Today a lot of the sports talk radio shows and the college and pro television shows have been talking non-stop about Johnny Football. Johnny Manziel to those of you living under a rock. His family has said this will be his last year in college. Next year it’s the NFL Draft. He is declaring before the season even starts. Some are rooting for him and many other against him. He is loud. His egotistical. He is motivated, mouthy, whiney, and at times acts like a child. He is also very talented.
Johnny Manziel is of the Madden generation and everyone out there right now complaining of his smack talking, finger pointing, and taunting need to step back and realize the future of the NFL will be more like Manziel than like last years cream of the crop Andrew Luck.
Last week EA Sports released Madden NFL 25 on all platforms. Yes it’s amazing that it has been around that long. While millions play the game religiously there are some who have never touched the game and never will. So how do you connect the dots between Manziel and a video game? The easy answer is also the simplest. With a straight line.
I don’t know of Manziel plays Madden and chances are if you asked him he would tell you no regardless of the answer. Today’s youth are obsessed with Madden and other video games and one of the largest parts of a video game is taunting. In fact taunting gets so brazen that individuals will lash out into an all out verbal assault on each other simply to see who will back out when they have no comment.
I’m 44 years old and am not ashamed to say that I play a game called SOCOM. Have for the last 10 years. Religiously every Friday night. Why? My brothers and I all live around the East coast and we get together to play a game where it’s just us. We have a good time and for a few hours every weekend we are together. Talking about days gone by, catching up on family news, and belittling the others with some of the most heated smack talk we can garner. Yep. Even “adults” get into it. It’s not just us. In the regular games the smack talk run wild and on Madden I have listened to banter between two teams that will turn your stomach and make you laugh at the same time.
In yesterdays Rice vs. Texas A&M game, Manziel entered in the 2nd half after his 1/2 game suspension was lifted. While he stood on the sidelines he endured taunts and jibes from Rice players. When he entered his attitude was already defensive. It was already elevated to the point where he needed to put up to shut up. He did. And he taunted back. While the Rice players fake signed their name and threw invisible money in the air, directed at Manziel for his autograph signing for money mishap, the camera’s only focused on Manziel returning the gesture.
Finally, after already receiving one personal conduct penalty, Manziel was lifted from the game by his coach after two Rice players and Manziel engaged in face to face taunting. Manziel walked away, something else was said and Manziel shot two fingers to the scoreboard and yelled something back. The flag flew up and Manziel was done for the day.
I’m not sticking up for Manziel. There is a time and a place for everything and at some point his antics will cost his team more than a few yards on a kick-off. He is supposed to be a leader and yet he leads very well. His actions on the field don’t always display that but it’s clear that he can lead this team week to week. While I see the point that a lot of reporters are making in the media regarding his maturity level it’s also something to point out that he is in fact still a kid. He isn’t a man, he can’t legally order a drink, he is a college football player who lives in a generation that has been raised on smack mouth video games and trash talking sports.
We shook our head at Terrell Owens antics for years but we waggle our finger at a QB for doing the same. Yes it wasn’t smart and didn’t look good for Manziel to mock his suspension but perhaps it may bring more attention to just how utterly stupid the NCAA rule is about things like signing autographs. College kids need money too. Perhaps they should get involved and use some of that money for the school and the players.
It’s obvious that Johnny Football has some growing up to do but I wouldn’t expect him to change too much. The cockiness, the ego, the mouth is part of his game and to some degree a part of his generation. We “older” folks may not like what we see but there are a lot more things I should be worried about that whether or not a College Station QB is learning a lesson from his smack talk penalty. The reality is, Manziel needs to learn one thing. How to control the depth of his rants so as not to hurt the team with a penalty. At some point, he may actually learn how to use it to get the other team to commit the penalty instead.
I’m not saying that it’s right. I’m just saying that it’s not entirely wrong either.