Flash in the Pan: The Johnny Manziel Story

flash in the pan

  1. (idiomatic) A transient occurrence with no long-term effect
  2. (idiomatic) A career notable for early success not followed by significant accomplishment.
    Synonyms: misfire, fad, dud, Johnny Manziel

Let's talk football, Johnny Football. Few figures in sports are as polarizing as Johnny Manziel. You either hate him or you love him. Some "experts" say he's a sure fire top-10 pick, others say they wouldn't touch him with a 10-foot pole.

You want my pseudo-expert opinion? Well you're gonna get it anyways. Say what you want, but Manziel has peaked. And if he goes in the first round, he's going to be a bust!

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Pro day, schmo-day. Those things don't matter nearly as much as the media makes them out to be. Yes, we all love the 24/7 coverage on all things football, but pro days are not that important! Do they matter? Sure. But a great pro day doesn't equate to a great NFL career. Mike Mayock, NFL network draft guru, proved this when he said, "The best pro day I've ever seen is JaMarcus Russell." Do I need to remind my readers how Russell's career turned out? (Just google "draft bust") So let's take it down a notch on Manziel's hip-hop flavored pro day and talk about things that actually matter. 

Houston's not going to take him and Cleveland didn't even go to his pro day. Oakland is the only team I can think of who would be crazy enough to possibly roll the dice on him. However, after their aforementioned bust of a pick used on Russell in 2007, I would understand if they were more than hesitant. Not to mention the Raiders recently signed Matt Schaub and even though Schaub is likely not the long term solution in Oakland, I'm going to go ahead and list them as a long shot. 

Here's the deal, Manziel was an amazing college player. There's no denying it. He was as electrifying a player as we've seen in years. But so was 2001 Heisman winner and fellow scrambling QB, Eric Crouch. You don't remember him? That's because he got drafted as a wide-receiver and then retired before he ever saw a single snap. The guy was an incredible college quarterback, but that doesn't always translate to the NFL.

Maybe you write off Crouch as an anomaly. What do you do with Vince Young then? Vince dazzled college football for years and led his Longhorns past USC for a national championship. Then he went to the pro's and, well, you know the rest of the story. Didn't he file for bankruptcy recently? Ok, that was a cheap shot. But really, Vince is a prime example for what NFL teams are going to get with Manziel. And let's not forget that Vince had the size of a prototypical professional QB that Johnny will never have.

Need I continue with big name college quarterbacks who fizzled out in the pros? Yes? Ok, you brought this one on yourself. Tim Tebow ring a bell? Yet another SEC, national champion, Heisman winning scrambling QB who did what in the pros? Half a season starting for Denver, then even after winning a playoff game was promptly traded. "Why? He won a playoff game!" you might wonder. The Broncos didn't win because of Tebow, but in spite of Tebow. Obviously the Peyton Manning signing had a little something to do with the Broncos dumping Tebow, but the fact that he couldn't even unseat Mark Sanchez and barely saw the field before his eventual release only further proves my point. Owner's know it, coaches know it, and scouts know it, but enough about Tebow.

Let me just go ahead and take the wind out of your sails. At this point you may be thinking, "Yea, but Caleb, Russell Wilson just won the Super Bowl! Wilson and Manziel are basically the same player. Booyah! In yo face!" Woah, easy killer. Let's get one thing straight, Johnny Manziel is not Russell Wilson. Not even close. Wilson is a humble leader, plays with integrity and doesn't make mistakes. Not to mention that he's on a team with a crazy good ground game and the best defense the league has seen in years. So before you start hurling the Russell Wilson comparisons at me, just think about it for a second.

All I'm saying is that if you watch Johnny Football, and you're not an A&M graduate, you know exactly why he won't make it in the NFL. His unorthodox style is fine and dandy when you can out run most everyone on the defense, but you take that into the league where defensive lineman run 4.4's and you don't have any pocket awareness, see how long you make it. I'm not saying that mobile QB's can't be successful in the NFL, but Johnny Football is a hyper-mobile QB. One that relies on "chaos" and luck to achieve what he's done.

Anyone else watch the A&M/LSU game? When Manziel faced a really good defense, all of the sudden the Hoodini act was strangled. 

And let's not forget the kid is a walking PR nightmare off the field. Do you really believe that he's "changed" and left those ways behind him in college? I ain't buying it. Let's not kid ourselves, the guy has some major character issues. You want to blame it on him just "being a kid," give me a break man! When you step into the role of the starting quarterback of a national program like A&M, then you become the first freshman to ever win the Heisman trophy, whether you want to or not, you are handed a great deal of responsibility. If you shirk that responsibility and can't handle it in college, why would I believe that all of the sudden you can handle it in the pro's?

