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Rose Bowl Stadium To Dedicate Statue In Honor Of Two-time Heisman Winner Archie Griffin And Recognize Heisman Winners In Pasadena

May 4, 2024

A dedication of the statue celebrating college football’s only two-time Heisman Trophy winner, Archie Griffin, will take place at the Rose Bowl Stadium on Saturday, August 17 at 11am. The event will be open to the public. Griffin, a member of the Rose Bowl Game® (1990) and College Football Hall of Fames (1986), is one of just two players ever to have started in four consecutive Rose Bowl Games® and won the Heisman Trophy in 1974 and 1975. The 2024 college football season is the 50th anniversary of Griffin’s first Heisman Trophy award.

As previously announced by America’s Stadium, a Legends Walk will also be created adjacent to the Griffin statue in the Stadium’s Court of Champions, to highlight and educate visitors on the 19 Heisman Trophy winners that have played in the Rose Bowl Game® up to the current day. Led by Griffin’s four appearances in Pasadena, student-athletes from schools such as UCLA, Wisconsin, Oregon, Oklahoma, USC, Michigan and more will be represented in the neighboring Legends Walk.

“I am humbled to have a statue in my honor at the Rose Bowl Stadium, one of the most prestigious stadiums in America. I feel blessed to have played in four Rose Bowl Games,” said Archie Griffin, a Rose Bowl Game® and College Football Hall of Fame member. The Rose Bowl Game® All-Century player continued, “But please know that when you honor me with this recognition, you also honor the teams that I played on during my four years at The Ohio State University. I was simply in the right place, at the right time, with the right people. That’s what allowed me to enjoy the success that my teammates and I experienced. Again, I am extremely grateful to be honored in this manner.”

Adjacent to the East bridge near Tunnel 28 and in view of the iconic Rose Bowl marquee sign, the statue’s location inside the venue will be an area of enjoyment and education for all fans as a gateway to the Court of Champions – the most visited location at the stadium.

The statue and Legends Walk was supported by several donors from across the country, many from the Columbus, Ohio area. Donations were provided to the Rose Bowl Legacy Foundation, the non-profit that supports the preservation, protection, and enhancement of the Stadium’s future. Jay and Jeanie Schottenstein, prominent philanthropists to Ohio State University and the Central Ohio community symbolically provided the project’s closing gift to finish the effort. Jay is the Executive Chairman of the board and Chief Executive Officer of American Eagle Outfitters.
"Our family has known Archie Griffin for many years,” said Jay Schottenstein. “Not only is he one of the greatest college football players of all time, he is a great person who throughout his life has made significant and long-lasting contributions to his community and to the Ohio State University. The Rose Bowl Legacy Foundation has made a wise choice in selecting Archie to be honored with a statue at the Rose Bowl Stadium.”

Griffin was voted as an All-American three times and is one of two players to win the Big Ten Conference Most Valuable Player award twice (1973-74). In 2013, the Pasadena Tournament of Roses named Griffin as the All-Century Player, in celebration of the Game’s first 100 years. Archie rushed for 1,428 yards in the regular season as a sophomore, 1,620 as a junior, and 1,357 as a senior. United Press International named him Player of the Year twice (1974-1975), the Walter Camp Foundation named him top player twice (1974-1975), he won the Maxwell Trophy (1975), and Sporting News named him Man of the Year (1975). He set an NCAA rushing record of 31 consecutive 100-yard games rushing. His career rushing total, 5177 yards, was an NCAA record at the time. Legendary Ohio State head coach Woody Hayes (College Football and Rose Bowl Game® Hall of Fame Member), said, "He is the greatest back I've ever seen. We value Archie's attitude more than his football ability.”

“Archie Griffin is one of the greatest players in college football history, and we applaud the Rose Bowl Stadium for erecting his statue as part of the new Heisman Walk at the stadium,” said National Football Foundation President & CEO, Steve Hatchell. “As a College Football Hall of Fame inductee and a long-standing member of the National Football Foundation board of directors, he has dedicated his life to promoting and protecting the game. Archie’s statue will serve as a fitting tribute to a man whose legacy is something we can all celebrate.”

Griffin’s statue is the fifth on the Rose Bowl Stadium’s property to represent key moments and people in the venue’s history, joining Jackie Robinson (dedicated in 2017), the 1999 Team USA FIFA Women’s World Cup Champions (dedicated in 2019), iconic broadcaster Keith Jackson (dedicated in 2019) and legendary UCLA head coach and all-time wins leader Terry Donahue (dedicated in 2023). The commemorative statue will celebrate Griffin’s contributions to college football and the Rose Bowl Game® but also highlight the Heisman Trophy lineage that has competed in Pasadena over the century-plus of iconic moments.

