Somewhere Jason White Is Crying To Himself

February 3, 2009 – 3:23 am by Ryan Phillips

We’ve already discussed how Santonio Holmes was one of the breakout stars of Sunday’s Big Game, but without question the most impressive player on the field at Super Bowl XLIII was Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald. From his ridiculous leaping touchdown catch to his mach-five, 64-yard sprint to the end zone late in the fourth quarter, Larry Jr. definitely proved he belongs among the NFL’s elite players. The fifth year pro will head to his third Pro Bowl this year and it’s shocking that he’s not more of a household name, given the fact that he’s absolutely torn up the NFL over the past few seasons.

While guys like T.O. and Randy Moss get buckets of ink spilled about them, Fitzgerald has remained largely anonymous. Why is that? Well, he played at the University of Pittsburgh in college, not exactly a media mecca. But Larry was one of the best collegiate receivers to ever don pads. He was there for two years and in his final season, was clearly college football’s best player. He absolutely dominated against double and even triple teams all year, in the process he made a serious case to be one of the few receivers to win the Heisman Trophy. The problem? Awards voters love quarterbacks.

Yes when it came time to hand out the most prestigious individual award the sporting world has to offer, Fitzgerald didn’t hear his name called. Instead, the Heisman went to Jason White, average quarterback of the (soon-to-lose to LSU in the BCS Championship) Oklahoma Sooners.

In one of the closest votes in Heisman history, White received 1,481 points, while Fitzgerald got 1,353 (this list is interesting: 3rd place went to Eli Manning, 4th was Chris Perry, 5th Darren Sproles, 6th Matt Leinart, 7th Philip Rivers, 8th Mike Williams, 9th Ben Roethlisberger, 10th B.J. Symons). White and Fitzgerald each won three regions but the south and south-west were particularly unkind to Larry, he lost by over 100 points in those regions, which was essentially the difference.

White’s numbers weren’t bad or even average (3,846 yards, 40 touchdowns, 10 interceptions) but his Sooners had just been blasted by Kansas State in the Big XII title game and didn’t deserve their spot in the BCS title game. Besides, anyone who actually watched a game that season knew Fitzgerald was the best player in all of college football. Bar none. No question about it. And if stats are what get you going, Larry’s numbers from 2003 are even more impressive than White’s: 87 catches, 1,595 yards, 22 touchdowns and an NCAA record streak of 18 straight games with at least one touchdown.

So how are the two gentlemen doing these days?

Well, Fitzgerald was the No. 3 pick in the 2004 NFL Draft and just staked his claim to being the best receiver in the NFL after signing a four-year, $40 million extension last off season.

Jason White returned to OU for his senior year, got waxed in a second straight BCS title game, then wasn’t selected in the 2005 NFL Draft. White (who I’m sure is a wonderful guy) now runs an Oklahoma/Oklahoma State memorabilia store and a The Athlete’s Foot shoe store. I shit you not.

Somewhere, late Sunday night, Jason White sat in front of his television holding Larry Fitzgerald’s Heisman Trophy tight against his chest while rocking gently back and forth and trying to convince himself he actually earned it.

(Photo Courtesy of the SI Vault)

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  1. 6 Responses to “Somewhere Jason White Is Crying To Himself”

  2. Didn’t White show up for a while with the Titans, but then “retired” from football? I thought I remembered reading that bit of news on the bottom line of ESPNews when it happened. I could simply be confusing him with some other overhyped, couldn’t cut it Oklahoma quarterback of late.

    By MJenks on Feb 3, 2009

  3. Another factor in White beating out Fitzgerald was that White played for a national title contender, while Pitt’s team that year was “good,” but not great. I think they finished the regular season 8-4 and unranked.
    Heisman voters have always put way too much stock in the team’s overall record and performance when selecting a winner. Off the top of my head, the only Heisman winner I can recall (in my lifetime) who played for a “good not great” team was Tim Brown. But I’m sure the whole “Notre Dame” thing factored into that.

    By Mark D on Feb 3, 2009

  4. Yet more proof the press doesn’t deserve a vote on anything from the baseball HOF to the Heisman Trophy.

    By McD on Feb 3, 2009

  5. Another factor which hurt Fitzgerald: his final performance of the season against Miami. On national TV, Fitz had pedestrian numbers as Miami double-covered him with Antrelle Rolle and Sean Taylor, and he was a non-factor as Miami beat Pitt to clinch the 2003 Big East title. This was probably the one game of his that most Heisman voters watched all season, and it happened to be his worst game of the year. Which is not to excuse the Heisman voters, who tend to place to much emphasis on single games instead of an entire season…

    By Dave on Feb 3, 2009

  6. I’ve learned two things in the history of the Heisman. One is that the winner usually ‘deserves’ it for college performance and then sucks out loud in the pros.

    The other is that if it’s given to a QB, especially if they’re from the Big XII, they probably didn’t deserve it at all. Good luck out there Sam Bradford… Heh.

    By Santa Claustrophobia on Feb 3, 2009

  7. Looks Jason White was a great college quarterback now doubt about it. I have met him on several occasions and from what he has said is that he enjoys what he does. So everyone bashing him take a look at yourselfs and critique someone else.

    By Ferree on Sep 15, 2009

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