Heisman Trophy festivities in New York City

Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III, of Baylor, smiles during a news conference after the ceremony, Saturday, Dec. 10, 2011, in New York.

NEW YORK — Like a famous actor with his billboard on Times Square, Robert Griffin was chauffeured around Manhattan in a limousine Saturday night.

That’s fitting because Baylor’s quarterback is the leading man in college football right now.

By winning the Heisman Trophy, Griffin achieved a lifelong dream. The whole Broadway experience seemed a bit surreal to this son of hard-working military parents from Copperas Cove.

Tonight, Griffin will present the Top Ten list on the “Late Show with David Letterman.”

“It’s amazing,” Griffin said. “You feel like you’re in a movie or a dream. I’m going to wake up and I’ll be back in Waco and getting ready to go to practice. And I’ll say, ‘Was I asleep for five days? What’s going on here?’ ”

Griffin said the limousine ride was the first of his life, and he shared it with fiancee Rebecca Liddicoat and sister DeJon Griffin. The other Heisman Trophy finalists were also on board, including Alabama running back Trent Richardson, Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, LSU defensive back Tyrann Mathieu and Wisconsin running back Montee Ball.

The limo was supplied by Heisman officials, and Griffin loved sharing his luxury ride for four hours as Saturday night turned into Sunday morning. 

“We told each other before the Heisman ceremony that we wanted to enjoy the moment together,” Griffin said. “So we decided that the guy who won would pick the others up. We drove around the city for sure. The limo driver was cool.”

By Sunday morning, the magnitude of winning Baylor’s first Heisman Trophy still hadn’t sunk in. Griffin said that could take awhile, and he’s anxious to get back with his teammates to prepare for Washington in the Alamo Bowl on Dec. 29 in San Antonio.

“It might take a couple of months before it sinks in,” Griffin said. “But I’m looking forward to going to the bowl game and getting back with the team. I miss those guys. I think we’re going to celebrate.”

Prepared as usual

During the entire Heisman Trophy presentation show Saturday night at Best Buy Theater in Times Square, Griffin looked as cool and collected as he does in a game when pass rushers are bearing down on him.

But like game preparation, Griffin arrived at the presentation with a well polished acceptance speech.

“He practiced his speech like he does everything,” said his mother, Jacqueline Griffin. “We heard it all and he asked our opinion about it, so we knew what it was going to entail. It brought tears to my eyes.”

Though Griffin came into the night as the Heisman favorite, Jacqueline said she was nervous when she walked into Best Buy Theater.

“I was fine until I got into the building,” Jacqueline said. “We really thought he would win. But when they said they were about to make the announcement, my heart really started beating fast. When they announced his name, I was at peace.”

Griffin gave an eloquent speech as he thanked his parents and recognized Baylor coach Art Briles and his staff. He gave credit to his teammates and made it clear that they were responsible for him winning the Heisman.

He recognized Baylor, Waco and his hometown of Copperas Cove. It was a succinct speech, but Griffin covered every base. Robert Griffin Jr. was proud to see his son put so much heart into his speech.

“I’m glad he thought about his speech,” Griffin Jr. said. “I felt he included everybody and shared something personal with the team, which was tremendous.”

Griffin’s parents also got to ride in a second limousine provided by Heisman officials.

Seconds after Griffin was announced as the winner, the Baylor women’s basketball team received a text message with the good news. Attending a Broadway play of Spiderman, the players erupted into a big cheer when they got the word.

“It was the perfect time because people in the theater were cheering for Spiderman,” Baylor’s Brittney Griner said. “I yelled RG3.”

The Lady Bears knocked off St. John’s, 73-59, on Sunday afternoon at Madison Square Garden.

Griffin will be formally presented to the public as the Heisman Trophy winner at a banquet tonight in New York City. Then he’ll return to Waco on Tuesday morning to get back to practice with his teammates.

What the future holds for Griffin beyond the Alamo Bowl is still uncertain. He said that winning the Heisman wouldn’t sway his decision either way whether to go to the NFL or return for his senior year at Baylor.

But for now, he’s going to enjoy his extended stay in New York City as the newest Heisman Trophy winner.

“It cements you in history forever, but it’s not just myself,” Griffin said. “It’s Baylor University, so we’ll have a picture in that hall that was never there.”


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