Over the last two college football seasons, there has not been a single player that has been more exciting to watch than Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel. He won the Heisman Trophy in 2012 off the back of 47 touchdowns and 5,116 total yards, and in 2013, he has come back stronger than ever with 24 touchdowns and 2,775 yards through seven games.
In fact, during this reign of dominance, there has been no player in all of sports that has been more of a must-watch player, not even LeBron James, Miguel Cabrera, Lionel Messi or Alexander Ovechkin. This is not a knock on any of these players, but the fact is that they cannot combine the on-field success with the off-field drama to create the all-around hype machine that Manziel has become. In fact, maybe no one has compared as someone so exciting since Tim Tebow during his college years.
All of this praise for Manziel will then make it entirely surprising that I believe he should simply not be on the field during the rest of the 2013 season. This is not because he has done some questionable things off the field, or because of some inner hatred for the quarterback, but simply because it would be in his best interest to stay away.
Heading into the 2013 season, Manziel made it utterly clear that he would be declaring himself eligible to be picked in the 2014 NFL Draft almost immediately after the collegiate season concluded. In the midst of this, Manziel did not fail to make it known that he had become fed up with being a rock star as the Texas A&M quarterback, just as the media had not failed to let everyone know he had become a pariah off the field.
On the field, this apparent lack of interest has obviously not shown through Manziel’s peripheral statistics, and furthermore has been tabled by the way he has thrown his body around. Throughout the year, Manziel has played through a balky knee that looked liable to snap in half during a Week 7 victory over Ole Miss, and then during Saturday’s 45-41 loss to Auburn, he picked up an apparent shoulder injury. Neither of these injuries could keep the star off the field for long, though, as in both instances, he came back after a brief period to again look like a superstar.
But what each further knock does begin to show is a crack in Manziel’s armor. Each hit also takes him one snap closer to a career-threatening injury, which is only further exasperated by the fact that he is likely over compensating for other previously stated injuries.
It is clear that NFL executives cringe every time they see Manziel and his minute 6-foot-1, 210-pound frame pick up another knock, and it is feasible that every hit pushes him further down draft boards. After all, these executives have seen that other running quarterbacks who feel they are superman on the field — calling you, Michael Vick and Robert Griffin III — tend to go down with injuries quicker than their counterparts who stay in the pocket.
So, for the betterment of his career at the NFL level, it should be called upon Johnny Manziel to call it quits on his days as a quarterback at Texas A&M. Surely, this would not be a move that would bring on a popular reaction amongst fans of college football –after all, he is the most exciting show in sports today — but the right thing to do is not always the popular thing.