The statue will be the first statue of Griffin to be established anywhere in America. A full-size replica of the statue will also be gifted to the Athletics Department at Ohio State University, which plays its home games in Ohio Stadium (“The Horseshoe”) – another iconic, historic venue with over a century of history.

“On behalf of The Ohio State University and the Department of Athletics, I wish to extend our most sincere thanks and gratitude to the Rose Bowl Legacy Foundation for this wonderful honor of memorializing our all-time great, Archie Griffin, with a statue at the Rose Bowl Stadium,” Gene Smith, Ohio State senior vice president and Wolfe Foundation-Eugene Smith Endowed Athletics Director, said. “Knowing Archie, he would want a statue for all the Heisman Trophy winners along the ‘Legacy Walk.’ His accomplishments on and off the playing field are truly legendary and still one-of-a-kind 50 years later, and we are so proud and grateful that he is a Buckeye.”

The Rose Bowl Stadium, Ohio State and more than 20 other historic venues are active in the Historic Stadium Caucus, which was formed in September 2023. The Historic Stadium Caucus is the first caucus to focus on the important characterization of historic college football stadiums and will continue to bring together a bipartisan group of Congressmembers to work on preserving the legacy and protecting the integrity of treasured venues across America. The Caucus will also focus on enhancing the venues’ capabilities, so they are able to continue to host world-class sporting events and concerts for generations to come.

The mission of the Caucus is to assist representatives of historic stadiums – and those who are passionate about safeguarding iconic venues – in ensuring the stadiums can stay up to date with the latest technological advancements and security measures, as well as environmental practices, all while preserving their rich historical legacy.

“Archie Griffin’s spirit, determination, and the way that he approached the game (and now life) is something that we can all learn from and appreciate,” said Dedan Brozino, President of the Rose Bowl Legacy Foundation. “He represents the highest standards of integrity, hard work, and sportsmanship that need to continue to have a strong voice in today’s world. This honor for Archie is incredibly important not just to illustrate and tell his legendary story as a football player, but to inspire others to continue to improve in life.”

Ohio State retired Griffin’s jersey number “45” during the 1999 season and in 2006, Griffin was named one of the NCAA's “100 Most Influential Student-Athletes.” Archie’s name, along with that of Red Grange, graces the Big Ten championship game MVP award.

“Archie Griffin has always epitomized excellence, both on and off the field. In a lifetime of remarkable achievements, he has humbly conducted himself with honor and grace. The only two-time Heisman Trophy Winner and one of two athletes to have played in 4 consecutive Rose Bowls, his legacy endures,” said Rob Whalen, Executive Director for the Heisman Memorial Trophy. “This Statue symbolizes Archie Griffin’s lasting accomplishments. A most fitting tribute to a legend, allowing college football fans to forever honor the man who has meant so much to the traditions of this great sport at College Football’s most iconic venue.”

While his 5,589 rushing yards are still the Ohio State standard, Griffin has become a beloved favorite of college football fans nationwide because of his humble nature, first-class demeanor, patience, and kind reception to anyone he meets. His many post-football leadership activities include the creation of the Archie Griffin Scholarship Fund, which benefits Ohio State’s Olympic sports programs.

Upon graduation in Columbus, Griffin received the NCAA’s prestigious Top Five Award for combined excellence in athletics, academics, and leadership. It is the highest award the NCAA can bestow. He was a first-round draft choice of the Cincinnati Bengals.

“Archie Griffin is part of the fabric of our historic venue for so many reasons and I can’t think of a more appropriate person to sit amongst the center of our new historic Legends Walk,” said Rose Bowl Stadium Chief Executive Officer / General Manager Jens Weiden.

“The ability to honor the greatness of Archie Griffin and other Heisman winners who have participated in the Rose Bowl Game is truly something special,” said Ed Morales, 2025 Pasadena Tournament of Roses President. “Our partners at the Rose Bowl Stadium have done an amazing job at recognizing the outstanding players who are a part of the deep tradition of the Rose Bowl Game, and a statue of Archie, who was voted the game’s All Century Player, will ensure that those memories and traditions continue.”

Having hosted two Olympic Games (with a third coming in 2028), two FIFA® World Cup Finals, five Super Bowls, and countless first-class entertainment moments, the Rose Bowl Stadium has highlighted key moments around the venue over the years. Statues, historical markers, historical photos, paintings, timelines, the 1922 Locker Room Museum, and the California High School Football Hall of Fame have transformed the world-renowned venue into a walking museum of sports and entertainment excellence.