Saturday, December 10, 2011

Trick question

National Public Radio's Mike Pesca on Friday had a nice report on the late Larry Kelley, who won the Heisman Trophy in 1936.

Apparently to add something to his story, however, he referred to Kelley (pictured) as the winner of the "first Heisman Trophy." He gives a passing nod to Jay Berwanger, the subject of my current biography project, who received the honor from New York's Downtown Athletic Club the previous year. But Pesca attributes Berwanger's recognition as a technicality because the DAC renamed the award to honor its athletic director, John W. Heisman, who died between the ceremonies honoring Berwanger and Kelley.

Following Pesca's rationale for calling Kelley the first winner, we'd have to honor the Kansas City Chiefs of the winner of the "first Super Bowl." After all, the first two times the title game all Americans know as the Super Bowl was actually known as the AFL-NFL World Championship.

So, the New York Jets in 1968-69 won the "first Super Bowl"? That would fly with football fans as well as Larry Kelley winning the "first Heisman."

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