The Quick 10: The Non-Football Careers of 10 Heisman Winners

Amid controversy on Saturday, Auburn's Cam Newton was the 74th person to win the Heisman Trophy. Whether he'll make it in the NFL remains to be seen - some of the most promising Heisman winners failed to get drafted, played a season or two before getting the axe, or eschewed a bone-crunching professional football career for something a little less, um, painful. Here are 10 career options for Cam Newton if a career in the NFL doesn't work out.

1. Pro basketball player. Charlie Ward was the '93 Heisman winner and went on to have a pro sports career… just not one in football. When he wasn't selected as a first-round draft pick in the NFL, he decided to go with the NBA, which did choose him in the first round - the Knicks took him for the 26th pick. He played in the NBA until 2005, when he retired because of injuries. But you know what the really crazy thing is? Ward was also drafted as a pitcher for the Milwaukee Brewers in 1993 despite the fact that he didn't even pick up a baseball during his college career.

2. Pro baseball player. Although Charlie Ward didn't pursue a professional MLB career post-Heisman, someone else did - 1950 winner Vic Janowicz. He passed up the NFL to play with the Pittsburgh Pirates, but after two lackluster seasons with them, Janowicz came crawling back to football… and they took him. He played pro ball with the Washington Redskins until 1956, when he was in a car accident that ended his career. He later ended up in a government job, serving as an administrative assistant to the Ohio state auditor until his death in 1996.

3. FBI Agent. Davey O'Brien, the fourth-ever Heisman winner, did play a couple of seasons in the NFL after graduating from Texas Christian University. He could have continued - he led the NFL in passing yards as a rookie and got a sweet raise from the Philadelphia Eagles for his performance. So what cut his pro football career short? An offer from the FBI, of course. He worked there for 10 years, including as a firearms instructor at Quantico.

4. Counterfeiter. Granted, Billy Cannon, the player who took home the '59 trophy, played with the American Football League for nine years and the NFL with one year after that. But it's his post-football dalliances that made the most headlines.

In financial trouble after accruing some serious gambling debts and making bad real estate investments, Cannon got involved with counterfeiting in a big way. He printed millions in $100 bills and kept them in ice chests buried in the yard of one of his rental properties. He saw 2.5 years in prison for that, which really affected his orthodontist practice when he got out (seriously). He's 72 now, and as of last year, was working as a dentist at the Louisiana state pen (better known as Angola).

5. Playground Equipment Vendor. Eric Crouch, a Nebraska Cornhusker Heisman winner nine years ago, played in the NFL for a couple of years. It was a pretty ho-hum career, though - he left the St. Louis Rams before he ever played in a game, then signed with the Kansas City Chiefs only to be allocated to NFL Europe. He was signed with the All-American Football League in 2008, but when the League went bust later that year (well, sort of - the league says they're returning next year), Crouch finally called it quits. He now runs a playground and recreation equipment company in Omaha and does a little football analysis for Versus and a local station.

6. Actor. This blew my mind. Tom Harmon won the Heisman in 1940 and is considered one of the best - if not the best - Michigan football player to ever grace the gridiron. The following year he played himself in a biopic called Harmon of Michigan. But it didn't stop there. He married an actress named Elyse Knox, and they had three kids - one of whom is Mark Harmon. One of his daughters, Kristin, married Ricky Nelson of Ozzie and Harriet fame. Kristin and Ricky had twin boys named Matthew and Gunnar, whom you possibly remember as Nelson. Tom's other daughter, Kelly, married (and divorced) John DeLorean - as in the car maker DeLorean. Can you say weirdest holiday gathering ever? I'm fascinated by this family. I could do an entire Q10 just on the Harmon clan.

Anyway, Tom Harmon was an actor and voice-over artist, but he also had an amazing military career, earning the Purple Heart and the Silver Star. He actually played for the St. Louis Los Angeles Rams for a few years post-WWII, but his wartime injuries really hampered his speed and agility.

