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John Huarte
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Ten Straight Good Games

1964 Heisman winner John Huarte

John Huarte is living, breathing proof that the Heisman Trophy creates celebrity. Huarte spent the first three years of his Notre Dame career in anonymity. He spent his professional football career largely on the sideline. But between those two tryouts for the witness protection program, Huarte took Notre Dame to a 9-1 record and the brink of a national championship in 1964. For that, he won the Heisman. And he deserved to win. In that era, as the sport of football gathered steam toward overtaking baseball as the American sport, the Heisman had begun to heap not only celebrity on the winner, but expectations in pro football as well. Huarte did not meet them. That might have turned a different man sour. Huarte, in an interview with author Gordon S. White Jr. for the 2004 book "The Heisman," shrugged it off. "When people see the players who would have won the Heisman that year -- [Joe] Namath, [Gale] Sayers, [Tucker] Frederickson, [Dick] Butkus, etc.-- they say, who am I to slip in there?" Huarte said. "But just because you win the Heisman doesn't mean you're supposed to be a great pro. I won because I was able to put together 10 straight good games." As the years passed, so did the notion that Huarte "slipped" in to win the Heisman. After the opinion faded, the fact remained: John Huarte won the 1964 Heisman.
-- Ivan Maisel

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