November 10th 2012 is the day Johnny Manziel arrived on the national radar. On that November afternoon in Tuscaloosa Johnny Football led his number 15 ranked Texas A&M Aggies to an upset victory over the number one team in the country the Alabama Crimson Tide. Not only was Alabama the defending National Champion and undefeated at the time, the Crimson Tide would later go on to win the BCS National Championship at seasons end, there only blemish being the loss to Manziel’s Aggies. Johnny Football was here to stay.
The redshirt freshmen continued his stellar play for the remainder of the season as Johnny Football went from relative unknown at the start of the season to Heisman Trophy winner, becoming the first ever freshman to win the award. With success came major national attention. Johnny Football was well on his way to becoming college football’s equivalent to Justin Bieber.
Is Johnny Football good for college football? Absolutely, Manziel dominated headlines during the offseason when not much else was happening in the college football world. If he wasn’t watching LeBron James and company courtside he was probably hanging out with his buddy Drake. It’s no secret that Johnny Football comes from a privileged family and is accustomed to having the finer things in life. He loves the spotlight, and he does a phenomenal job striving in that spotlight. He seemed right at home at the ESPY’s. He did not seem intimated by the various questions thrown his way. I believe Manziel’s brash personality is better suited for the NFL. He definitely has a spot waiting for him come April 2014 if he chooses to declare for the NFL draft. The debate on whether Johnny Football will be a serviceable starter or just a career backup can happen another day.
During the offseason, an incident at Peyton Manning’s Passing Academy marked Manziel’s reputation. Multiple news reports stated Peyton’s father Archie Manning sent Johnny Football home because he overslept due to a long night of partying. Manziel denied those reports. Johnny Football should have used better judgment when he decided to attend a frat party at rival school University of Texas wearing none other than a Tim Tebow New York Jets jersey. Unlike the conflicting reports on what really happened at Manning’s camp the anti Tim Tebow was definitely told to go home in reality he should of never been at the University of Texas that night and should be grateful nothing got out of hand. Johnny Football is more than a football player nowadays he is a polarizing figure people are looking for ways to bring him down. Manziel must make smarter decisions if he wants to survive in this new age social media society.
The minor incidents noted above won’t ruin a reputation. Violating a major rule in the NCAA rulebook will. Johnny Football dodged a major scandal when it couldn’t be proven that he accepted money for his autographs, which would have ended his college football career. College football is entertaining when you have a star of Johnny Football’s caliber but College football does not need Johnny Football. Yes, it helps that the kid is a stud. He brings intrigue to the sport, the casual fan like myself is now interested in watching Texas A&M games just to see what he is going to do next and anticipating his next touchdown celebration.
Instead of breaking down Johnny Football’s off the field antics and debating whether he is a jerk or not let’s enjoy what is most likely his final college football campaign as he goes for his second consecutive Heisman Trophy and the opportunity to lead Texas A&M to a National Championship.