Sunday, February 9, 2020

Heisman Heritage: The Express

With football season officially over now (Congratulations Kansas City Chiefs) I wanted to look back at some famous black athletes who impacted the NFL.  This will be done each Sunday for the rest of the month.

Today's black card as part of my new monthly series for Black History Month is a 2011 Topps Heritage Black Chrome Refractor.

 Black Refractors of Pirates players are an annual treasure hunt for me each year in Topps Heritage.

The 2011 Heritage product is based on the 1962 design.

1962 was a significant year in that it saw the first African-American athlete to win a Heisman Trophy to be drafted in the NFL.
 Ernie Davis attended Syracuse University and was the first Heisman Trophy Winner to not be white.
 In 1961 the Elmira Express lead all college backs in yards.

The following year he was drafted 1st overall by the Washington Redskins then was traded to the Cleveland Browns.
During the summer of 1962, Brown was diagnosed with Leukemia.  He past away in 1963 at age 23 without ever appearing in a game.

The Browns have retired his number 45 jersey.

Today he is forever enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame.
 A statue was resurrected as a remembrance for the great and courageous Brown.
A feature length film starring Rob Brown and Dennis Quaid was created to tell the tragic and inspiring story of Ernie Davis.


  1. Thanks for featuring Davis. It’s such a tragic story. 1962 was a good choice. I figured you might have done something with 44.

  2. Didn't realize Davis attended Syracuse. One of my former students is a junior there. I'll have to quiz her on her knowledge of Mr. Davis.