Johnny Manziel is certainly not the best quarterback to have come out of college football and been drafted in the NFL, but he is definitely one of the most high profile players this century has seen.
This popularity means he has and will be for sometime in the public eye. This is good and bad news for Johnny Manziel and the Cleveland Browns. His good efforts in the NFL will become great ones with the help of the media who created him, as their eagerness to highlight his bizarre but brilliant plays takes hold because of how they entertain masses of fans.
However, the intense microscope on 'Johnny Football' means that any of his so called hiccups, such as partying in Las Vegas, can be taken out of context, leading to criticism from all corners of the NFL media.
He's revered and criticized in almost equal measure these days, but that's no problem for Manziel. The one thing he has on other top college QB's that struggled in the NFL, such as Tim Tebow and Vince Young, is media savviness. He's the ultimate manipulator. And having dealt with intense media since age 19 he knows exactly how to work it, just as he did at the NBA Finals Game 2 Sunday night.
Now you might say that his recent trip to Las Vegas is not a great example of this, where he partied with bikini-clad girls and New England Patriots tight-end Rob Gronkowski, but this is where you're wrong.
Media criticized him for partying during Memorial Weekend in Vegas, with former players such as Heath Evans saying he should be spending all of his time studying the Cleveland Browns' playbook ahead of the NFL training camp.
However, this was just another example of how modern media and ex-pros can just be a simply stupid duo sometimes.
A quick response to the Manziel and Vegas situation was needed by the 24-hour news vehicle that his the NFL Network, and a former pro eager to drive debate went on the attack.
Heath Evans did just that on NFL Total Access, claiming that Manziel will waste his chance in the NFL because of extra-curricular activities like Vegas.
But Total Access and the former NFL great failed to have the most important ingredients of any story - the facts.
Before Johnny Manziel even went to Vegas to enjoy himself with Gronkowski and Co, he asked Cleveland Browns head coach Mike Pettine whether he could go and he told his boss what he'd be up to.
This is a great example of Manziel winning out in his little battle back and forth with certain sections of the media. Analysts such as Evans looked stupid once Browns coach Pettine told the full story.
Modern media tends to jump on stories too quickly sometimes and gives opinions too quickly because it needs to drive debate straight away. But Manziel won't be giving them too many more opportunities to rip into him as he becomes more and more wise to their ways.
Just take the NBA Finals Game 2 match-up between Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs, at which Manziel appeared in the crowd Sunday night. Despite being good friends with LeBron James, Manziel didn't wear any LeBron apparel at the game, he instead wore a Cleveland Cavaliers basketball cap to show his support for his new home.
This is the opposite of what LeBron did when he watched the New York Yankees playing Cleveland Indians in the MLB while he was still with the Cavs, he turned up wearing a Yankees baseball cap.
That was a massive mistake for James, leading to a lot of angry Cavs fans. Manziel was clearly aware of that when he turned up at the NBA Finals. Well aware of how to manipulate, he showed his support for Cleveland with the cap.
It's this media savviness that sets Manziel apart just as much as his quality play on the field. If he's to become the NFL icon he wants to be, he will obviously have to be awesome on the field, but an ability to work the media like he has could take him into a new stratosphere of NFL celebrity.
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