From Johnny Football To Johnny Flop

Johnny Manziel warming up for Texas A&M

Hey, how ya’ll doing. Me? I’ve experienced every emotion possible over the past month watching England play in the Euro Cup. What a ride. What a ride indeed. My mom and husband probably suffered the most since I’m sure my dad and I were OBNOXIOUS every time we watched a match. It is what it is! Has anyone else heard about the hate Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, and Bukayo Saka have been receiving? Isn’t it just absolutely disgusting? How can some people carry so much hate in bitterness inside them? It truly makes me sick. What makes me happy though is all the people who have pulled together to show them support. Honestly, if you support that kind of treatment towards those three players or anyone for that matter. Get off my blog right now. Like right this minute because on The Darkside of Sports we love all people. ALL PEOPLE! Unless you’re an asshole, or a serial killer or something…..they aren’t included in the love fest. Just remember, hate NEVER wins.

I know you all remember Johnny Manziel or “Johnny Football” if you will. If you say you don’t remember him you are a filthy liar because, in 2014, he was all the sports programs talked about ahead of the NFL draft. You had to have heard his name at least once. Honestly, his 2015 and 2016 season was an absolute shit show and the whole world wanted to watch. I know my dad and I enjoyed the journey and talked about it practically every Sunday. I know you guys are probably like “Wow, Nikki you sure do mention your dad a lot.” Well, if you had a kick-ass dad who passed down a love of sports to you and supports your passion for them you would mention him a lot too. Okay, dad, I put it in the article am I in the will now? Just kidding! That came from my own black heart. Toot toot! All aboard the Johnny Manziel train wreck!

Jonathan Paul Manziel was born on December 6, 1992, in Tyler, Texas to Michelle and Paul Manziel. Growing up he played football, baseball, and golf. While at Tivy High School he mainly focused on football. Coaches, sportswriters, and parents claimed that Johnny achieved “folk hero status” on the field and was even compared to NFL quarterbacks like Drew Brees, Michael Vick, and Brett Farve. Wow, those people were way off target with those comparisons. Manziel played football all four years he attended high school. As a freshman, he played for the junior varsity team but by the end of the year, he had moved up to the varsity team, playing as a receiver. During his sophomore year, he started the season out primarily as a receiver but slowly shifted to playing as a quarterback. By the time his junior year rolled around he became the team’s starting quarterback.

Manziel did eventually play against the Arkansas Razorbacks, during this game he broke Archie Manning’s (Papa to Cooper, Eli, and Peyton Manning) 43-year-old total offense record which quickly put him on the fan’s radar. Two games later he broke his own record against Louisiana Tech. He became the first player in SEC (Southeastern Conference) history to have two 500 plus total offense games in one season. On November 24, 2012, Johnny left a game against the Missouri Tigers with an apparent knee injury but later returned. That same game he broke the single-season record for offensive production in the SEC with 4,600 yards, surpassing Cam Newton and Tim Tebow, notable recent Heisman Trophy winners. Side note, Tebow was also a huge NFL flop but he has a chance at redemption since he was picked up by the Jacksonville Jaguars this year, not as a quarterback (because they got “Money Minshew” and his marvelous mustache) but a tight end. Manziel also became the first freshman and only the fifth player in NCAA history to pass for 3000 and rush for 1,000 yards in a season. On December 8, 2012 he won the Heisman Trophy, making him the first freshman to ever receive that honor. Safe to say he was on fire that year.

At the start of the 2013 season Johnny’s eligibility was deeply questioned after word got out that in January of that year, he had signed autographs for fans in exchange for money. For those who don’t know, college athletes CAN NOT accept any type of monetary value for sports memorabilia. In addition to that they may not get paid for endorsement deals from any type of company or for the use of their likeness. I think those rules are slowly changing though. On August 28. 2013 Manziel was officially suspended for the first half of the 2013 season opener. That’s right, he was only suspended for HALF A GAME! Texas A&M also came out and said that Manziel never received any type of money in exchange for the autographs but I think we all know that’s a crock of shit. They probably did that just to protect their star player. During a game that season against Mississippi Manziel tied his single game career high five touchdowns.

