In my sport watching lifetime, I'm not sure I've ever come across a player like Johnny Manziel. I'm not even talking about the exciting, often reckless, style of play that took the college football world by storm back in 2012, an incredible set of skills that won him the Heisman Trophy that season. I'm talking about someone who embodied both legend and infamy, almost simultaneously at times.
At his peak, "Johnny Football" was big box office, and the catalyst for a major university generating hundreds of millions of dollars to build new stadiums and sell millions in merchandise. At his nadir, Johnny Manziel was a binge drinking nightmare, and an NFL washout. These peaks and valleys are all presumably captured in the new Manziel documentary set to drop on August 8 on Netfilx, as part of the new season of their "Untold" documentary series.
The trailer dropped on Wednesday:
As we watched Manziel dominate the SEC, and run afoul of the NCAA at Texas A&M back in the day, it felt like we would eventually get a documentary on the tour de force from Kerrville. As we watched his career and life slide into the toilet on Instagram, like a tragic film, we KNEW we would get a documentary someday. The question was "Would Manziel be around to witness it?"
Fortunately, he is. Manziel seems to have gotten his life in order, even if it means no longer playing football professionally. In the trailer, there are some pretty eye-opening bites/ Manziel sitting in a chair talking on camera saying "Nineteen-year-old kid. Have 100 grand stuffed under your bed. It was awesome" is certainly a damn good tease.
Manziel is also shown candidly saying, "I thought I played better the harder I partied," and "It probably was a $5 million bender." The portion of the documentary covering his tumble into the abyss is also foreshadowed when he says despondently, "When I got everything that I wanted, I think I was the most empty that I’d ever felt inside."
Of course, Manziel was a legendary college football player, helping the Aggies announce their presence with authority in joining the SEC in 2012. Manziel would go on to win the Heisman that season, and finish fifth in the voting in 2013. The following spring, Manziel was drafted 22nd overall in the NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns, and if we are being honest, that was the beginning of his downfall. Manziel was out of the NFL after two seasons, and spent the next several months after his career ended partying his way around the globe, and entering a short lived marriage with model Bri Tiesi.
The other episodes in this season of "Untold" include an episode on Youtube sensation Jake Paul and how he has disrupted the boxing world, an episode on Victor Conte and the Balco steroid controversy that swept baseball in the early 2000s, and finally there is an episode about the Florida Gators football program under Urban Meyer and the spate of crime there on Meyer's watch.
The series begins on August 1 with the Jake Paul episode.
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Sean Pendergast is a contributing freelance writer who covers Houston area sports daily in the News section, with periodic columns and features, as well. He also hosts the morning drive on SportsRadio 610, as well as the pre-game and post game shows for the Houston Texans.