I should have written about Johnny Manziel back in the summer. I had a lot to write about then, and not so much now. Everybody knows who he is: 2012 Heisman trophy winner, took the college football watching country by storm with his performance against the eventual back-to-back national champions in November 2012, appeared in a horde of news stories over the summer and the name “Johnny Football” became a name only spoken of with hesitation and pause in regards to his maturity.
That’s caused a lot of disdain to come out of people, typically from seasoned college football fans who have watched the facade of mature football players showing themselves over the years, but because of social media outlets like Twitter, the worst of people come out when a screen is in front of them and repercussions are unable to be had.
I’ve defended Johnny Manziel elsewhere and I’ll do it here and now.
— Johnny Manziel was 20 when most of his on and off campus issues were going on whether it was the autographs or wild partying.
— He’s practically still a kid, even now, at 21.
— He’s never really had to grow up.
— He ‘grew up’, brought up by wealthy parents in a childhood and beyond that presented no personal challenge or growth fueled by adversity promoting situations.
I’ll continue to hammer and unremittingly emit one of my favorite quotes: “Life without pain is a life without challenge and a life without challenge is a life without growth“.
Manziel still has a lot of growing up to do, and that’s alright. At this point, he’s seemed to have made a lot of strides in the maturity department. Could he waltz into the NFL and potentially do well? Sure. He’s only 6’1″, but look in the NFL: Russell Wilson is only 5’11” and Drew Brees is 6’0″. I reckon they are doing well for themselves. Manziel is also an improvisor, much like Wilson, where he can make plays with his feet and throw the football on the run. Also, another feature, is that he can take a hit and bounce back up from it, something that should not be understated when somebody is making the transition from the college game to the pros.
But why wouldn’t another year in college football extend his growth and maturity not only as a human being but as a football player and leader?