By Aaron Charles @aaroncharleskc on July 31, 2014
Like him or not, Johnny Manziel was great for college football. It's going to be a very long time before another college athlete will be able to grab America's attention the way he did. He belongs to the NFL now and college football is definitely going to miss him.
Manziel never messed with guns, drugs or assaulted any women. He's just a cocky kid who loves to party. The more his antics annoyed fans, the more people tuned in to root against him.
College athletes are under an unfair microscope of judgement. These kids are still trying to mature, and too much is expected of them. Personally, I'm incredibly grateful the mistakes I made as a young adult didn't make headlines. Manziel's spotlight of people judging his antics was so huge it helped distract attention from a lot of other "scandals" that were really just kids being kids.
Johnny Football is a celebrity. People who have never even thought about college football know who he is. People who would have otherwise never given the sport a chance have tuned in to see what the fuss is about. On top of that, existing fans get more out of watching a game with players they know a little something about.
Those who tuned in to see what the Johnny Football fuss was about got something a lot more entertaining than those who tuned in for Tebowmania. Manziel's instincts, athleticism and ability to improvise made fans feel like anything was possible when he had the ball, and it was. He backed up the hype behind him with arguably the most exciting play in college football history.
Fans often criticize players like Manziel for their antics, but they wouldn't have nearly as much to talk about without them. Do we really want athletes to give a bunch of boring, canned responses in interviews? We know a lot athletes love to party. Do we need them to keep pretending like they don't? If a story in the media affects an athlete's play on the field, the weak-minded athlete is at fault, not the "distraction".
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