Exclusive Q&A: Two-time Heisman winner Archie Griffin
Former NFL veteran Archie Griffin, the only player to ever win the Heisman Trophy twice, recently sat down with AOL Sports to discuss the initiative among other football topics.
Q: How did you get involved with the Wendy's High School Heisman program?
A: It was a long time ago, 22 years ago, when we started it. Dave Thomas, the Wendy's founder, had a real concern for young people and wanted to make sure they were getting recognized for outstanding things they were doing in the classrooms, courts and fields and in the community. We teamed up with the Heisman Trophy Trust in New York and they came up with this, where they honor high school seniors for accomplishments. That's how it came together. Over those 22 years, 600,000 students have been recognized with the program -- and it's going strong.
Q: Which sports does this encompass?
A: You've got to participate in at least one sport and it has to be sanctioned by the National Federation of High School Sports. If you participate in one of those, you can qualify and have to have a B GPA or better -- and be involved in the community.
Q: When thinking about today's state of affairs with high school sports, media has become a major part of them -- books being written, movies been made, games in high-definition on television. Do you think the exposure is a good thing?
A: Well, it's always good to recognize folks for accomplishments, but my former coach Woody Hayes said, 'for every bit of good, there's a bit of bad.'
So here, sometimes it can be a false sense of how good you really are. There are tons and tons of high schools across the country and when you recruit all these kids to come to your schools, it's a gamble about how good they really are.
Q: Do you think the voters had it right with the three Heisman finalists?
A: Yes, but you can count three or four more who had Heisman seasons. I think of Baker Mayfield, Ezekiel Elliott, all those guys, they had those types of seasons. But with the three they had, they were on target. They were terrific players and representatives of the sport.
Q: Did Derrick Henry deserve it?
A: He had a great year, where he manned the workload for Alabama. He also averaged 180 yards a game against the SEC, which is the toughest competition.
Q: Over the past year, watching Ohio State, for you it must have been tough. If they won that Michigan State game, do they belong in top four?
A: I don't think they wouldn't have been left out. They deserved it. But they'd have to win that Big 10 championship game as well. That Michigan game hampered them. There's three other teams that have one loss and, quite frankly, in the back of my mind, I think you got three teams with one loss in, so why not give the defending champs with one loss a shot to retain their championship? It's crazy.
But I think Ohio State had a great season. They're playing in a great Bowl game, so they have a lot to be proud of. In four years, they lost four games. That's pretty incredible. They got all kinds of reasons to be proud of their accomplishments. It's hard to repeat as national champions, but unfortunately the one loss they had, it was against a team that's in the playoff competition. I guess it's a good loss, if there is one. It is what it is. You move on, play the best you can in the Bowl game and end the season on a good note.