In January 2014, Johnny Manziel announced that he would forego his junior year to enter the NFL draft. Prior to the draft, he was one of the most talked-about players with sports journalists and commentators calling him anything from “undraftable” to “rare competitor”. Oh, and some called him an “arrogant little prick”. On draft day 21 teams including the Cleveland Browns passed him up. However, the Browns later changed their mind and drafted him as their 22nd overall pick. With a height of 5’11, Johnny Manziel was the shortest quarterback to ever be drafted in the first round until Kyler Murray came along in 2019 who stands at 5’10. I honestly thought Manziel was shorter than that but my husband is 6’10 and has totally disoriented my judgment of people’s height since everyone looks short compared to him. Oh boy, I got a fun little nugget of information for ya’ll, Manziel was drafted by San Diego Padres as a shortstop in the 2014 MLB draft.

On August 22, 2014, Manziel was fined $12,000 by the NFL after flipping the bird towards the Washington Redskins (I said what I said) bench after a preseason game loss. As a result, Cleveland named Brian Hoyer as starting quarterback at the start of the season, leaving Manziel on the bench. On December 21, 2014, Johnny Manziel left a game against the Carolina Panthers with a hamstring injury. You guys ever pull a hamstring? That shit hurts! That season completed 18 of 35 passes for 176 yards and two interceptions and rushed nine times for 29 yards and one touchdown. This caused 20 sources within the Cleveland Browns organization to questions Manziel’s work ethic and commitment to the team. An anonymous player even called Manziel’s rookie season a “100 percent joke”. Not a good look Johnny boy, not a good look at all.

Manziel sat out with a concussion the last week of the 2015 season. Rumors spread that he spent the week in Las Vegas instead of with the team. The Browns confirmed that Manziel did miss a scheduled check-in on the morning of the last game of the season. In early February 2016, the Cleveland Browns announced that they were cutting ties with the young quarterback. On May 19, 2018, Johnny Manziel signed a two-year deal with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League. On July 16. 2018 Manziel was traded to the Montreal Alouettes. He played a total of eight games in the CFL. CFL League officials ordered the Alouettes to drop Manziel on February 27, 2019, stating that he had “contravened” the terms of his CFL contract. He was later banned from the CFL entirely. Dude, how the hell do you get banned from the Canadian Football League?

On March 16, 2019, Manziel signed with the Memphis Express of the Alliance of American Football. He played in his first game on March 24, 2019, but just three days later the AAF suspended operations and the 2019 season came to an abrupt end. On December 30, 2020, Johnny signed with Fan Controlled Football an upcoming indoor American football league. He was assigned to play for the Zappers (I swear that’s the team’s name). In a February 2021 USA Today interview, Manziel stated he joined the league out of boredom and expressed his disinterest in playing any more professional football in the future. Although, as far as I know, he is still a part of FCF. Wow, his career was fun. What a crazy ride. But now we can get down to the really good stuff.

On January 29, 2012, Manziel was arrested and charged with three misdemeanors; disorderly conduct, failure to produce identification, and possession of a fictitious driver’s license. Do you think the name on the license was Johnny Football? The charges were a result of a fight Manziel was involved in while spending time with a friend in College Station, Texas. Police reports stated that Manziel was with a friend who directed a racial slur at a man on the street. The man then walked up to the two of them and tried to get to the friend, but Manziel placed himself between the two, saying his friend didn’t mean it and he was going to take him home. The man continued pushing against Manziel to reach the other man, and Manziel eventually pushed back. The man swung at Manziel who then began fighting back. Shortly afterward, the bicycle patrol officers arrived. Manziel was 19 at the time, and he presented to police officers a fake Louisiana driver’s license that showed him to be 21 years of age. He was taken into custody and reportedly spent the night in jail. Could that be considered self-defense? If someone hits me first, I’m hitting them back. Although it probably wasn’t a smart move to hand the officer a fake I.D.

