Johnny Manziel was supposed to be the darling of the National Football League when he entered pro football, but instead, he has become a tabloid and social media darling. Why do we follow his every move?
The answer to that question appears to be multi-faceted. Manziel went from promising college quarterback to national celebrity while playing at Texas A&M. His breakthrough moment came when he engineered the Aggies’ defeat of national powerhouse Alabama; once you almost single-handedly beat a team like the Crimson Tide, the spotlight will follow you.
As Manziel’s fame (and “Johnny Football” persona) grew, people became increasingly fascinated by him. He was a bold and often spectacular player on the field, and the personality he projected both on and off the field was just as brash.
There was great debate about Johnny Manziel’s NFL potential as he entered the 2014 NFL Draft — no one was quite sure if his improvisational style of play was going to lead to success in the NFL.
One team, the Cleveland Browns, believed that Manziel was going to become a star, and they swung a trade in order to draft him with the 22nd overall pick in 2014. The Browns thought they had just acquired a player who was going to be their new star quarterback (the first “franchise QB” to play for Cleveland in a very long time), and they were also banking on Johnny Manziel to become the face of the franchise.
What actually happened was something akin to a nightmare for the Browns and their fans. Manziel got off to a very slow start in his rookie season, hardly seeing any playing time. When he did play, he alternated between looking great and looking like he didn’t belong on an NFL field — his extreme inconsistency was perplexing.
The Browns continued to support Manziel through poor play and questionable behavior off the field, but after two seasons, Cleveland decided to pull the plug on the Johnny Manziel Experiment by cutting the former Heisman Trophy winner this past March. Even though he is technically not a current NFL player, the league is continuing its efforts to assist Manziel, as documented by NBC Sports.
As Manziel’s NFL career careened downhill, so did his alleged activities away from football. Johnny Manziel has been a constant presence in the news in recent months for numerous unsavory acts and the controversy that surrounds him as a result; some of the latest have been detailed by the Inquisitr. The list of Manziel’s supposed missteps, even going back to his days at Texas A&M, is rather long and has been covered by the media in excruciating detail.
Taking Johnny Manziel’s history into account, the question remains: why are people so fascinated by Manziel and his non-football activities?
According to Yahoo! Sports, the fact that Johnny Manziel presents such a paradox may be part of the answer. He seems to have a great deal of talent, but just can’t seem to get out of his own way — thereby wasting the ability he appears to have. Manziel’s audacious personality is appealing to many, yet, his reported actions make it hard to root for him on or off the football field.
There are certainly many angles to Johnny Manziel’s buzzworthy popularity. He not only drew attention to himself with his exceptional play in college, but his outgoing (and perhaps arrogant) persona also put him under the microscope. Once Manziel made it to the NFL and stories of his professed off-the-field problems began to circulate, it captured the attention of the masses.
There are those who cheer for Manziel because they are drawn to his “bad boy” image. However, it is likely that a larger segment of the population follow the 23-year-old quarterback’s every move because they are rooting for him to fail.
Johnny Manziel was once at the top of the mountain, and it seems to be a dark part of human nature that compels many of us to want to see those who are wildly successful fall flat on their faces. When you add Johnny Football’s immodest disposition to the equation, the attention garnered by a person such as this will, as we’ve seen, fly off the charts.
[Photo by Ed Zurga/AP Images]