College Football or Johnny Football

heisman-johnny-manziel-football_jpeg8-1280x960The college football season kicked off this weekend and the opening week did not disappoint. In the weekend’s biggest game, Tajh Boyd and Clemson outgunned Georgia in an early season showdown. Teddy Bridgewater showed why people are talking about Louisville this season. Alabama’s special teams and defense outscored its offense. Seven FBS schools that scheduled FCS opponents for easy wins were shocked in upsets. And the most polarizing figure in college football made sure he continued to be talked about. Even though it was the first week of college football, the entire week was more about Johnny Football. Let’s look at this week in the Manziel saga.

 

 

THE SUSPENSION:   

Dez Bryant has lunch with Deion Sanders:

Suspended entire season

 

Terrelle Pryor and four other teammates sell rings, jerseys, and awards for tattoos:

Five players suspended for five games, Ohio State later receives bowl ban.

 

Reggie Bush and his family receive money from sports agents Lloyd Lake and Michael Michaels:

USC receives two-year bowl ban, reduction of 10 scholarships a year over three years, four years probation, has BCS title vacated, and Bush has his Heisman revoked.

 

Johnny Manziel allegedly sells autographed memorabilia to broker:

Half-game suspension against the Rice Owls.

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Manziel began his week by bending over the NCAA. When the news dropped about Johnny Football’s suspension, everyone was thinking the same thing: that the NCAA infractions  committee is a hollow organization that operates under no standards absent a double-standard.  Am I mad that Manziel only received a 30-minute ban despite pretty strong circumstantial evidence? No, I’m even in favor of college players being able to profit from their talents. I mean the NCAA, colleges and everyone else is profiting from them, so why shouldn’t they? Manziel is truly a once in a generation college football player. Not only can he make a joke out of opposing team defenses, he can make a joke out of college’s leading organization. Apparently, Manziel can show the weaknesses of the NCAA as easily as he shows the weakness in other defenses.

The first weakness of the NCAA is that the NCAA has the investigative prowess of Helen Keller. Texas A&M and Manziel gladly accepted the half game suspension, basically admitting that Manziel violated NCAA rules in some way. Why take a punishment if you did nothing wrong? You can’t drop the hammer on someone when you don’t even have a hammer. Everyone on the NCAA investigative committee must have been the worst hide-and-seek players of all time, because they are incapable of finding anybody. To avoid embarrassment, the NCAA had to hand down some sort of punishment after it became apparent that Manziel received money for his autograph. A&M danced at the idea of a 30-minute punishment, and the NCAA showed itself capable of slapping wrists despite a high-profile case. Once Manziel received his punishment, I’m sure he called Cam Newton and they had a good laugh about the investigative powers of the NCAA.

The next weakness is that college football marketability and profitability overrule NCAA ethics. The NCAA couldn’t afford to hand down a harsh punishment to Manziel.  Texas A&M will be playing Alabama in two weeks and every fan of college football demands Manziel to be in that game. That marquee game becomes ignored if Johnny Football doesn’t play. Big time players just don’t miss big time games. Look at the case of Newton. Newton was ruled ineligible for an entire day before being reinstated prior to the SEC Championship game and continuing to the National Championship.  Pryor and other would be suspended players were handed down their punishments prior to Ohio State’s appearance in the Sugar Bowl. The NCAA however ruled that the players’ suspensions wouldn’t begin until AFTER the big-time game. The supposed ethical standards that the NCAA pursues can take a backseat when money comes into the picture. But hey, what can you expect from an organization that had Paul Dee as its committee on infractions chairman. Yes, the same Paul Dee that was athletic director of Miami during the Nevin Shapiro scandal (in which Miami players received benefits such as cash, prostitutes, parties and even an abortion) was the chairman of the committee that handed USC its crippling suspension. I don’t know if any of these people should be preaching about ethical standards.

THE GAME:

Manziel began and ended the game against Rice in timeout. Manziel served his suspension in the first half of the game and entered the second half with his team up by a touchdown. Manziel did exactly what everyone expected him to do once in the game. Manziel completed 6 of 8 passes for 94 yards and 3 touchdowns. He also scrambled for 19 yards on 6 carries. You can’t find much to complain about when a guy scores three touchdowns in a quarter-and-a-half. This is Johnny Football we’re talking about though, there has to be something for people to argue about. Manziel didn’t disappoint as he proceeded to talk shit to a Rice player and then point to the scoreboard, earning himself an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in the process. He then proceeded to arrogantly walk by his coach and take a spot on the bench. Matt Joeckel went back in for the final series of the game but you can’t argue that this is Manziel’s team.

Manziel is one of the most talented quarterbacks in college football and he knows it. He’s arrogant, egotistical and young. At the same time he’s a great leader, team player and aggressive. This young quarterback has the entire nation forming an opinion about him. Manziel’s teammate best expressed why people love him after the Rice game.  A&M tackle Cedric Ogbuehi said, “He’s a fiery guy; that’s what we love about him. He’s not quiet. He’s not shy. He’s going to be loud and aggressive, and that’s what makes him Johnny Football.” Manziel’s aggressive, loud and in-your-face personality has won him millions of fans. Johnny Football is living the dream of every college guy. He’s a top quarterback, a celebrity and does pretty much whatever he wants. If you told me I was the best player in college football at the age of 19, I’d probably make some poor decisions too.

The same antics that have won over millions, have condemned him in the minds of millions of other fans.  They see him as a careless, selfish and pompous young kid given the Heisman too early. No matter your opinion, nobody can argue the fact that everyone is completely fascinated by Johnny Football. College football fans around the world will tune in to see what happens next in the Manziel saga and watch him play. Love him or hate him, you can’t escape him. He’s at the very center of the college football universe and there is no bigger story. It’s early in the season and all we need to do is sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride that is Johnny Football. College football is Manziel’s world right now, the rest of us are just part of it.

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Tye Masters
Sports Activist for The Cover 4
http://www.facebook.com/thecover4
http://www.twitter.com/thecover4

 

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