During the 2013 Texas A&M off-season, Manziel drew a lot of attention to himself for his off-field shenanigans. Which included his early departure from the Manning Passing Academy after supposedly oversleeping, tweeting that he “can’t wait to leave College Station” after receiving a pissy-ass parking ticket Get over yourself dude, seriously), and getting kicked out of a University of Texas fraternity party. This was also around the time he allegedly accepted money in exchange for his autograph. On February 4, 2015, Manziel entered treatment for unspecified reasons. On May 30, 2015, Manziel was involved in an altercation with a heckler at the AT&T Byron Nelson golf tournament. The person had been continually asking for an autograph, to the point that Manziel became fed up and threw a water bottle at the man. The water bottle missed the heckler. Seriously bro, you’re a quarterback, should have been able to hit something as big as a person. Security and police were called, but no criminal charges were filed. This all occurred during the NFL off-season.

In October 2015, during the NFL season, Manziel was pulled over by police after fighting in his car with his then-girlfriend, Colleen Crowley. However, no charges were filed. Later that year Sports Illustrated’s Peter King claimed that the Browns are “so done with Manziel” and he “wants to go to Dallas.” I think all Cowboys fans let out a sigh of relief after dodging that bullet. I believe I speak for all of us when I say; no way dude, we didn’t want you in Dallas then and we don’t want you in Dallas now. On January 6, 2016, Manziel’s marketing team, LRMR, announced that they would no longer be working with him. Manziel’s agent at the time, Erik Burkhardt, also announced that he would no longer represent Manziel. On February 5, 2016, the Dallas Police Department they were opening a criminal investigation on Manziel following claims of domestic violence involving ex-girlfriend, Colleen Crowley. The case had previously been closed but police reopened it with allegations stemming from an altercation on January 30, 2016. Crowley claimed that Manziel forced her into a car, pulled her by her hair, and threatened to kill both her and himself. This was allegedly the last straw for the Cleveland Browns and was a factor in their decision to drop him. On April 24, 2016, Manziel was indicted by a Dallas grand jury on misdemeanor assault charges.

On April 19, 2016, after two months of representing Manziel his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, dropped him as a client, marking the first time in Rosenhaus’ 27-year career he terminated his relationship with an NFL player. If that doesn’t say something about Johnny’s character, I don’t know what will. On the same day, Nike ended its sponsorship with Manziel. Damn, he got a double drop in less than 24 hours. In a leaked text message from June 24, 2016, Manziel’s attorney, Bob Hinton, expressed concerns about Johnny’s ability to stay clean. Stating that he had gotten his hands on a receipt that showed Manziel spent about $1,600 at the “Gas Pipe”, a drug paraphernalia store. The same day the text was leaked Johnny’s dad, Paul Manziel, told ESPN: “He’s a druggie. It’s not a secret that he’s a druggie. Hopefully, he doesn’t die before he comes to his senses. I mean, I hate to say it, but I hope he goes to jail. I mean, that would be the best place for him. I’m doing my job, and I’m going to move on. If I have to bury him, I’ll bury him.”

Imagine your FATHER saying some shit like that about you and not just in private but to a GIGANTIC SPORTS MEDIA COMPANY. People all over the nation probably heard that, hell, people all over the world probably heard it. Damn papa Manziel is a savage. On June 30, 2016, Manziel was suspended for the first four games of the upcoming NFL season after violating the league’s substance-abuse policy. On September 5, 2016, Manziel returned to his alma mater to attend classes. I guess he realized that football didn’t pan out the way he hoped it would. On December 2, 2016, Manziel and prosecutors finalized a plea agreement in which Manziel agreed to undergo counseling and have his conduct monitored by prosecutors for up to a year or face prosecution.

Wow, that was a whirlwind for sure. For some reason, I feel like we haven’t heard the last of Johnny Manziel. I feel like he is just going to pop up nowhere with some other crazy antics. Honestly, he should have taken it easy on the Cleveland Browns. Haven’t they been through enough shit already? Sometimes it just takes people a while to get their life on track. Maybe if he waited one more year to enter the draft, he would have done better. You can mature a lot in a year. Then again, some people never mature at all. Either way, I hope Manziel got himself on track, and he is out there living his best life. Probably wishful thinking. Well, this is your stop, time to get off the train wreck. Make sure you don’t miss the next one.

Sources:

“What Happened to Johnny Manziel?” – Republic World

“How Bad Was Johnny Manziel Actually?” – Nonstop Sports (YouTube)

“Johnny Manziel” – ESPN

“Texas A&M Johnny Manziel” – Bleacher Report

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