There's been a whole lot of buzz about the Browns drafting Johnny Manziel in the NFL draft. It's been a long time since a Cleveland team has laid claim to a big time popular athlete. One that is actually bigger than the game. Well we've got one now. Manziel is immensely popular, but can he play in the NFL?
This whole thing kind of reminds me of the Kim Kardashian phenomenon. She was born into real affluence, is incredibly popular and been raised to heights unimaginable a few years ago. And why? Her TV show, some interesting home videos, and it has snowballed since. With memorable selfies, and marrying famous athletes and controversial singers. Kim is very beautiful, and insanely curvaceous in popular areas. She seems entitled, loves the bling, the high roller lifestyle, fabulous clothes, and fame. But what is she actually good at? That's a fair question. What she is good at is breaking the rules, living outside of her fans lives, all the while making them wanting to live hers. That is no small feat. Making others wanting to live your life and getting paid for it? She is popular for simply being popular.
I don't know if Kimmy K can play football or not. But for some reason, those who have far less than her, are so willing to make sure she gets more by supporting all of her endeavours and making sure she stays relevant. Johnny Manziel is the male Kim Kardashian. But there are a few differences... clearly. Manziel can play football. He won the Heisman Trophy, and played in a small handful of very exciting college football games in the nation's best college football conference. He did not win any championships, and only spent two years at Texas A&M. He is an exciting player. All of that is true.
But now he's a Cleveland Brown, and the local dudes are going hog wild! He's another young guy, born into real affluence. He breaks all the rules, seems entitled, and does his own thing just like KK. He is going to be hugely rich before he takes one step onto an NFL field whenever that is. He is a bad boy in a sense, gets in trouble, and makes waves. He lives outside of his fans lives and makes them want to live his. Sound familiar? He's brash, confident, and seems eager for prime time. Dudes love everything about him. They have us winning the Superbowl with him at the helm - this year! And they honestly don't even know if he can play at this level. But he and Kim, do have another big difference....or two.
The proof will eventually be in the pudding. Manziel will either win football games or not when he gets his chance - period. While Manziel is either tossing touchdowns, or getting his brains beat out, Kimmy K will still be on top tweeting away. If Johnny is bombing out, the fact that he is bigger than the game, and the entire draft will fade away. Oh it will take a while. Dudes will make excuses for their hero until it becomes so obvious that they have hitched their wagon to the wrong horse. But if that's the case, they will pick up and move on to the next flavor of the month, some kid they don't know today who is about in the 8th grade throwing passes this fall. And Manziel will go the way of Cleveland sports trivia lore ala Mike Junkin, Luke Witte, and Gomer Hodge.
But if Manziel cuts through and somehow graciously moves the local kid Brian Hoyer aside, and becomes the Browns for real future on the field, this area could be in for a real treat. Unlike Kardashian, Manziel will have an absolute barometer of success, and not just for being famous. He wants to win, and he could be big time exciting to watch. And if that scenario plays out, this area could be on it's ear for the next decade as the legend takes hold. Especially if Manziel totally embraces his role here as a player and a citizen in a working mans town. But he has a decision to make. Do I want to be K Kar, or Johnny Football? Truth is, he's a rock star to his fans, and so is she. We don't often get a player that is bigger in theory than the sport itself, and now he is here.
So will he be the future that we have been waiting for?
Or does Kim Kardashian play football?