7. Owner of a The Athlete's Foot store. The 2003 Heisman winner Jason White failed to get drafted at all in 2005 and didn't even get a tryout for quite some time after. When he finally did get a call from the Kansas City Chiefs, they decided not to sign him. The Tennessee Titans eventually signed him, but White then decided to retire due to his weak knees. He now owns an Oklahoma and Oklahoma State memorabilia store and, yes, a The Athlete's Foot. He says he even occasionally does shoe fittings himself.

8. Financial Advisor. The 1992 winner Gino Torretta had an NFL career, but only saw gameplay once - a 1996 Seahawks vs. Raiders game. Despite throwing a 32-yard touchdown pass, he never played in another game and retired the following year. He found a job at Wachovia as a Senior Financial Advisor and now works at an asset management company.

9. CEO. You could say the 1958 Heisman winner has been pretty successful - not only did Pete Dawkins take home the trophy, he was a Rhodes Scholar, a Brigadier General and a partner at Lehman Brothers. He got out long before the recent bust, though - he became CEO of Primerica Financial Services in 1991.

10. Sportswriter and foam-rubber salesman. Seems like a natural progression, doesn't it? That's what first Heisman winner Jay Berwanger did. Although he was selected first in the NFL draft by the Philadelphia Eagles, Berwanger decided not to go that route, allegedly because they wouldn't pay him the amount of money he wanted. He instead became a part-time sportswriter for the Chicago Daily News, served in the military for a couple of years during WWII, and then became a foam-rubber salesman. That inspired him to start his own business, Jay Berwanger Inc., which makes plastic strips for cars, farm equipment and trunks to this day. Berwanger reportedly used his Heisman as a doorstop.

10 Sweet Facts About Candy Canes

The sweet and striped shepherd’s hooks can be found just about everywhere during the holiday season. It's time you learned a thing or two (or 10) about them.


While the origins of the candy cane are a bit murky, legend has it that they first appeared in hooked form around 1670. Candy sticks themselves were pretty common, but they really took shape when the choirmaster at the Cologne Cathedral in Germany got the bright idea of twisting them to look like shepherd’s hooks. He then handed them out to kids during church services to keep them quiet.


It’s no surprise, then, that it was a German immigrant who introduced the custom to America. The first reference we can find to the tradition stateside is 1847, when August Imgard of Wooster, Ohio, decked his home out with the sugary fare.


Candy canes without the red don’t seem nearly as cheery, do they? But that’s how they were once made: all white. We’re not really sure who or exactly when the scarlet stripe was added, but we do know that images on cards before the 1900s show snow white canes.


Most candy canes are around five inches long, containing only about 50 calories and no fat or cholesterol.


The world’s largest candy cane was built by Geneva, Illinois chef Alain Roby in 2012.  It was 51 feet long, required about 900 pounds of sugar, and was eventually smashed up with a hammer so people could take home a piece.


Fifty-four percent of kids suck on candy canes, compared to the 24 percent who just go right for the big crunch. As you may have been able to guess, of those surveyed, boys were nearly twice as likely to be crunchers.


According to the National Confectioners Association, about 1.2 billion candy canes are made annually, and 90 percent of those are sold between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Which honestly begs the question: Who’s buying the 10 percent in the off season?


Bobs (that’s right; no apostrophe) Candies was the first company to really hang its hat on the sweet, striped hook. Lt. Bob McCormack began making candy canes for his kids in the 1920s, and they were such a hit he decided to start mass-producing them. With the help of his brother-in-law, a Catholic priest named Gregory Harding Keller (and his invention, the Keller Machine), McCormack was eventually able to churn out millions of candy canes a day.


December 26 is National Candy Cane Day. Go figure.


Here’s how they make candy canes at Disneyland—it’s a painstaking (and beautiful) technique.

10 Actors Who Hated Their Own Films

1. Sylvester Stallone, Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot. Sly doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to his film career. Despite co-starring with the delightful Estelle Getty as the titular violence-prone mother, Stallone knows just how bad the film was:

"I made some truly awful movies. Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot was the worst. If you ever want someone to confess to murder, just make him or her sit through that film. They will confess to anything after 15 minutes."

