For four months earlier last year, Johnny Manziel had everybody fooled. Hoodwinked. Bamboozled!
Right after he announced his intentions to head to the NFL, Manziel immediately began taking measures to portray an NFL-friendly image, sending the message that his hard-partying ways were a thing of the past. He took a hiatus from social media, getting off Twitter altogether. He began working out daily with his personal QB coach, George Whitfield, in San Diego.
Manziel essentially became a football hermit. When he did media sessions, he'd talk about how he'd matured and changed and how football was the most important thing.
At this point, if you'd asked odds on Manziel capturing the King of Content title for 2014, he might not have even been on the board. How do we write about Johnny when he's not using Twitter or Instagram to give us the kindling?
To his credit, Manziel managed to keep it together until draft night, when the Browns traded up to get him with the 22nd overall pick, praying to the football gods that he would finally end their streak of futility (20 starting quarterbacks since 1999) at the sport's most important position.
How long would it take for things to unravel for Johnny? As it turned out, not long at all.
Just hours after being drafted, Manziel was spotted in New York City at a club with a champagne bottle the size of a torpedo hanging off his mouth, and within a few weeks, he was back on the weekly party grind -- in Austin, in Houston, in Vegas. If you're looking for a logo for the Summer of Johnny, 2014 edition, it's probably this....
— Eric (@Ekydoog_Cire) June 7, 2014
— BuzzHorn (@buzzhornmedia) December 24, 2014
All of this stuff would probably be fine (okay, maybe not fine but more tolerable) if Manziel could actually play, but it took him 13 weeks to take the starting job from Brian Hoyer and once he got his chance, he fell flat on his face, throwing for 80 yards and two awful picks in a shutout loss to the Bengals in his debut.
Manziel finished the season on the bench, getting into scuffles in the lobby of his building, throwing parties on Friday and being late for treatment on Saturday. These off-the-field peccadilloes were always part of the Johnny Football package. Ironically now, though, the only part of the Johnny Football package that Manziel appears to have left in College Station is his ability to play football.
Fortunately, for me, I don't need him to be good at football to get what I need from Johnny Manziel. As long as Johnny stays on this grind of self-inflicted wounds, I'm perfectly fine with Johnny Football being Johnny Content.
All hail the king, for the second straight year! Johnny Manziel, your 2014 King of Content!
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