NEW YORK — Robert Griffin III was working on about 4½ hours’ sleep after catching an early flight from Florida to New York on Friday.
Not that he was complaining. Griffin will trade sleep deprivation for a chance to bring Baylor its first Heisman Trophy any day.
“This is what it is if you’re going to play well and your team is doing great things,” he said.
The Bears’ thrilling dual-threat quarterback was one of four Heisman finalists to arrive in New York on Friday, along with Louisiana State University defensive back Tyrann Mathieu and running backs Trent Richardson, of Alabama, and Montee Ball, from Wisconsin.
Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck was in Baltimore receiving the Johnny Unitas Award and is scheduled to arrive in Manhattan this morning, about 12 hours before the Heisman will be presented.
Griffin and the other finalists came straight from the college football award shows in Orlando, Fla., on Thursday night, where he picked up the Davey O’Brien award as the nation’s best quarterback.
Luck entered the season as the Heisman front-runner after turning down a chance to be the first pick in the NFL Draft to return to Stanford for one more season.
He was excellent, passing for 3,170 yards and 35 touchdowns for BCS-bound Cardinal (11-1).
But on the way to what seemed like an enviable Heisman victory, Griffin might have passed Luck with a memorable closing month, highlighted by victories against Oklahoma and Texas.
Griffin and the Bears beat Texas 48-24 on Saturday in Waco, Texas, to finish the season 9-3, Baylor’s first nine-win season in 25 years. Lifting Baylor from the doldrums – along with passing for 3,998 yards and 36 touchdowns – is a big part of why Griffin is expected to break a Heisman trend tonight.
Seven of the past eight winners, including Reggie Bush who later vacated the title, played in the BCS national championship game, like Mathieu and Richardson will. The Southeastern Conference rivals meet again Jan. 9 in New Orleans.