Sam Bradford came back to college to go undefeated and win another Heisman, instead he'll sit on the sidelines
Adam on 09 8, 2009
I’ll be honest; I didn’t even watch most of this game. But I can tell you all you need to know about it from the part I did see, the final quarter. Flipping lazily around the channels I suspected that I had not missed anything besides Oklahoma pounding BYU. When I finally switched the game on the score was the first thing to stun me. Then the sight of Sam Bradford on the sideline in street clothes made me do one of those spastic body jerks. The kind where you are simultaneously looking for your phone to alert your buddies, and trying to lift yourself out of the body divot you’ve created on your futon.
To most the story of this game is about Oklahoma having its title hopes incinerated in their very first game. That is no doubt a compelling storyline, but more fascinating is the utter misfortune of Sam Bradford.
Last year Bradford won the Heisman Trophy, led perhaps the most prolific offense in college football history, and came up just short of beating the deified Tim Tebow in a head to head duel for the championship. To use a cliché his stock could not have been higher if he had entered the draft last year. He may well have gone number one overall, and certainly would have been a top ten pick.
Despite the allure of instant riches Bradford made the difficult choice to return to college. He chose the passion of Saturdays over the glory of Sundays. He made a choice that few young men have the discipline and patience to make.
Bradford turned down a mega contract for the dream of a second Heisman Trophy and a first national title. Now it seems abundantly clear that he will get neither. Heisman Trophies can’t be won missing 2-4 games, and championships are almost never won after an opening loss to a clearly inferior opponent.
The message in this situation is unfortunate but pragmatic. Bradford chose to dream rather than be rational. He had already won a Heisman, he was runner up in the title game, and was a sure fire top draft pick. He didn’t come back to school to go 9-3 and have a solid season. He came back to go undefeated, win the championship, and outduel Colt McCoy and Tim Tebow along the way. In other words he gambled a sure NFL payday for the chance at a perfect college season.
Bradford decided to chase a place in history, and a spot amongst the best college football players of all time. What he got was a lesson in reality that will nag him until next April’s NFL Draft. He may recover, have a good season, and again be a top draft pick. It’s hard to imagine though that he will recapture the status he enjoyed at the end of last year.
I think at this moment Sam Bradford might benefit from the words of famous philosopher Soren Kierkegaard. He said “Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards.” Going forward Sam Bradford will have to forget about what could have been, and remember that a guarantee is a terrible thing to waste.