It's not too often in sports when in the moment, you realize just how special a season or a performance has been. For LSU, Jacob Hester's touchdown run to beat Florida 28-24 in 2007 comes to mind. Tyrann Mathieu's magical 2011 season that left him planted in Tiger folklore forever also comes to mind.
Senior quarterback Joe Burrow can be added to this list as his legendary 2019 season for LSU was capped off Saturday by becoming the second Tiger, behind the late great Billy Cannon, to take home the Heisman Trophy.
His win, much like his 2019 season, was historic. Burrow's 90.7% of first-place votes broke Troy Smith's 2006 record (86.7%). His 1,868 total points led to the largest margin of victory in the Heisman era. His 93.8% of possible points also beat out Smith.
Whether it was breaking the SEC records for yards (4,715) and touchdowns (48) or scrambling in the pocket against Georgia only to hit receiver Justin Jefferson for a 71-yard pickup or trotting out to 102,000 of the LSU faithful on senior night with "Burreaux" stitched to the back of his jersey, the young man from the Plains, Ohio, who came to Baton Rouge just looking for a chance, found something even more profound.
A place he can call home and a community he can call family.
"I'd like to thank Louisiana, the entire state," Burrow said. "Just a kid from Ohio coming down and chasing a dream and the entire state has welcomed me and my family with open arms and invited us to be native Louisianans."
Saturday's Heisman ceremony represented all of the hard work that Burrow and this 2019 undefeated LSU team has put in to making this one of the more memorable seasons in SEC history. Burrow himself said as much in his acceptance speech.
"First I want to thank my o-line," Burrow said holding back tears. "Saahdiq, Adrian, Ed, Lloyd, D-Lew, Austin, Badara, Thad, those guys have been unbelievable all year and I couldn't have done it without them. I have so many weapons on the outside, Terrace, Ja'Marr, Justin. All of my teammates have supported me and welcomed me with open arms and just welcoming as brothers and it's been awesome."
Burrow beat out Oklahoma's Jalen Hurts and Ohio State's Justin Fields and Chase Young but didn't take long to commend the three on an outstanding job for leading their teams into the College Football Playoff. The Tigers square off with Hurts' Sooners on Dec. 28 in the Peach Bowl, a trip to the National Championship on the line.
"I think the story of this Heisman trophy is that we have three transfers who have all had different stories, three great players who have pushed through adversity," Burrow said. "It's awesome hearing their stories and sharing this weekend with them."
During his Heisman speech, a side of Burrow was seen that is not all too common. For a guy who keeps his emotions close to the vest, the senior broke into tears when addressing the man who breathed new life into his career.
"Coach O, you have no idea what you mean to my family," Burrow said. "I'm forever grateful for you. You took a chance on me not knowing if I could play or not. I sure hope they give him a lifetime contract because he deserves it."
It was a night that like Burrow on stage, didn't leave a dry eye at the ceremony or in the homes of Tiger fans all over Louisiana watching.
But make no mistake, this doesn't mark the end of Burrow's legacy in Baton Rouge. There’s still plenty left to accomplish.
"There’s still more chapters to be written," Burrow said. “I just try to leave a legacy of hard work and preparation and leadership wherever I go, and I hope I leave people with a kind taste in their mouth when they have memories of me. The support from everyone means a lot, and it shows that I’ve worked hard everywhere I’ve been.”
For more coverage on Burrow’s Heisman win, visit the following stories: