I’ll admit it. I’m not a huge college football fan. After all, my alma mater, the University of South Florida’s football program didn’t even exist while I was attending. Not familiar with the USF Bulls? The school has produced NFL stars such as Jason Pierre-Paul and....well, that’s about it.
So, while not being a stout follower of college sports, I am, however, a master of observation. For me, the writing is on the wall regarding Johnny Manziel’s NFL career. Tell me if this sounds familiar. Record-setting college career. Heisman Trophy winner. Media darling. First-round draft pick. We’re talking about Tim Tebow, right? Or Johnny Manziel? To me, they are interchangeable.
While their personal lives vary greatly, their career paths just may end up closer than you think. Sure, Manziel has yet to play a pro snap and at this point we’re comparing apples to oranges. But, Manziel’s career has all the makings of a Tebow-like future, minus all of the kneeling and praying.
Do I have hard facts to back up this claim? Not at all. Will the Manziel and Tebow devotees argue otherwise? Of course they will. But, several years from now, when Manziel is holding a clipboard as a third-string quarterback or even worse, out of football altogether, you can say I was right.
I live in Denver. Broncos country. I witnessed, first-hand, the rise and fall of the “great” Tim Tebow. From his heroic 4th quarter comebacks to the miraculous playoff win in 2011 over the Pittsburgh Steelers, the city was mesmerized with Tebow mania. Shortly after, someone by the name of Peyton Manning joined the team and Tebow-ing was a distant memory in the city of Denver.
And, like that, it was over. The beginning of the end. Tebow was traded to the New York Jets where he was mainly on the field as a decoy, attempting only eight passes in 2012. Even Bill Belichick took a flyer on Tebow the following year, but he was cut by the New England Patriots before the season even started. Tebow’s NFL career was finished after only three seasons.
Manziel is better but...
Yes, I do think Manziel has a better chance of lasting more than three years in the NFL. His throwing mechanics are miles ahead of Tebow’s. He’s short for a quarterback measuring just under 6 ft 0 in. And, like Tebow, he’s a duel threat with his agility and rushing abilities. His problems may stem, however, from the the lack of talent surrounding him in Cleveland.
First and foremost, he needs to beat out Brian Hoyer for the starting job. With training camp around the corner, this will be an interesting battle to watch. If he is entrenched as the starter, who is he going to throw to? Other than stud TE Jordan Cameron, the Browns’ roster isn’t exactly beaming with receiver talent. Nate Burleson and Miles Austin? This could spell disaster for the 2014 season. Just how patient will the Dawg Pound be when the losses start piling up?
So, expect the usual media circus surrounding Manziel’s training camp debut. Expect critics and supporters alike as we follow every step of his professional football career. As was the case with Tim Tebow, just don’t expect a Hall of Fame career out of Manziel.