Summer of Johnny: Within 24 Hours of Each Other, the Best and Worst Johnny Manziel Pictures
The autograph broker feeding frenzy is now in full swing on Texas A&M quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel, as Tuesday sources told ESPN.com of at least two more autograph sessions that Manziel partook of back in January, including one right here in Houston.
It feels like we've officially reached the "Tiger Woods" stage of this whole autograph saga, doesn't it? Much like skank after skank emerged from the woodwork to disclose that she indeed had indulged in Tiger's woodwork when his extramarital affairs became public back in 2009, dealer after dealer of memorabilia is now coming forth with tales (fairly traceable ones, when you think about it) of Johnny plunking himself down at a table and scribbling his name hundreds of times.
Sniffing out the actual money trail will be the difficult part for the NCAA, and time is running out if they hope to slap Johnny (and, in effect, the Aggies) with any punishment.
In the meantime, the Johnny Football worship continues unfettered, and within a matter of hours in the last couple days, the world saw the unveiling of the best and worst Johnny Manziel pictures.
(For copyright reasons, the pictures can't be posted directly here, but click the links below and they will take you to the pics. Internet magic!)
I suppose I shouldn't be so harsh in calling it the worst Johnny Football picture ever, considering that it was done with the scalp of some maniacal Aggie fan being used as the canvas, his greasy hair as the paint and presumably some version of hair clippers as the brush. That's not an easy combo to pull off.
Also, it is known that "the worst picture of Johnny Football" is actually every picture that includes Uncle Nate; they're all tied for the worst. But for purposes of this blog post, we will stay with this little work of hair art.
While the degree of difficulty in executing such a piece is high, you are still judged on the final outcome. There is no ignoring the fact that this drawing of JFF has a nose that looks like it was steamrolled by an 18-wheeler, and a left eye that makes it look like he is somehow related to Tracy McGrady. That said, in terms of pure looks, it still might qualify as an improvement over the actual Manziel.
I know that Johnny Manziel's Texas Monthly cover triggered sarcastic rolling of eyes all over the internet on Tuesday, because of its sheer ridiculousness, from the superhero imagery to the actual inclusion of a censored version of the word "fucking" on the cover of the magazine. But I'm not going to lie -- I kind of liked it. I actually liked it a lot. It's a badass magazine cover. (And someday soon, when Johnny sits down to sign 4,400 "limited edition" copies, it'll be even more badass!)
The problem for me is not at all with the picture or the implication that Johnny is some sort of superhero. To Aggies and many college football fans, he's just that. My problem is that whatever was written in the magazine (and the implication is certainly that the article is a positive one) will probably be followed up in two weeks by some piece from a hand-picked Manziel family columnist, and that person will write about how Johnny is ready to implode from life in the fishbowl after the Texas Monthly article and how pissed off the Manziels are that Texas Monthly is profiting off their son's name. ("Look! They have our name RIGHT ACROSS THE COVER IN HUGE LETTERS!! MANZIEL!!! Wouldn't you be pissed?!?")
That's what the Summer of Johnny has devolved into, a seesaw of notoriety where every fun, bubbly story gets chased by a bigger, more salacious story. For every country music video, there's the Manning Passing Academy. For every trip to San Diego or Pebble Beach, there's the NCAA sniffing around Johnny's autograph. For every article forecasting a Heisman repeat, there's a column that paints a picture of enabling parents, a ticking time bomb and Uncle Nate.
And for every picture of a googly-eyed Johnny shaved into the back of some myopic kid's head, there's a picture of Johnny as a superhero on the state's signature monthly publication.
And the boiling point gets closer and closer.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 Yahoo! Sports Radio from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and nationally on the Yahoo! Sports Radio network Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon CST. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.
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