The dumbest Johnny Manziel column of the month, April 2013

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Well, so far.

The Orlando Sentinel's Matt Murschel has concerns about Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel. I'm not exactly clear on what he's concerned about, but the existence of concerns is apparent. These concerns have been struck at in a column. Let's walk through the thing.

The Heisman Trophy honors some of the best young men that college football has to offer.

Maybe. Sometimes. As far as we know. But that's not the point of it.

Men whose actions on and off the field exemplified integrity, diligence, hard work and perseverance.

O.J. Simpson was perseverant off the field.

Men whose painted portraits have hung in the hallowed halls for close to a century and represent what is supposed to be right about college football. Johnny Manziel's portrait hangs there as well, but lately it appears more like it was taken with Instagram.

O.J. Simpson.

Because of that Heisman Trophy, Johnny Manziel has a problem.

He was arrested while shirtless months before winning it.

Actually, it's his alter-ego - Johnny Football - that appears to have the issue.

No. Johnny Football is the All-American paperboy who tilled Jesus' farm as a youngster for a nickel. Johnny Manziel is the one you're taking issue with.

Like a modern day Jekyll and Hyde, the Texas A&M quarterback has found himself justifying the off-the-field actions created by his on-the-field persona. A persona living a rock-star lifestyle in the body of a 20-year-old college student.

Johnny Manziel's alter ego has an alter ego, which is Johnny Manziel, and neither of them has actually done anything seriously troublesome since one or both of them won a Heisman or several.

After the offseason that Manziel has had, the Heisman Trust should rethink giving the award to a first-year player again.

The alternative was Manti Te'o, an inferior football player who enjoyed an offseason free of controversy.

The pictures tell the story. There's the ones of him at a club with friends, or courtside at an NBA game, or dressed up as Scooby-Doo next to scantily clad coeds, or the ones where he is enjoying spring break on the sandy beaches of Cabo.

He has FRIENDS? He likes SPORTS? He knows GIRLS? He likes SAND? What's next, SNACKS?

Each documents the life of an average college student, but in Manziel's case, he is not your average college student. He's the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, which means everything he does - good or bad - is magnified 10-fold.


It's not entirely Manziel's fault.

Lost me all over again. What's not his fault? What is "it?"

His coach, Kevin Sumlin, kept him under a media blackout, which prevented the Texas native from being properly aware of the limelight that was soon to engulf him. Instead, the public was spoon-fed the legend that was Johnny Football.

The alternative, Te'o, was perfectly prepared for said limelight. SEC defenses were also fed the legend, except in much more generous portions.

It wasn't until the weeks leading up to the Heisman ceremony that Sumlin relented, giving his star player the opportunity to speak for himself. By then, the train had already left the station and Manziel won the award based mostly on the gaudy stats that he had put up during his first season in the SEC.

Media member believes the media could've saved the world from Johnny Manziel if only it'd gotten a chance to see through the facade, I think. Te'o's story again comes to mind.

Former Notre Dame great Tim Brown - who won the Heisman Trophy in 1987 - once told me that winning the award changed everything for him. "I realized that my name had changed. I wasn't Tim Brown anymore. I was Heisman Trophy winner Tim Brown because that's how I was introduced to everybody."


It's a lesson that won't be taught in any online class at Texas A&M and there's no Cliff Notes version you can pick up at the school bookstore. It's something Manziel is learning the hard way this offseason.

Johnny Manziel seems very aware of his impact and renown. It's why he does the things he does.

It's not just about age.

So a Heisman can go to a freshman again?

Former Alabama great Mark Ingram won the Heisman Trophy at 19 - as a sophomore - yet he somehow wasn't featured on TMZ or didn't find himself in a verbal war with trolls on Twitter.

Everyone knows Ndamukong Suh should've won, even though he might be crazy.

Perhaps it was the extra year under Nick Saban. There is no brighter spotlight than the one focused on Alabama and all that extra attention was great training for the pressures that would come with winning the award.

Starting quarterbacks at Texas A&M tend to float through College Station like ghosts, forever unacknowledged and anonymous. Nobody likes football there.

It appears Manziel wasn't quite ready to handle those pressures.


Hopefully in the future, Heisman voters will carefully consider the media savvy and maturity of a candidate along with their on the field achievements.

The entire problem with the Heisman Trophy is its extreme emphasis on media savvy, right? If senior quarterbacks don't win it, senior running backs win it. That's a broken award, and Manziel's victory should've moved its system a step in the right direction.

And after all that, I'm still not clear on what Johnny Manziel has done that's wrong. This can be the last concern-trolling Manziel column until the young man actually does something worthy of scandal, right?

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