Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ya


Johnny Manziel is in the headlines once again, and I for one can’t say I’m surprised. This time, it was for ALLEGEDLY hitting and threatening to kill himself and his girlfriend.  It’s sad to say, but the days of Johnny Football are long gone. Ever since he came to the NFL, the former Heisman Trophy winner has wasted chance after chance to get the starting quarterback job for the Cleveland Browns. Manziel has not been able to shake the party boy image that he became so notorious for at Texas A&M, and now is costing him dearly.


 Let me first say that I have no problem with partying at college, even as an athlete. College is a one time opportunity to have as much fun as possible (responsibly), and just because you play a sport at a D-1 school doesn’t mean you should have to miss that opportunity. That being said, if you are as famous as “Johnny Football”, you have to know that all eyes are on you to represent the school in a positive light. Getting into a late night bar fight and being charged with three misdemeanors before even stepping on the field for A&M was a bad way to start. At A&M, Johnny was able to get away with his partying because of his stellar play in his freshman year. He won the Heisman Trophy, and rose to instant celebrity status. He became ESPN’s new media darling, and they blew him up like a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon.


 After he was drafted, Manziel was tabbed to become the Browns new starting QB. All he had to do was not mess it up. Well guess what, he messed it up. His rookie year he lost the starting job to Brian Hoyer in the preseason after an incident where he flipped off a player on another team. When he actually got on the field, he was wildly inconsistent and had the numbers to prove it: 5 games, 175 yards passing, 2 interceptions, 0 touchdowns.


Even though he and his team were struggling, the spotlight was kept on Manziel the whole time because of his reputation. Incidents like missed meetings and partying began to pile up for Johnny and were constantly being reported by the media to the fans. At the end of the season, the was a report that said some players in the Browns locker room didn’t respect him and thought his sideshow was taking away from the team. Safe to say his first season was a failure.


Before his second season Manziel tried to address his alcohol problem that had been so visible on social media for years by checking himself into rehab. Looking back on it, I think it was probably a publicity stunt. Although he did better in his second season, Manziel became a 2nd-string QB and was still inconsistent. He threw for 1500 yards and 7 TD’s, but turned the ball over 11 times. 6 of these turnovers were fumbles, which happened when he would scramble all over the field while clutching the ball with one hand, the same way he did in college. Some things just don’t translate in the NFL.


When Manziel was offered the starting QB job for the rest of the season, it seemed like his chance to right the ship once and for all. Alas, a week after the promotion, a video appeared of him liquored up in the club vibing to Future, and he was instantly demoted back to 3rd string. This was the straw that broke the camel’s back. This is where I believe Johnny Football separated himself mentally from the team to the point where he didn’t want to be involved with them at all anymore. The Browns finally announced last week that they were officially done with Johnny Football. For good. Actually. The new coach Hue Jackson wants to rid the team of parasites, so Manziel was the first to go.


This leads us to today. This marks the second time Manziel has been in a domestic dispute with his girlfriend.  Now his character as a man has been called into question because of the abuse allegations, and rightfully so. This is in line with the abundant cases of domestic abuse in the NFL today, which are getting out of control. Roger Goodell needs to learn to crack down on players who break the law, and be consistent in his punishments. But that is a rant for a different day. The only person Johnny has to blame is himself. He has been offered so many support groups and outlets over the past couple of years, all to no avail. Manziel hasn’t been able to handle the pressure of being in the spotlight in recent years. This doesn’t look like it will change any time soon. I believed in Johnny’s talent when he came into the league, but now he’s become an example of someone who will have to learn the hard way. Hopefully one day he will learn to put down the bottle and pick up a playbook. In the words of Jadakiss, “Hard work beats talent, if talent don’t work hard!”