Hangin’ with a Heisman Trophy Winner


After football greats retire, they often earn extra income representing car companies or car rental companies. In fact, back in 1989 I actually met the infamous football great O.J. Simpson at a California travel industry event in Sacramento when he received a hospitality award for representing Hertz Car Rental. Interestingly enough, he was a Heisman Trophy winner. This blog, however, is about another Heisman recipient.

Tony Dorsett is the only player in history (along with former running back Marcus Allen) who has won the Heisman Trophy, Super Bowl,  College National Championship, been enshrined in the College Hall of Fame, and in the Pro Football Hall Of Fame. Dorsett is considered one of the greatest running backs in college football history and helped lead the University of Pittsburgh to a national title in 1976. He was a three-time First-team All-American (1973, 1975, 1976) and was ranked #7 on ESPN’s Top 25 Players In College Football History list.

His professional career as a Dallas Cowboy and Denver Bronco was also special as he recorded 12,733 yards and 77 touchdowns in his 12-year career. Dorsett also had 13 receiving scores and a fumble recovery for a touchdown. What many remember to this day is his spectacular run for the Cowboys on January 3, 1983. During a Monday Night Football  game, Dorsett ran for a 99-yard touchdown against the Minnesota Vikings. It was and is the longest run from scrimmage in NFL history.

With a storied football career like that, when I saw Dorsett autographing mini footballs for fans on behalf of Alamo Rent A Car, I knew I had to go over and introduce myself. As it was usual for me in the 1990’s, I was at a travel show somewhere and so was Dorsett. During a lunch break when the exhibit hall was mostly empty, I walked up and said hello. Since few people were around, I had the opportunity to spend 5-10 minutes talking with the football great. Being a sports fan and having seen his spectacular runs on television, it was pretty cool hanging out with him if even for a short period of time. Dorsett was relaxed, down-to-earth, and friendly as we spoke mostly about his representation for Alamo.

It had only been five or six years since his retirement prior to the 1989 season, and he looked like he could still play. Around that time, Dorsett was being recognized for his accomplishments on the field, having been elected to both the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the College Football Hall of Fame in 1994. In 1999, he was ranked number 53 on The Sporting News’ list of the 100 Greatest Football Players.

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