Marcus Mariota had a dream debut. Johnny “Football” Manziel? Not so much. Despite this, the two Heisman-winning quarterbacks have sparked a lot of excitement ahead of their meeting on Sunday. The Cleveland Browns will be hosting the Tennessee Titans, and although it’s hard to think of either team as a “powerhouse,” the meeting only adds to growing anticipation of a major showdown.
— NFLonCBS (@NFLonCBS) September 18, 2015
The high expectations for this game were inevitable. According to Cleveland.com, this marks the first time in NFL history that a Heisman winner will face another Heisman winner in back-to-back games. Last week, it was Mariota against the No. 1 pick Jamies Winston. The Tennessee Titans crushed the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (and severely embarrassed Winston). That said, some are doubtful this second match-up will be nearly as easy for the rookie.
The cynicism could be blamed on the fact that the previously untested Marcus Mariota looked so good during his game against a less-than-stellar franchise. It has some onlookers assuming the good showing by Mariota was a fluke. Whether that’s a false statement or the truth is something that likely won’t be learned in Cleveland. It’s important to remember that the regular season has only just begun. It’s too soon to determine whether Mariota is the real deal or, as was the case with Manziel, if he’s being set up to be a huge letdown for Titan fans.
— ESPN (@espn) September 18, 2015
Speaking of Johnny Manziel, this game is probably of even greater importance to him than the rookie QB he’s up against. The 22-year-old is struggling to rebuild his brand after a disastrous debut last season. The Associated Press reports this game will actually mark Johnny’s third ever start in the NFL. as he’s filling in for an injured Josh McCown. Should things go well for Manziel, it’s possible that this could mark the second chance that many didn’t see coming after how last season ended.
It’s easy to consider the two young men mirror opposites of each other. Johnny Manziel earned the scorn of NFL fans for flying to Vegas and failing to immediately apply himself to mastering professional football. Marcus Mariota has been nothing but professional since being snagged by the Titans. Despite their presumed differences, Manziel does boast a greater amount of experience and training in the NFL. That could work to his advantage.
Meanwhile, Marcus Mariota has to prove he’s not a fluke and that he belongs in the NFL. The spotlight may be on Johnny Manziel for this one game, but should he falter, he will likely fade into the background. Mariota? Will find his every move on the field heavily scrutinized for the remainder of the season. Both young men have something to prove; it’s just a matter of who is going to be successful in doing so.
— SportsTime Ohio (@SportsTimeOhio) September 18, 2015
Which quarterback do you think will come out on top after Sunday’s game: Johnny Manziel or Marcus Mariota? Share your predictions and opinions below!
[Photos by: Cliff McBride/Getty Images, Rich Schultz/Getty Images]