Thank you, Johnny Manziel, for being as Johnny Football as you can possibly be.
What does football teach us? We know that it is extremely difficult to make it in the NFL. The playbook is as thick as a dictionary, personalities run rampant, and staying in top physical shape is one of the toughest jobs you have. However what we learn starts much earlier than that. Teamwork, perseverance, dedication to a craft. Lessons of best friends, respect, and values that can and will span the decades to come. These are the subjects we study. And endless practices, scrimmages, and grueling games are the classrooms. Of course, we’re not without our share of failures and disappointments either. You try and try to get a blocking scheme correct and no matter how hard you practice you just can’t move your feet right. Or a route that, if you could make that little juke move a half second earlier, would result in a touchdown every time. Nothing is going right and it seems like even your own team is working against you. But hey, that’s football. Pack it in and give it 100% tomorrow.
Let me tell you a little story of personal experience. Back in my playing days we had a situation much like this happen to our team. I had recently been switched from recieving tight end to run blocking just for this game. The opposing secondary was a nightmare and our QB was undersized. We had a beast of a running back who could help give us a fighting chance but we couldn’t solely rely on the run. All game long we battled back and forth through the mud and rain; in the trenches where gaining more than two yards was considered a victory unto itself. Our players and theirs were soaked from head to toe, no team colors visible. Just 22 guys covered in water, dirt, and whatever other filth was on that field.
But no one gave up. No one wanted to blink and not one of us wanted to be the reason for a loss. I remember all I could see were visions of World War 1 in my head. And though I could never know what it felt like for those soldiers, they sure as hell had my sympathies. Now more than ever. The game ended in a final score of 6-3. And as that final whistle blew both teams congratulated each other on a hard fought battle. Egos were swept aside and personal achievements meant nothing. We brought out the best in each other. We pushed it to the limit and came back champions. That was the most gratifying loss I’ve ever experienced. And I wouldn’t trade it for the world. We shared respect of each other and the game. And I whole heartedly believe that if it weren’t for that respect it wouldn’t had been such a remarkable experience.
Johnny Manziel flipping off the opposing bench…out of “frustration”. Talk about a total disgrace.
All the analysts, broadcasters, and writers can make all the excuses for him that they want. They can chalk it up to frustration, they can say he had a momentary lapse in judgment. I don’t buy it. This was the privileged kid on the team who never had to go through any hardships or suffering. He didn’t know what it was to have to eat Ramen 5-6 days a week in order to have the money to live off of. He never knew the joy of having a car that didn’t break down every couple of hours or having to walk through the cafeteria with a big green ticket thst gave him school lunches for free. This was the guy who got a brand new everything just because it no longer smelled new. This is the guy who valued nothing because everything he ever had came so easily. He was the most popular, the most looked up to, and worst of all, the guy who took everything for granted. Without those lessons hitting you in the face there is surely no way he respects his job or what everyone around him has worked so hard to provide.
I’ll close on this note; an open plea to head coach Mike Pettine. Please, please, PLEASE bench Hoyer for Manziel for week one. There needs to be some serious attitude adjustment therapy handed out. And the likes of Cam Heyward, Jason Worilds and Ryan Shazier are just the guys to do it. After Johnny Football has to peel himself off Heinz Field a few times I believe he’s going to start rethinking how he views the game. And I know he won’t be flipping anyone the bird, especially not Dick LeBeau’s defense.