Countdown to 2013 King of Content: 1. Johnny Manziel
With the prism of social media through which we can now consume the daily lives of our sports heroes, the question is continually asked "What would so-and-so have been like to cover/watch/root for in the age of social media?"
Photo by Sean Pendergast Throw it deep, Johnny!
If you're looking for doppelgängers for old time athletes (a more lengthy list of which is probably another post for another time) and wondering to yourself "What would Joe Namath have been like to cover if social media were available back then?" (as my man Jerome Solomon points out) look no further than Texas A&M legend and 2012 Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel.
Cabo vacations, coeds, Pebble Beach, and piles upon piles of yards, records, and charisma. An NFL B-12 shot, coming to a franchise near you (hopefully you, Houston)! It's Johnny Football...
When you consider all of the attention on his off the field exploits over the last twelve months, much of it practically begged for by him via Twitter and Instagram, Johnny Manziel may be the one highly drafted NFL rookie for whom the NFL media grind and tailing circus will actually feel tame compared to what he dealt with in college.
I think it's safe to say that there has been no more scrutinized, analyzed, and at times, criticized college athlete than Manziel. Ever. And yet, I think two things are telling when it comes to forecasting Manziel's ability to adapt to life in the NFL:
1. When he went into this season with a bigger target on his back than any player in recent history (or debatably, ever), he put up even bigger numbers than the year before. When he took on Alabama in September, he (along with wide receiver Mike Evans) almost singlehandedly kept A&M in that game, piling up over 500 yards of total offense. In short, Manziel was as big a monster in 2013 as he was in 2012.
2. I noticed this as I was compiling this piece -- I haven't written a thing about Manziel since the Alabama game. Not one football piece (which I think speaks to his greatness becoming commonplace and A&M's defense relegating the Agggies to second tier status) and not one "Johnny did what on Twitter/Instagram?!?" piece (which I think speaks to his personal growth and heightened level of self awareness).