Manziel’s off-field antics will not affect his performance against Alabama
Published: Thursday, September 12, 2013
Updated: Thursday, September 12, 2013 12:09
Johnny Manziel, also known as “Johnny Football,” represents everything wrong with college football.
He’s arrogant, self-absorbed, egotistical and immature. He is out partying with friends, celebrities and even students from rival universities. He doesn’t care what anybody thinks of him. At times, it seems he appears to be bigger than the team – in a sport when anyone who tries to increase his individual likeness is looked at as a Satanist.
Oh, and I forgot one thing: He’s a winner.
This is where the problem lies – a guy like this shouldn’t be winning. Not games, not awards and certainly not national championships.
Well, the Texas A&M quarterback phenom has posted a career 13-2 record, has become the first freshman to win a Heisman Trophy and, although he was unable to win a national title in his first year, he was able to embarrass Oklahoma 41-13 – totaling 516 yards – in the Cotton Bowl.
Not too bad for a kid representing everything that’s wrong with the game.
Not everybody is Tim Tebow. Actually, the vast majority isn’t. Players who have personalities should not be criticized or contained for displaying them. Although Manziel may not be the man you want your daughter to marry, he’s also not the one you want your son facing on Saturdays.
I think the fact that he continues to win – not only on the field but also off it – is what rubs people the wrong way more than anything.
Last season, he went into a hostile Alabama environment and took out the No. 1 team in the country. This Saturday, he has the opportunity to knock off the best again, when the defending national champions come into his backyard this time.
All of a sudden, some question his abilities – not because of what they’ve seen on the field, but because of his time off of it.
There are players who have returned “clean” from performance-enhancing drugs and serious drug addictions who have faced less scrutiny than Manziel.
And why has he faced this?
For allegedly signing his name on some memorabilia. I highly doubt the “stress” of those interviews will have any impact on his play. Especially for a player coming off the first Heisman Trophy ever won by a freshman.
Or maybe, it’s the picture of him holding a red cup at Texas University wearing a Tim Tebow jersey that has the ‘haters’ out in full force. Or Manziel’s mysterious sickness the morning of an Archie Manning passing camp.
Let’s not forget where Manziel was around Halloween last year – seen surrounded by beautiful women. And this was during the season. Keep in mind, his game against Alabama was Nov. 10.
That weekend didn’t affect him; I don’t see how a few offseason parties and distractions will either.
What is different about Manziel this season from last? Nothing. He is the same confident kid he always was. Suddenly, however, some believe he is set for a decline. I have yet to hear one reason with actual game fact as to why Manziel will have a poor season or be embarrassed Saturday.
Clearly he thrives under pressure – just ask Oklahoma State defensive coordinator Mike Stoops. Keep in mind it was his defense that Manziel torched in the Cotton Bowl on Fox.
Since returning from his one-half-game suspension, Manziel has done just what he was supposed to: put up great stats against players who don’t belong on the same field as him.
Yet again, controversy followed.
After one of Manziel’s first runs, a player jawed at him and he responded by waving a pen as he appeared to say, “I’m not signing anything for you.” Then after his first touchdown, he waved his fingers to make it look as if he was holding money. The icing on the cake was an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after a touchdown.
I think one common theme is getting lost in all of this. These are celebrations after moments of greatness. He’s not some punk; he’s playing a game. Let him do it his way.
He is not walking on the field and causing problems. As an outsider, it seems the troubles are finding him. And this weekend against Alabama, I believe we will see a Manziel poised within the lines who won’t cost his team drives with penalties.
But after his touchdowns, you can be sure he will do more than just hug a teammate.
All the questions will be answered this Saturday. Unless, of course, Johnny Football wins. Then his critics must sit and wait until the next thing leading to his demise.