I am not sure how many headlines I have read about Johnny Manziel in the past week. ESPN, NFL.com, and other major sports outlets are not hiding their longing for Johnny Football to get the starting gig in Cleveland. After the former A&M star QB took over for the struggling Brian Hoyer last week, big media’s chops were wet with the desire for more Manziel. If I were Brian Hoyer I would be careful being in public too much, since it is possible a hitman could be hired by the major sports networks to whack the Cleveland Browns QB just so Manziel can get in the game full time.
I will admit that Hoyer hasn’t set the NFL world on fire recently. But the Browns are 7-5 and are ahead of where anyone thought they would be before the season began. Hoyer hasn’t done enough wrong to lose his gig just yet. If Manziel was the right guy, he would have been named starter from the jump.
I get why ESPN and the like want Manziel to get the starting job. The guy moves the needle. That’s why there have been so many J-Football headlines. People want to know what he is doing and they will click on links to stories about him. It is the tail wagging the dog.
Believe me, the big time sports news networks would love for Manziel to swoop in and get Cleveland on a roll. The stories and interviews would pile up like my FanDuel losses (1-11 currently). You would see SportsCenter leading with Manziel this and that. PTI would feature at least three debates on hot Manziel issues of the day. Around The Horn would dissolve into a Johnny Football wasteland, with talking heads climbing over each other’s blow-hard opinions to get in a word or two about the rookie quarterback. Twitter would likely freeze up permanently and be no more, due to a Manziel tidal wave of stupid tweets.
All this Manziel coverage would go great for ratings. And as long as he was doing well on the field, it would go great for him. But once he started losing, the viciousness of 24 hour sports reporting would be unleashed. The hours would no longer be filled with pundits talking about how wonderful Manziel was playing, or how the Browns needed the kid’s spark. No, it would turn plum nasty. Manziel would be dragged through the muck at every turn just to fill up time and get ratings. Big media would do what they do, namely build a guy up just to tear him down.
Any athlete should always take what the media says about them with a grain of salt. They should never get too high or low on what reporters and opinion makers say. Athletes should go the Bill Belichick route and just basically ignore the big media. His approach doesn’t let them bother him or his plans. He just treats them as an annoyance and tolerates their existence. If and when Johnny Manziel becomes the starter for Cleveland, he should pay little attention to the headlines. If he believes what they write at first, he will think himself a football god of some sort. If he is swayed by the later headlines, he may begin to think he is a serial killer or worse.