Louisville Cardinals Heisman Trophy candidate Teddy Bridgewater opened his 2013 season last evening throwing for 355 yards and five touchdowns against an outmatched Ohio Bobcats defense. Bridgewater effortlessly picked apart the Bobcats’ secondary, making all manner of throws, all over the field. In short, he handled the game like a professional, one he is certain to be on Sundays next fall — perhaps even as a starter for a desperate team in the NFL.
Texas A&M Aggies quarterback — and 2012 Heisman Trophy winner — Johnny Manziel sat out the first half of his team’s opener against the Rice Owls as part of a punishment proscribed by the NCAA and his school for “inadvertent” violation of a rule dealing with players profiting off of the use of their likeness. Manziel paced the sideline up and down, wearing a visor to cover his eyes, acting as nervous as possible to get on the field as soon as he could. When he did play, he excelled, completing six of eight passes for 94 yards and three touchdowns.
After each throw, Manziel made sure to belabor the beating of a dead horse by motioning to Rice defenders that they couldn’t have his autograph, or rubbing his hands together toward the sky in the ol’ “counting the money” motion — in general talking with his hands for all to see just how indignant he was about his recent situation.
Comparing Bridgewater and Manziel directly to one another is apples and oranges, they’re two very different quarterbacks who ply their trade in very different ways. Manziel is agile, elusive, fast and throws well enough when not shredding defenses with his feet to keep defensive coordinators honest. Bridgewater is more of a traditional quarterback with a rocket arm who is just as comfortable picking apart defenses out of the pocket as he is throwing on the run.
It’s been a collective obsession among the sports media to watch every move that Manziel makes, to evaluate and break down every action, every word, every throw. Manziel Fatigue is now becoming a very real thing for many of those following his story that aren’t Texas A&M fans, or aren’t invested in how the team plays, or he plays, throughout the 2013 season.
If we’re looking for a simple solution to this fatigue, a simple narrative shift to a focus on Teddy Bridgewater’s a simple solution. Bridgewater will continue to put up huge numbers through the season — in spite of whether it is against sub-par competition or not (something that’s completely out of his control) and Manziel will undoubtedly do the same.
If we all want for Manziel Mania to temper, it starts with a shift in narrative towards someone else.
Why can’t that someone be Teddy Bridgewater?