2. Alec Guinness, Star Wars.

By the time he played Obi-Wan Kenobi in 1977’s Star Wars: A New Hope, Guinness had already appeared in cinematic classics like The Bridge on the River Kwai, Great Expectations and Lawrence of Arabia. During production, Guinness is reported to have said the following:

"Apart from the money, I regret having embarked on the film. I like them well enough, but it's not an acting job, the dialogue - which is lamentable - keeps being changed and only slightly improved, and I find myself old and out of touch with the young."

The insane amount of fame he won for the role as the wise old Jedi master took him somewhat by surprise and, ultimately, annoyed him. In his autobiography A Positively Final Appearance: A Journal, Guinness recalls a time he encountered an autograph-seeking fan who boasted to him about having watched Star Wars more than 100 times. In response, Guinness agreed to provide the boy an autograph under the condition that he promise never to watch the film again.

3. Bob Hoskins, Super Mario Brothers. He was in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?. As far as I’m concerned, Bob Hoskins is forgiven for Super Mario Bros. Hoskins, though, doesn’t seem to be able to forgive himself. Last year the Guardian spoke with the veteran actor about his career and he summed up his feelings rather succinctly:

What is the worst job you've done?
Super Mario Brothers.

What has been your biggest disappointment?
Super Mario Brothers.

If you could edit your past, what would you change?
I wouldn't do Super Mario Brothers.

4. George Clooney, Batman & Robin. Sure, Batman & Robin made money. But by every other imaginable measure, the film was a complete failure, and a nightmare to the vast majority of the Caped Crusader’s most fervent fanatics. Star George Clooney recognized what a stinker he helped create and once plainly stated, “I think we might have killed the franchise.”

5. David Cross, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked. When actors have a movie out, it's customary that they publicize the film by saying nice things about it. Earlier this year David Cross took a different approach. When it came to describing his new film Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, the veteran comedian — better known for Mr. Show and Arrested Development — went on Conan and called the film a “big commercial for Carnival Cruise Lines” and told people not to go see it.

6. Katherine Heigl, Knocked Up. Judd Apatow’s unplanned pregnancy comedy was a huge hit and helped cement her status as a bankable film actress. After the film’s release, however, Heigl didn’t have all good things to say. In fact, what she specifically said about it was that the film was:

"…A little sexist. It paints the women as shrews, as humorless and uptight, and it paints the men as lovable, goofy, fun-loving guys.”

7. Charlize Theron, Reindeer Games. The 2000 action film Reindeer Games starred Ben Affleck, Gary Sinese and Charlize Theron and was directed by John Frankenheimer. But it all somehow failed to come together. In the end the film lost a lot of money and compiled a wealth of negative reviews – including one from its star actress who simply said, “Reindeer Games was not a good movie.”

8. Mark Wahlberg, The Happening. Mark Wahlberg doesn’t exactly seem like a guy who lives his life afraid of trees. But that is the odd position M. Night Shyamalan’s 2008 film The Happening put him in. Wahlberg, as it turns out, doesn’t look back too fondly on the film. He went on record during a press conference for The Fighter when he described a conversation with a fellow actor:

"We had actually had the luxury of having lunch before to talk about another movie and it was a bad movie that I did. She dodged the bullet. And then I was still able to … I don’t want to tell you what movie … alright “The Happening.” F*** it. It is what it is. F***ing trees, man. The plants. F*** it. You can’t blame me for not wanting to try to play a science teacher. At least I wasn’t playing a cop or a crook."

9. John Cusack, Better Off Dead. John Cusack reportedly hated his cult 80s comedy so much that he walked out of the screening and later told the film’s director Steve Holland that Better Off Dead was "the worst thing I have ever seen" and he would "never trust you as a director again."

10 Christopher Plummer, The Sound of Music. The Sound of Music is considered a classic and has delighted many generations of fans. But the film's own lead actor, Christopher Plummer, didn't always sing its praises. Mr. Von Trapp himself declined to participate in a 2005 film reunion and, according to one acquaintance, has referred to the film as The Sound of Mucus.



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