One Great Season
Everything seemed to go about as well as expected during Heisman weekend here in New York City.
ESPN's face of college football, Chris Fowler, hosted a solid show Saturday night during which Auburn quarterback Cam Newton won the Heisman Trophy as expected.
Before the live broadcast began, perhaps no one knew whether to expect any awkward moments, but both the live and viewing audiences got exactly that when Fowler referenced the Reggie Bush scandal early in the show, and again when he touched on Newton's father, who, to the surprise of no one, was absent from the intimate ceremony.
ALSO: Did Cam Newton Steal Terrelle Pryor's Season?
But after that, it was pretty much smooth sailing from ESPN's side. The show went well the rest of the hour, except for a line during Newton's acceptance speech that "elicited a cascade of groans and snickers" in the press room, according to Sports Illustrated's Stewart Mandel.
"I'd like to thank my beautiful mother and my father," Newton said. "My parents do a lot of things behind the scenes that go unnoticed."
According to the biggest story in college football this fall, Newton's dad did at least one thing that hasn't gone unnoticed.
But the steady Fowler kept the show on the tracks, though it wasn't difficult to do considering ESPN had Auburn in its back pocket all week. The athletic department was faced with a no-win situation when ESPN's crew hounded Tigers officials for a sit-down with Newton when both parties were in Orlando for the College Football Awards Show. Fowler got the 20 minutes with Newton, not because Auburn was excited to do it, but because the school knew a Thursday session on tape was a far better option than an interview during Saturday's live Heisman broadcast.
Since Fowler had already asked the tough questions more than 48 hours earlier, and ESPN had repeated pieces of the interview on its many properties the last two days, there was no need for further dramatics on stage Saturday.
Fowler said as much to Mandel's SI colleague, Richard Deitsch, on Thursday, adding the only preclusion that would affect his tone as Saturday's host would be his own judgment.
As a result, the evening went off about as well as could have been expected.