Notre Dame great Paul Hornung auctioning off 1956 Heisman Trophy


Mike Vorel
South Bend Tribune

You don't have to win a Heisman Trophy to own a Heisman Trophy — as long as you're willing to pay.

Notre Dame great Paul Hornung will auction off his 1956 Heisman Trophy in the 2017 Goldin Auctions Premium Live & Online Spring Auction, which takes place on May 20 at the NYY Steakhouse in New York City. The minimum bid is $75,000 while the current estimate for the trophy is $250,000.

Hornung, 81, earned the award given annually to college football's premier player despite Notre Dame's 2-8 record in 1956. The 6-foot-2, 205-pound quarterback from Louisville, Ky., completed 59 of 111 passes (53.2 percent) for 917 yards with three touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He also rushed for 420 yards, notched 559 return yards and intercepted two passes on defense.

Hornung remains the only player from a losing team ever to win a Heisman Trophy, edging out Tennessee's John Majors and Oklahoma's Tom McDonald for the honor.

 The first overall pick in the 1957 NFL Draft, Hornung went on to lead the NFL in scoring for the Green Bay Packers in 1959, 1960 and 1961. As a Packer halfback, he won five NFL titles and accumulated 3,711 rushing yards, 1,480 receiving yards and 62 touchdowns in his 10-year professional career. Hornung was elected into the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame in 1985 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1986.

It's worth noting that the specific trophy that will be auctioned off on May 20 is actually one of four Heisman trophies that were made for Hornung. All four are identical in size and weight (just over 44 pounds). One of those trophies is on display at Notre Dame, while another resides at the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame. A third was previously auctioned and is currently displayed at "The Stadium," a restaurant and sports museum in Garrison, NY.

The trophy that will be auctioned this month was formerly on display in Hornung's home.

Ironically, Hornung is plenty familiar with giving away trophies. The Paul Hornung Award, which honors college football's most versatile player, was created in 2010. Michigan safety Jabril Peppers was the award's most recent recipient. 

Notre Dame football great Paul Hornung posing with his 1956 Heisman Trophy.