There hasn’t been a college football star with as much media coverage and scrutiny as Johnny Manziel since the days of Tim Tebow at the University of Florida.
Now those two men have very different personalities and may be criticized for their off-the-field actions for much different reasons; but their impact on the football field is very similar.
Like Tebow, Manziel has won a Heisman trophy and lead his team to victory both through the air and on the ground. Johnny Football is such a tough matchup for every team because of his dangerous dual-threat capabilities — and on top of that he has made a case that his aerial game is much better than the former Florida star.
But with all of their similarities there are some differences, and some pretty big differences at that. Manziel has already been suspended to start this season (even though it was only for a lousy half) and on top of that it is evident that Manziel is a hothead when on the field.
When he does something good — which happens a lot — he celebrates excessively. Whether he is “showing the money” or simply trash talking to the opposing team, he has shown his cards in what type of player he is.
Now a lot of football fans would draw the line here and say that this is the reason they can’t cheer for this guy. Most people would appreciate his skill level but are absolutely disgusted by his antics. In the first game of this season for Texas A&M this past weekend Manziel got into it with an opposing defensive player and was hit with a penalty.
Now this penalty didn’t affect the outcome of the game since by this point A&M were pulling away, but with the tough SEC schedule up ahead is there reason to be concerned with Manziel?
When Johnny was walking off the field he was approached by the A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin who he then ignored and completely blew off. It doesn’t matter who you are, you never blow off your head coach like that, you stand there and hear what he has to say, especially when you are the quarterback and the “leader” for a potential National Title contender.
Sumlin seems to be a “no-nonsense” type of coach and will most likely handle the issues behind closed doors, but if Manziel continues to act like a child one can only hope that Sumlin won’t be afraid to discipline his star quarterback.
Now I will admit that I do enjoy watching Manziel and completely acknowledge that he is an incredible player, but I am afraid that the 20-year old superstar has lost a grip on the game of football.
There are certain things you just don’t do and I hope that he will learn to respect his coach and lead his team to greater ends.
Now on the flip side I don’t want to come off as the guy who doesn’t like to watch players have fun on the field. The reality is that I enjoy some good trash talking in the game of football and I do believe that there is a place for it.
I tend to think of Chad Johnson (or Ochocinco) who made a name off of trash talking. Johnson would start every game by running his mouth and would always give a show for the audience. But I do believe that Johnson — as well as many other classic trash talkers — had a higher respect for other players and certainly coaches within the game. My hope is that Manziel will continue to amaze everyone this season and continue to entertain us as well, but that he would learn to be a strong leader on the field and mature.
Tyler Rollason is a Winder-Barrow High School graduate and mass communications major at the University of West Georgia. He writes a weekly sports column for the Barrow Journal. You can e-mail comments about this column to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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