How have Heisman Trophy Winners Performed in the MediaSince we’re mediaQuant, we’ll look at the actual media metrics behind these star football athletes.  I didn’t really have a theory as to how they should perform across different media channels, but they’ve been given all the media attention a brand could ask for…but what did they do with it after walking away with the most coveted trophy in college football?

I selected 6 Heisman Trophy winners from the past 6 years, all quarterbacks, with the exception of the 2014 winner, all are currently in the NFL (in some capacity).  The one obvious omission is Jameis Winston, the controversial quarterback from Florida State who just announced that he would enter the 2015 NFL Draft.

First, lets compare these players at the current Media Signal values, i.e. who’s the most prominent player across all media channels this month?

Tim Tebow, currently in-active on the New England Patriots, is the current Media Signal leader at 68 points, up +5 points over the prior month.  But notice is CUME value (weighted 4-year growth metric).  CUME values show media value build over time, and how it is accumulating for the brand, trend or influencer.  In the case of Tim Tebow, he’s pulling the lowest media momentum (+7%) among his Heisman peers.

The latest Heisman winner, Marcus Mariota, who just a few weeks ago announced he would be entering the 2015 NFL Draft, is at a respectable 52, down -16 points from his College Bowl high of 68.

Looking at the players side-by-side gives a good idea of how they’ve performed over time in the media.  Manziel and Griffin suffered the most dramatic media declines due to a combination of injuries and inactive play during the season.  Cam Newton showed some of the most consistent media gains, with strong momentum after recovering from a 2 year decline.  And without even a foot in the NFL yet, Marcus Mariota shows consistent and steady increase in media visibility going in the 2015 NFL Draft.

I’m going to throw into the mix some non-Heisman Trophy players that are pulling amazing media numbers in the NFL.  First up is Richard Sherman, the defensive end on the Seahawks.  He’s been able to maintain his media position during the off-season, even though he rarely gives interviews and is somewhat abrasive with the media.  Sherman’s most impressive numbers are clearly his rank change within the NFL, but also across all Male Athletes.  He’s currently ranked #6 in the NFL and #24 across all male athletes in our database.  The Richard Sherman “brand” also hit a new high coming off the NFC Championship victory.

And just to show that the Heisman Trophy is not a quarterback’s ticket to media prominence, here’s fellow Seahawk teammate Russell Wilson and his corresponding Media Signal numbers.  The two players are tied at #6 in the NFL media rankings, although Richard Sherman has shown the most rank change over time.  Russell Wilson is having an amazing media momentum period, +68% in the current period.  Wilson’s CUME value is at 18% versus Sherman’s 41%.

What do these numbers show?  Heisman Trophy winners are not guaranteed a media platform.  Some winners have managed to leverage their early prominence into continued coverage, yet without the media momentum that only solid on-field time can deliver (i.e. Cam Newton, Russell Wilson, Richard Sherman, etc.).  The exception appears to be Johnny Manziel who draws a lot of off-season and off-the-field media attention – both intentional and sometimes unintentional.

What do you think?  Some of the strongest historical media signal values (Tony Romo at 72, Tim Tebow at 79 and Peyton Manning at 76) are very difficult to achieve in the crowded professional athlete category.  With a strong showing in the upcoming Super Bowl, both Russell Wilson and Richard Sherman could break into the coveted 70 point club.