Johnny Manziel Will Be Successful in 2013 in Spite of Us All

Johnny Manziel

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

As soon as the Johnny Manziel firestorm was re-kindled in the past week I made a promise with, well, myself, that I wouldn’t write a single word about his condition or prognosticate on how his off-field shenanigans would affect his on-field performance for the Texas A&M Aggies this fall.

But, when it’s all said and done, I just couldn’t resist.

Johnny Manziel is a 20 year-old male.

Regardless of how earth-shattering it apparently is for some folks to believe, 20 year-old males drink alcohol, go to parties both in and outside of the boundaries of their college town (oh my), make wildly irrational decisions and speak before acting when the pressure is great and impulse carries them beyond reason.

It just so happens this particular 20 year-old male has other-worldy talent in carrying and throwing a football, thusly earning the attention of every single person — myself included — with access to a keyboard, blog or microphone. In short time, we’ve all become not only experts on morality and what a young man from Kerrville, Texas should be doing with his life– in spite of the fact few of us know him from Adam– but we’ve also decided his fate is sealed. That his off-field actions will be manifested in a full-on flop in 2013– one that will ruin his chances at an NFL career and derail a talent that has yet to fully mature.

With this I disagree, and disagree wholeheartedly.


First of all, Manziel’s been here before.

It took intervention from folks outside of the athletic department prior to the 2012 season to ensure his eligibility after a bar fight and subsequent arrest last summer in College Station. When the time came for Manziel to focus his attention to football, he did just that, and the rest is history.

Now, obviously, I’m not naive enough to believe he didn’t party during the season some or wasn’t drawn in by the same temptations that have troubled him over the past few summers, but if he did, he kept things in balance.

How he kept things in balance, honestly, is none of our business. And beyond this, it’s not like he would be a miracle worker to be able to have a good time off the field (even in-season, gasp), or even be the first to do so. I could rattle off a list of names a mile long here of guys who have done the same, but I won’t insult your intelligence or waste your time doing so.

For examples, see Benson, Cedric and Williams, Ricky.

The argument has been made that because Manziel is 20 he is drinking underage and in essence, breaking the law.  This notion is so antiquated and arcane that it makes me want to cry. This isn’t 1930 anymore, boys and girls, it’s 2013.

Most young people do more drinking prior to their 21st birthday than they do throughout the remainder of the 20s, and in spite of this, we’re going to play morality police with someone who’s doing the same and just so happens to have a talent that separates him from his peers?

Surely there are better things to do.

In short, Johnny Manziel will do what he’s done prior to now.

He’ll trade the late nights for the playbook and focus — when he needs to focus — on playing football this fall. His talent will again prove he’s one of the nation’s best college football players, and the Aggies will be successful in spite of the desires of so many to watch him, and them, fail.

It’s a part of 21st-century, 24 hour news cycle America to want to drag down those who are successful by whatever means necessary, but Johnny Manziel will rise above it all whether you like it or not.


 Kris Hughes is a Senior Writer for Rant Sports. You can follow Kris on TwitterGoogle and Facebook.

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  • Joe Burgett

    Great article. I think Johnny Football’s size will always be a worry and I don’t feel that he will have the same type of season he had last year. But I do feel that he will be effective. And when he reaches the NFL, he will be too. But his attitude and overall play reminds me of a Ryan Leaf tragedy. Leaf was a talented college QB and was probably an inch away from being #1 Overall pick, but Peyton Manning got the job at the Colts. Manning went on to be a stud and Leaf went downhill. Manning’s attitude and how he worked was a total opposite of Leaf. It reminds me of how AJ McCarron is. Not nearly saying AJ is the second coming of Manning now, but it’s an interesting thought.

    • Kris Hughes

      Thanks for reading Joe. I can definitely see where you are coming from with the Leaf comparison, but please remember that Leaf is currently in prison in Montana for breaking and entering and drug convictions. His life spiraled completely out of control because he couldn’t help himself. I think Manziel is smarter than that. Given that, I agree that this season will be a greater challenge for him, if nothing else, because SEC defenses will be ready and defensive coordinators will gameplan for him specifically all season long.

      • Joe Burgett

        Like my Manning comparison, I am not completely relating each person to the other. But if you want to talk psychological problems in life, we have Johnny here who completely ignores the aspect of being a team player. He likes it being about him. He loves the spotlight yet he hasn’t stepped on the field for the next year and some are already calling for his second Heisman. Yet anyone with a brain knows they won’t win the SEC. Meanwhile AJ is at Alabama, turning down interviews, appearances and what have you all to be with his team and prepare for the upcoming season.

        I cannot see a better comparison to Leaf and Manning than these two.

        Obviously I do not expect Johnny to go nuts and get involved with drugs. I hope he never gets to that type of low. But it is obvious that his childish ways will hurt him in the draft. So will his size and passing troubles. Add in that many expect him to be worse this year than the last, and I think there could be issues come his way. But, I am really ready to see Alabama/A&M for sure

        • Kris Hughes

          It’s going to be fascinating to see what happens. It’s drama that you can’t write, no doubt. If he lives up to expectations, stays clean and performs at the same or a better level than in 2012, he may just be that special. If not, then those who doubt him may be proven right. And the College Station matchup on September 14h should be an instant classic– too bad it would take mortgaging a limb to get a ticket.

