By Alex Crowl
I would like to put into perspective some of the pop culture that our society has become addicted to. These items, in recent times, include superheroes, vigilantes and comic book legends. People love the DC comic book vigilante, Batman, as well as, Superman and many others. The movies and profitability from these characters have reached an insurmountable total. Our society also enjoys Marvel characters including, Iron Man, The Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, etc. The Avengers is the third top grossing film of all time, and The Guardians of the Galaxy was the top film of 2014. I loved “Guardians” and a buddy of mine saw it in the theaters in excess of four time.
Let me get to my point before you shut this column down in utter disgust. For those of you who aren’t fans of Johnny Manziel, bear with me here, because the point I make is outlandish. I do believe it to be a truthful viewpoint, however. I am going to compare Johnny Manziel to Bruce Wayne and Tony Stark. For those of you who aren’t familiar with their real names, I am comparing Johnny Manziel to Batman, and the industrialist, playboy, ingenious engineer, Ironman. All three of these individuals have a lot more in common than meets the eye and I am going to take you through that.
Johnny Manziel is the grandson of a Texas oil fortune. Bruce Wayne was born into being a billionaire, and Tony Stark’s father set up a platform and a company for his son to establish himself as billionaire through his work in technology and engineering. All of these men had very fortunate beginnings in terms of financial stability. These three figures have and will always be in the public eye. None of these men have pursued their public stature in a humble manner, but who is to blame them for that? We love Batman and Ironman very passionately. Why should Johnny Football be the exception to this love for conceded ability, fame and fortune?
My comparison of these men lies within their fortunate beginnings, and their ability to take advantage of what they were given and create a brand and a prestigious persona. These figures are cocky, conceited, talented, athletic, and astoundingly impressive.Yes, I compared Johnny Manziel to a vigilante and an avenger but are those points not valid? Does Johnny not have characteristics of both of these men? He sincerely does, and the poor taste towards Johnny Manziel as a person and as a professional football player is pervasively unfair to the young man.
Most of the critique of Manziel comes from his off-field antics. It’s understandable to be jealous of a man who has money, fame, fortune and pure athletic ability. I love Manziel for what he provides as entertainment to the people of the sports community. He has been entertaining off the field, and he is about to show us how entertaining on the field he can be against the Bengals today.
I applaud Manziel’s efforts as a football player. The man has yet to make an NFL start and he has a revolutionary touchdown celebration that symbolizes his entire character. How many professional athletes can you say have done that in their career? Creating a brand with no experience at the highest level is very impressive to me.
What is to be said of his days in College Station as well? The man was the first college football player ever to win the Heisman Trophy during his inaugural season. He went to Alabama and beat the Tide with a lackluster defense. He broke numerous SEC and NCAA Division 1 FBS records on his way to becoming one of the more memorable players in college football history. Not only did Manziel complete all of these tasks, but also he did it in a way that nobody had ever seen before. His actions, dynamics, and sheer athleticism in and around the pocket was something the game had never seen before. Manziel dropped dime after dime, missile after missile, in a way we may never see again.
I cannot speak on whether or not Johnny Football will be a success in the NFL. The track record says that the chances of his style of the play in the NFL being successful long-term are not good. How many scrambling QB’s do you see that have sustained long careers in the NFL? Players like Cam Newton, RG3, Colin Kaepernick etc. have shown a major decline this season in their abilities. Who knows if they will ever get back to the dynamic players they were. Who says if they do even get back to the highly proclaimed players they were that they will sustain successful careers in the playing style that they have establish?
I could see Johnny falling under the curse of the scrambling QB just as easily as I have seen it occur to some of the players I mentioned. Russell Wilson appears to be an outlier to my argument but he is not the scrambler that these QB’s are. He has qualified himself as a pocket passer first, which none of these QB’s have accomplished. If Johnny Manziel is not successful in the NFL, then I will sadly watch him go down in a fit of rage and flames in a James Bond like fury.
In summation, I hope the best for Johnny Manziel unlike the popular view to dislike him. We should embrace Johnny as the next new thing as we have embraced the recent activity and profitability of many comic book figures. I look past the immaturity of him “flipping off” the Washington Redskins, or having moneybags for a birthday cake. I look past it because the man is flat out entertaining. Isn’t that what we are all looking for in sports? We want to be entertained.
For a coach like Marvin Lewis, who has no playoff wins in 11 years as the head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals, to give Johnny Manziel the bulletin board motivation that he did heading into Johnny’s first start in the NFL baffles me. To light a fire under a man with so much to prove and so much ability astonishes me. You can bet your bottom dollar that if Fox or CBS chooses to show the Bengals at the Browns today, that I will be intently watching the money man do his thing.