Prior to the 2004 college football season, the Manning Award was created by the Allstate Sugar Bowl in honor of the college football accomplishments of Archie, Peyton and Eli Manning. It is the only college football quarterback award that includes the candidates’ bowl performances in its balloting; therefore, it is presented annually following the completion of the bowl season. The winner is selected by a panel of national media covering college football, as well as each of the Mannings.
Oklahoma star Baker Mayfield was selected as the 2017 winner of the Manning Award, presented by the Allstate Sugar Bowl to the top quarterback in the nation. Mayfield is the first Oklahoma Sooner and the first former walk-on to win the honor.
Mayfield, who led the Sooners to a 12-2 record and the College Football Playoff Semifinals, led the nation in total quarterback rating (92.6), completion percentage (70.5), passing efficiency rating (198.9, breaking his own FBS record), yards per pass attempt (11.5) and pass plays of 20-plus yards (79). He also ranked second in passing touchdowns (43) and passing yards (4,627) and fifth in total offense (352.7 ypg). He also won the Heisman Trophy, the Walter Camp Player of the Year Award and the Maxwell Award.
The Austin, Texas, native completed 285-of-404 passes this year and had career-highs in passing yards and touchdowns while throwing just six interceptions. He has also rushed for 311 yards and another five scores with no fumbles lost and caught a touchdown pass.
Mayfield completed his career having thrown a TD pass in a Big 12-record 40 consecutive games (every contest of his OU career), which is the third-longest streak in FBS history. He also threw at least two TD passes in an FBS-record 27 straight contests (83 TDs to 14 interceptions during the stretch).
The Sooners won three consecutive Big 12 titles with Mayfield under center. In addition to making two College Football Playoff Semifinal appearances, they also advanced to the 2017 Allstate Sugar Bowl, defeating Auburn, 35-19, behind an MVP performance from Mayfield. Mayfield is the third Miller-Digby Award winner (Most Outstanding Player of the Allstate Sugar Bowl) to win the Manning Award, joining LSU’s JaMarcus Russell (2006 Manning Award, 2007 Miller-Digby Award) and Florida’s Tim Tebow (2008 Manning Award, 2010 Miller-Digby Award).
Other finalists for the 2017 Manning Award were: J.T. Barrett (Ohio State), Kelly Bryant (Clemson), Sam Darnold (USC), Jalen Hurts (Alabama), Lamar Jackson (Louisville), Trace McSorley (Penn State), McKenzie Milton (UCF), Mason Rudolph (Oklahoma State), Jarrett Stidham (Auburn) and Khalil Tate (Arizona).
In addition to the Manning Award’s yearly honor, each week during the regular season, eight quarterbacks are recognized as Manning Quarterbacks of the Week. Sixty-three players from 60 different schools were honored during the 2017 season.
In its first 14 years, the Manning Award has recognized the top names in college football. It has honored quarterbacks from 12 different schools and from four different conferences. The Big 12 Conference (Mayfield, Vince Young, Colt McCoy and Robert Griffin III) joins the Southeastern Conference (Johnny Manziel, Cam Newton, JaMarcus Russell and Tim Tebow) and the Atlantic Coast Conference (Deshaun Watson twice, Matt Ryan and Jameis Winston) with four Manning Award winners each, while Texas is the only school with two different winners (McCoy and Young).
Statistically, the Manning Award has seen a wide-range of quarterbacks. Eleven of the Manning Award men threw for over 3,000 yards in their winning campaign, including 4,000-yard seasons from Mayfield, Griffin III, Marcus Mariota, Ryan, Watson (twice) and Winston. On the other hand, Watson (in 2015), Young, Manziel and Newton were all 1,000-yard rushers during their Manning years.
Perhaps most impressive among the statistics of the quarterbacks recognized by the Manning Award is touchdowns scored. Nine of the winners accounted for over 40 touchdowns during their successful seasons – Mariota tallied a Manning Award-best 58 touchdowns during his winning campaign in 2014.
One of the more unique aspects of the Manning Award is the fact that it takes account of the quarterbacks’ bowl performances, in addition to the regular season. Twelve of the 14 Manning Award winners won bowl games during the season they won the honor. Nine Manning Award honorees led their teams to the CFP Semifinals or a BCS Championship game appearance (Matt Leinart, Mariota, Mayfield, McCoy, Newton, Tebow, Watson, Winston and Young). Six won national championships (Leinart, Newton, Tebow, Watson, Winston and Young).
Previous Manning Award winners have also factored prominently in the NFL Draft as they all heard their names called on Draft Day (except for Mayfield, who will be eligible for the 2018 NFL Draft). Three honorees were selected No. 1 overall (Newton, Russell and Winston), while four others went No. 2 or No. 3 (Griffin, Mariota, Ryan and Young).
All the Manning Award winners follow in the footsteps of the Mannings themselves. In college, Archie, Peyton and Eli Manning combined for over 25,000 passing yards and 201 touchdowns while playing in 10 bowl games and earning four bowl MVP awards. Archie was the No. 2 pick in the NFL Draft, while both Peyton and Eli were selected No. 1 overall.