Austin | Dallas | Houston
Beyond the Boxscore

Heisman winner Robert Griffin III threatens to make Ken Starr cool with his Superman socks, Black Jesus denial

News_Chris Baldwin_managing editor_arms crossed

Certain people just have charisma — and with Robert Griffin III, it practically oozes from his every pore. The newly minted Heisman Trophy winner didn't just rock those Superman socks on his big trophy night in New York City.

He made Andrew Luck, an ultra polished 22-year-old who played his high school football in Houston, somehow look like a hayseed from the West Virginia sticks in comparison.

But none of that stood as the height of Griffin's marquee moment smoothness Saturday night. No, that came when he dropped the name of the uncoolest man in America and somehow made it seem natural.

Yes, RG3 thanked Ken Starr in his Heisman speech. Starr — Baylor University's uptight president, the man who tried to run Bill Clinton out of the White House for sex acts, and the man who tried to sue Texas A&M for wanting to leave the Big 12 for a better conference — received some Heisman love.

 Blue Superman socks complete with their own red capes? Hilarious and light hearted. Getting compared to Jesus? Too much. 

It worked too, because it came from Griffin III. He's changing everything about Baylor, making people not even cringe when they think of taking a visit to Waco (OK, maybe there's still a little cringe, even "Black Jesus" as ESPN host Chris Fowler referred to Griffin III during the ESPN show has his limits. It's still Waco).

About the Black Jesus thing. RG3 wants you to know he's not down with that. When Fowler dropped that as one of his nicknames (Sports Illustrated actually brought it to prominence in a long feature on Baylor's quarterback earlier this year), Griffin III all but waved it off.

"No, come on," Griffin III said. "Come on."

That's Griffin III. He has just the right touch. Blue Superman socks complete with their own red capes? Hilarious and light hearted. Getting compared to Jesus? Too much.

Griffin III is the first Texas high school player to win the Heisman Trophy since Ty Detmer in 1990. But this was more of a win for charisma and star power than Texas. For the second straight year, the most exciting player in America won college football's biggest award — with RG3 following Cam Newton.

While Griffin III doesn't carry any of Newton's baggage (Starr probably would have volunteered to investigate the former Auburn quarterback too if anyone would have let him), he figures to be just as good of a pro player. In fact, Newton's success as a rookie this year will probably boost the draft status of this next dual-threat quarterback.

No Luck

RG3 will still go behind Luck, who's destined to be the No. 1 pick of the Indianapolis Colts, but there's little comparison between the two in 2011 college star power. If anything the second-place Luck finished closer behind Griffin III than he should have — 280 points back.

Then again, University of Houston quarterback Case Keenum not even placing in the Top 5 shows how backwards the voting can be — even when the right guy wins the trophy. Keenum came in seventh with 10 first-place votes and 123 total points, compared to 247 first-place votes and 1,407 total points for Luck. This despite the fact that both Luck and Keenum lost the biggest game they played and Keenum put up better passing stats with less talent around him.

 University of Houston quarterback Case Keenum not even placing in the Top 5 shows how backwards the voting can be — even when the right guy wins the trophy. 

And let's not even get into Stanford coach David Shaw's desperate attempts to sway Heisman voters by convincing them that his quarterback really coached the team too. You don't think Keenum called a lot of plays at the line in Kevin Sumlin's offense? Please.

Still, it's hard to get too upset over anything with Griffin III hoisting the 25-pound showcase trophy.

"Well, now that my socks are out there," Griffin III said after lifting up his suit pants to reveal those blue Supermans, "I've got nothing to lose."

This is a character with high character. The guy sporting dreadlocks is a military kid (both his mom and his dad) who made the honor roll every semester in college and graduated in three years with a degree in political science. The NCAA built an ad campaign around Griffin's success as a true student-athlete before the Heisman became even a remote possibility. Starr, who was in the audience in New York, is pushing RG3 to go to law school someday.

And he would have played his football at the University of Houston if former Cougars coach Art Briles hadn't left UH for Baylor, causing RG3 to follow.

"They told me I couldn't play quarterback," Griffin III said of the more marquee schools like the University of Texas, the ones who didn't have Briles' belief in No. 10. "This is unbelievably believable," Griffin III said after he'd been announced as the Heisman winner, after his socks had already enjoyed their moment in the spotlight.

These days, stars can come from anywhere. Even Baylor. Sports are better off for that.

Newsletters for exploring your city

Daily Digest

Houston news, views + events

The Dining Report

News you can eat

Insider Offers

Curated experiences at exclusive prices

Promo Alerts

Special offers + exclusive deals

We will not share or sell your email address

HTX Good Eats 2014