The 2001 Heisman ceremony and banquet, featuring Nebraska’s Eric Crouch, was a particularly emotional one as it was just three months removed from the 9/11 attacks that devastated lower Manhattan.
Crouch, pictured above with members of the Fire Department of New York, later reflected back on his time in the wounded city:
“What was unique about my year was the Heisman seemed not to matter, because it was after 9/11. It was an emotional time coming here because after I won the award we went down to Ground Zero to visit the firefighters and the people that were still down there working hard who had lost a lot of their best friends. It was still burning, it was still on fire. It was quite the experience. I’ve got some tremendous photographs and memories from that time. But the first thing that I said was that the Heisman Trophy seemed not to matter and when I finally showed up at Ground Zero, it seemed to put a smile on people’s faces. So it really did matter and it meant a lot to those that were down there to get just a little bit of a break and for me to be able to thank them, too, for all their hard work.”
The catastrophic attacks hit home as well for the Downtown Athletic Club, which lost several member in the deluge. A page from that year’s Heisman program paid tribute: