Johnny Manziel aka Johnny Football, the mercurial Texas A&M quarterback and first round pick by the Cleveland Browns, is well used to living his life in front of the camera. At just twenty one years of age, he is already a household name and one of the most divisive players in the modern game of American Football. All this before he has even thrown a pigskin professionally.
Johnny Manziel was born on the 6th December, 1992 in Tyler, Texas. He grew up playing numerous sports but it was in football that he truly excelled. Recruited straight out of highschool, Manziel took his first steps towards stardom at Texas A&M. Manziel first played for the college in 2012, the first year that the Texas-based university played in the Southeastern Conference, the SEC. This conference, the league at the zenith of American collegiate sport, is considered to be the toughest league to compete in, with standards of play dazzlingly high.
Texas A&M, know as the Aggies, were expected to struggle in their first year playing in such a tough conference. However, Manziel led the Aggies to an impressive 10-2 record, culminating in victory at the 2013 Cotton Bowel Classic. Manziel received numerous personal accolades; he won the Manning Award and the Heisman trophy, all as a freshman. The football world sat up and started to pay attention to this young man from Texas.
Manziel’s first brush with controversy came about when sections of the media reported that he had signed autographs for money. The NCAA looked into the matter and found that Manziel had not received money for the autographs. Nevertheless, he was suspended for the first half of the Aggies’ game against Rice.
This was only the tip of a very large iceberg when it comes to Manziel’s perceived party lifestyle. After winning the Heisman Trophy along with numerous other awards in his first season, Johnny Football decided to enjoy his time off. He was pictured partying in Cabo for Spring Break, got kicked out of a fraternity party at the University of Texas, a rival college to Texas A&M, hung out with the rapper Drake and tweeted about wanting to leave college. All of this as a twenty-year-old.
Controversial incident like the ones mentioned above have helped to add to the profitable brand that is Johnny Football.
The name “Johnny Football” is a registered trademark. Manziel signed a deal with Nike and he has licensed the use of the name “Johnny Football” to them. This is very astute from Manziel as it will surely set him up financially after he retires. The brand he has built up will undoubtedly last long after he hangs up his boots.
Love him or hate him, Johnny Manziel is certainly a brand in himself. The Cleveland Browns will undoubtedly cash in on his legend and magnetic personality. The Browns’ drafting of Manziel is a win-win for everyone involved as Johnny Football has loudly announced his name on the world stage and is most definitely here to stay.
Here’s a good fifteen minute documentary on Manziel, aka The Dragon Slayer:
Ronan J.O’Sullivan, Pundit Arena.