn't have won the trophy without?

Continuing this daydream, imagine Smith playing in Woodson's time. What type of numbers would he have put up? Before you answer "all of them," consider that Randy Moss finished fourth in Heisman voting his year after dominating opponents while at Marshall and wearing those cool black-and-white-striped socks.

Moss hauled in 96 passes for an absurd 1,820 yards and 26 touchdowns in 1997. Smith, by contrast, caught 105 for 1,641 and 20 scores this campaign. Without a time machine, we're left to conclude both of these guys are really good.

But the bigger conclusion may be just how talent-rich that 1997 season was. Woodson more than earned his bauble with otherwordly play. Peyton Manning and Ryan Leaf, who finished second and third, were also quite unstoppable. Curtis Enis, who rounded out the Top 5, had about the funniest name a then-13-year-old me could imagine.