Welcome to the NFL, Johnny Football. Oh how we have been waiting for you to arrive.
Sure, the league has seen its fair share of draft day saviors over the past decade; RGIII, Andrew Luck, the Mannings, Cam Newton, Calvin Johnson, Reggie Bush. Manziel is just but another of next shiny things to come out of the college player factory. But we haven’t had someone as… “Unpolished” isn’t the right word. “Problematic” is obviously describes the Quinns, McCoys, Suhs and Russells of drafts past. “Fun” isn’t the right term either, because obviously we have loads of NFL players who like to have fun and party. (Too many “fun” players if you listen to the crusty old bags who wished their league still mandated types of acceptable hairstyles.) And nothing about Manziel seems reckless. So what is it about Manziel that is so attractive to NFL fans?
I recently was talking about this with my old friend Holly Anderson from Grantland, and I told her my hope for Manziel is that he’s a Charles Barkley in the NFL. Maybe not the best player that comes down the pipe (although his performance in the Cotton Bowl was a thing of beauty and no doubt does he have one of the strongest arms we’ve seen in some time), but the player who cares the least about the system and the show. Some guy who is amazingly talented of football, willing to show up and work, but not be pressure formed into a soundbite spewing cardboard cutout by the massively powerful bland-making NFL PR machine.
Something about Manziel keeps reminding me of yet another NBA player in his youth and the shared privilege that came with just being born, well, them.
“Hey, who cared?” Laimbeer says today. “I never looked on basketball as a career. I never had any driving ambition to play pro basketball. I knew I’d be a success at whatever I happened to choose. My ambition was only to have fun.”
Bill Laimbeer in Sports Illustrated, Nov. 5, 1990. Loved him or hated him, Laims always entertaining.
What else do I wish for now that Manziel is officially coming to the NFL? I’d like him to stop standing so close to Tim Tebow and spend more time being seen with veterans with gravitas, be excited even if he is drafted by the Browns and light a cigar in Goodell’s face when his name is called. Better yet, not even go to the draft. Be seen fishing with his dad in Texas.
And what do the other KSKers want for Johnny Manziel? What is their advice for the young rookie-to-be?
Big Sandy – Manziel, pick a super hardcore rap song to be played when you score a touchdown. Not some Fall Out Boy stuff. Go full HAM or don’t go at all.
StuScottBooyahs – After being selected, walk up to the podium and declare that he is finishing his college degree at A&M, and then don an A&M cap while doing the Richard Nixon salute.
Christmas Ape – Do a Reddit AMA and answer every question with this response GIF:
RobotsFightingDinosaurs – Manziel should just go full on and become a WWF style bad guy, making it rain on the cheerleaders before games and making cheesy pre-scripted callout videos of opposing quarterbacks before big games. He’d instantly become my favorite QB in the entire goddamned NFL, and that’s probably worth the 250,000 per game fine Rog would levy, right? Sportswriters are always going to think he’s an asshole, so he might as well go whole hog and at least become an entertaining one.
Old James – Cash is flammable, Ciroc cut with Absinthe causes night blindness, and anyone can release a mix tape man it isn’t that hard you should totally do it.
And of course, the always succinct PFTC with the final word.
PFT Commenter – Hell, youre names not Womanziel so why you gonna play like it is son?
Welcome to the league, Johnny. Let’s play.