The Heisman Trophy, one of the highest individual awards in American college football, has been awarded 75 times since its creation in 1935, including 74 individual winners and one two-time winner (the 2005 award was declared vacant subsequent to it having been awarded, so only 73 individuals are officially recognized as having won the award). The trophy is given annually to the most outstanding college football player in the National Collegiate Athletic Association, and is awarded by the The Heisman Trust, successors of the awards from the Downtown Athletic Club at an annual ceremony at the Nokia Theatre in New York City.
In 1935, the award, then known as the DAC Trophy, was created by New York City's Downtown Athletic Club to recognize the best college football player "east of the Mississippi River". In that inaugural year, the award went to Jay Berwanger from the Chicago Maroons. Berwanger was later drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles of the National Football League but declined to sign for them. He never played professional football for any team, instead choosing to pursue a career in business. In 1936, the club's athletic director, football pioneer John Heisman, died and the trophy was renamed in his honor. Larry Kelley, the second winner of the award, was the first person to win it as the "Heisman Trophy". In addition to the name change, the award also became a nationwide achievement. With the new name, players west of the Mississippi became eligible, though the first player from the western United States was not selected until 1938. Only one player, Archie Griffin of the Ohio State Buckeyes, has won the award more than once.
Between 1936 and 2001, the award was given at an annual gala ceremony at the Downtown Athletic Club in New York City. The Downtown Athletic Club's facilities were damaged during the September 11, 2001 attacks. Due to financial difficulties stemming from the damage, the DAC declared bankruptcy in 2002, turning over its building to creditors. Following the club's bankruptcy and the loss of the original Downtown Athletic Club building, the Yale Club of New York City assumed presenting honors in 2002 and 2003. The ceremony was moved to the New York Marriott Marquis in Times Square for the 2002, 2003, and 2004 presentations, but since 2005, the event has been held at the Nokia Theatre Times Square. The move to the Nokia Theatre allowed the Downtown Athletic Club (and ultimately, the award's successor, The Heisman Trust) to resume full control of the event—the most prominent example of which was the return of the official portraits of past winners—despite the loss of the original presentation hall.[[|]]
In terms of balloting, the fifty states of the U.S. are split into six regions, and six regional representatives are selected to appoint voters in their states (the regions include the Far West, the Mid Atlantic, Mid West, North East, South, and South West). Each region has 145 media votes, for a total of 870 votes. In addition, all previous Heisman winners may vote, and one final vote is counted through public balloting. The Heisman ballots contain a 3-2-1 point system, in which each ballot ranks the voter's top three players and awards them three points for a first-place vote, two points for a second-place vote, and one point for a third-place vote. The points are tabulated, and the player with the highest total of points across all ballots wins the Heisman Trophy.
*Reggie Bush's 2005 trophy was vacated