After missing induction in the College Football Hall of Fame during his first two times on the ballot, Tommie Frazier said he never stressed about finally getting the call.
Frazier learned Tuesday that he would join the 2013 College Football Hall of Fame class and said he spent Monday night playing with his kids, rather than celebrating.
“I think the fans and the media across the country did my politicking for me,” Frazier said. “I just sat back and let everybody else do the talking. I knew my time was going to come, I just didn't know when it was going to come.”
After all, Frazier's resume speaks for itself. He led Nebraska to two national titles, just missed on a third and completed his career with 5,476 yards of total offense, while accounting for 79 touchdowns, including 43 passing scores and another 36 on the ground, all while missing a good chunk of his junior season because of blood clots that nearly ended his career.
Frazier was the fulcrum for one of the best stretches of success in college football history. The day after one of the more punishing losses Nebraska suffered to Miami, head coach Tom Osborne found himself in the Frazier living room. Frazier's father hadn't spoken to many coaches during the recruiting process, but made a point of speaking and listening to Osborne.
Frazier said that was huge in getting him to Nebraska.
After a loss during the 1992 season to Washington, Frazier took over at quarterback – the first freshman to ever do so at Nebraska.
"This is a guy that took a chance on me in 1992,” Frazier said. “I was an 18-year-old freshman coming out of Bradenton, Fla., and I think it was the fifth game of my career here, and he gave me the keys to the car. By him doing that, it showed that he trusted me, and I think my career flourished from there. Without him, I don't think I would have been the football player I turned out to be."
During the next three seasons, Frazier amassed a 33-3 record, the national titles and inserted those teams into the “best-ever” category for decades to come.
“There are some things I did on the football field that I'm proud of and there are some things I wish I could have done better,” Frazier said. “One of those is winning a third national championship. Two is still good. I played with a lot of great guys. With the success I had, I can't say I did it myself.”
Frazier said he sensed after his freshman season that those Nebraska teams had a chance to be something special.
Despite all the individual awards, Frazier said the three losses his teams suffered with him as the starting quarterback still stick in his side. Nebraska lost in 1992 at Iowa State and dropped a pair of games to Florida State before beginning the national title run.
"Every win has a special moment, but I think the ones I look back on are the three losses," Frazier said. "Those are the ones you always look at yourself and say, 'What could I have done more in those games?' Going back to Iowa State my freshman year, that was a game where I think we went into it kind of cocky, arrogant – that we really didn't prepare that week and we just showed up like we were going to win that game. We didn't. The two losses to Florida State, I think in those games I had a couple of mistakes big mistakes that if I didn't make those mistakes, the game could have been different. I look at the losses more so than all the wins, because there were so many wins here. But it's the losses that are the ones that eat me up."
It's been well-documented that Frazier wasn't the most popular teammate during his time at Nebraska. He said that never bothered him, and he cited Michael Jordan as an example of a competitor who got the best from his teammates, while sometimes rubbing them the wrong way.
"I wanted to win,” Frazier said. “Did I tick some of my teammates off? Yes. But tell me any great leader out there – look at Michael Jordan. He's the best guy to ever play the game of basketball, and you hear stories about how he wasn't liked. I don't worry about being liked, because when you're on that field, it's not about who likes you or not, it's about you trying to do whatever you can to make sure your team wins."
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