          • Joe Burgett

            I would not be surprised if it took much more. I mean, you may have to sell your grandma for tickets. Thank God it’s on TV. We don’t worry about blackouts in the SEC. lol

        • The Whole Nine Nards

          I couldn’t disagree with you more about him “ignoring the aspect of being a team player.” He absolutely loves being with his teammates and has said so on multiple occasions. In that lengthy interview with his parents in ESPN The Magazine, in which his father did not hold anything back in his criticism of both his son and the school, Paul Manziel mentioned how much Johnny loves his teammates. He may be acting like a normal college 20-year old off the field, but his commitment to football is 110%.

          • Joe Burgett

            IDK about all of that. His father expressed some issues in the Mag, but through all of that he said he cannot wait for him to be back at school to get structure. My issue is that in the off-season, we have guys like AJ not out and being the major thing that Johnny is. AJ has 3 NCs to his credit and is not doing that. 2 back to back. He’s all about team and Johnny is about himself. Now I am not saying he thinks he is amazing, his tweets say that for me. And I’m not saying he does not like his teammates. But there is something to take away from all of this.

            We have one guy who wins, and is with his team. We have one guy who won some awards and is wanting to be a star all on his own. AJ had great numbers in his own right and was up for awards for a QB. Then won a National Title again. I’m just saying when you see the differences, I trust AJ to be the leader Alabama needs. I don’t trust Johnny as a leader for A&M

          • The Whole Nine Nards

            None of that comment makes any sense. You’re saying that just because Johnny Football wins the individual awards that he’s not a team player? He gave credit to his teammates for the Heisman at EVERY turn. What more do you want from the guy? Just because he goes out and parties over the summer, like ALL college kids do (and your boy McCarron does too as was seen in the picture at the bar with Johnny), that makes him all about himself and he’s not a team player? I guarantee you McCarron is out having himself a damn good time, we’re just not paying attention to him as much as everyone is paying attention to JFF.

            During the season it was all about the team. Just because he doesn’t act like a model citizen in the off season doesn’t make him a selfish player all of a sudden.

          • Joe Burgett

            IDK about that. If a 3 time National Championship winner goes out, he gets attention. I live in the state, anything AJ related is all over the place. We rarely hear much. So it proves the difference between the two when even the local media has nothing bad to show on AJ, yet the entire national media has something on Johnny.

            I am not saying Johnny is not a team guy. My issue is that when comparing the two, AJ has shown in the media, social media, and much more that he is a legit team guy. While Johnny may be, he is showing right now through all he does is that he is about himself. I am not saying he won’t do much this season. I expect him to do well.

            But when you look at AJ always being with his team barring a few times where he went to develop his game or help others (Manning Camp), it starts to make you wonder. Of course AJ is out with his GF at times, but she is more in the media than he is. Johnny is in the media more than the two combined. That says a lot to me.

            It’s not because Johnny is just a Heisman guy so he obviously is going to get attention. AJ is a 3 time NC. So he obviously is under the microscope too, but he gives the media nothing seemingly.

          • The Whole Nine Nards

            I’m just not sure how you equate partying to not being a team player. Everyone parties in college. On top of that, I’m not sure how you come to the conclusion he’s not a team player because he’s been spending the summer doing stuff with his friends and not his teammates (even though he HAS spent time with his teammates). That’s what summers are for…spending time with people you don’t normally see during the school year. It’s all pretty normal behavior if you ask me…other than the obvious stuff like sitting courtside and going to Toronto to meet Drake…but the dude has some serious family money and that kind of stuff is normal to him…sitting courtside and hanging out in Cabo is nothing new..everyone just knows about it now because he’s under the microscope. I admire him taking a stand and not changing who he is and what he does in his free time, mainly because of Kris’ main point in the article – when football time comes, he’ll dive in and be all about football.

          • Joe Burgett

            I’m not saying going out is bad or going to parties are bad to do. But because he is “Johnny Football”, he is of different level than a normal college kid. Even a normal college athlete. There has been more negative on him than than positive. The time he does spend with his team has not been productive for football, yet AJ’s has been. I am not saying one is a better player. My issue comes down to the off-season Johnny has had and how he is when it’s not season mode. AJ is all about the game and tries his best to stick to it and his team, despite having one of the hottest girls in the planet. Of whom he still does stuff with of course.

            I think at the end of the day, Johnny will come to A&M and do as well as he can. This year, he won’t be as productive as the previous year because everyone will gun for him. So then it will come down to his leadership and team play. I think that will make his mind-set stand out more. If it’s anything like the off-season he’s had, he will do all he can just to get things going for him, not his teammates. I think that will show.

            To me, and trust me on this, Johnny will get destroyed in bigger games this year due to a possibility of early struggling. A&M will beat the teams they are supposed to beat. But they won’t shock people again.

          • The Whole Nine Nards

            I don’t buy the target on his back theory…Alabama had a target and A&M was the only team that beat them last year. Just because there is a target and teams know he is coming doesn’t mean they’ll be able to slow him down.

          • Joe Burgett

            Usually that is the case. We have seen plenty of people try to stop some freaks like Peterson and they did not succeed. But Peterson is a one of a kind freak. Johnny is no where near his size. But past that, when it comes down to a target on someone, it is pretty much guaranteed that everyone will gameplan according to what they need to do. Cam Newton is proof of this. In college, he was stopped a lot but not enough. In the pros, Carolina loses a lot despite Cam running around. He has been stopped essentially.

            The same can happen to Johnny because there is no way that he will be able to do this year what he did last year. You gave SEC coaches an entire year to gameplan just for Johnny, LSU, Alabama, Florida, Miss State, Georgia, any team he may go against from the SEC will certain be gunning for one man.

  • SportsGenius705

    Not a fan of “Johnny Football.” I can see him cracking this year.