Chances are, though, that Johnny Manziel will get drafted early. Maybe even top 10. He'll fool some NFL organization or some owner will get swept up in the Johnny Football hype, blinded by all of the potential money to be made from jersey sales. But there is absolutely no chance that he will have a successful career in the NFL. No chance! Soon we will be lumping Johnny into the same conversations we have about Jamarcus Russell, Vince Young and Tim Tebow.

Yes, I know Johnny feeds on all of the negativity, he says it "drives him." Well, I hope he reads this because he's going to need all the help he can get to make it in the NFL. 

Weekly Wrap

Welcome to the Weekly Wrap where we dissect recent happenings across the local sports scene and generally whatever is on our minds. Look for the Weekly Wrap published every Friday.

• On Wednesday, the Thunder continued their streak of taking care of business against another elite Western conference foe after dropping a game earlier in the week yet again to the desperate Suns. I'm going to take the positive spin on this one and say the Thunder are in good shape heading into the playoffs having defeated the 1-seed Spurs and 3-seed Clippers in consecutive weeks. Dropping close games to teams fighting for the final playoff spot should not be overly examined. One thing that does not make me all warm and fuzzy inside is the likelihood over the Thunder's first round match-ups. Currently OKC is slated to face Phoenix in the first round. Yesterday it was Dallas until they dropped a game to the Spurs last night. Neither Dallas or Phoenix are great match-ups for OKC. Not that I'm concerned with losing a seven game series to either team, but I'm not terribly keen on the idea of being pushed to the brink in the first round.

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• So KD's streak came to an end this week as well. Durant had 23 points though three quarters of play on Tuesday, but elected to sit the entire fourth quarter and let yet another streak die out. Earlier in the week he was quoted as saying "I wish it was over" (via Darnell Mayberry​). It looks pretty obvious that Durant wanted to break Jordan's streak and then end it. It was becoming a beatdown answering the same questions about the streak night in and night out and KD was ready to focus on the playoffs and not the streak. Would it have been cool for Durant to finish out the regular season with the streak alive and pass Oscar Robinson for second all-time only behind Wilt? Sure, but it was the smart move casually letting the streak end on Tuesday. Everyone knows it could still be going, but now the Thunder can focus squarely on the playoffs and not be bothered with anymore questions about "the streak."

• UCONN's men and women's teams each took home a college basketball championship this week. An impressive feat, no doubt, but this was the second time it's happened in the last 10 years. I'd do a little more research if I wasn't so lazy, but I can't remember any one school ever accomplishing the feat even once before (including my vast knowledge of women's basketball history) and UCONN has now done it twice? Holy cow. I knew the women's team has been dominant for some time, but it surprised me a bit to learn that the men's team has won the championship four times in the last 15 years, more than any other school. Serious props to UCONN. Caleb Hixon had a solid write-up this week wondering which team's run was more impressive this year.

Mark Schlabach details how Oklahoma QB Trevor Knight grew up a Longhorn fan and dreamed of one day playing in Austin. As it turned out, Knight never even made an official visit to Texas and eventually ended up in Norman. Chalk up another recruiting homerun for Mack!

• Oh yeah, Oklahoma's spring game is tomorrow. If things like spring game's interest you, Brandon Chatmon has a nice little preview of the game and what to watch for. You'll have to forgive me in advance for my lack of interest.

• The Net's completed a season sweep of the Heat on Tuesday night. The game ended with the Heat down one and LeBron going up for the game winner at the rim only to be denied by…Mason Plumlee? Feel free to watch the replay over and over and see LeBron flail about like a child demanding a foul. Sorry, King James, it was a clean block and oh so satisfying to watch.

• According to a panel of ESPN voters, the MVP race is over. This has been more or less a foregone conclusion since somewhere around January. While most would still consider LeBron the "best player" in the league, if KD collects a scoring title, MVP, and NBA championship this year? Watch out. A big "if" on that last point though, I know.

• The Master's is being played this weekend and will likely be watched and obsesses over by many a golf fans. With Tiger not in the field, I'm sure there will be a bit of drop off in casual fan interest, but it should still be an interesting tournament. Schedule me for an hour or two on Sunday afternoon to catch the end.

Year of the Husky

This year in college basketball, men's and women's alike, belongs to the University of Connecticut. 

This year, UCONN will have the pleasure of raising not only one, but two championship banners. Undoubtedly Husky fans every where are riding on cloud 9 right now. With the Lady Huskies going 40-0 and the men's team winning as a 7 seed, an interesting question is posed…

Which accomplishment is more impressive?

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Your initial, knee-jerk reaction, like mine, is probably "Well duh, the men's team is more impressive because women's sports is a joke." Not so fast my friend! While I may not completely disagree with you on how laughable women's sports may or may not be, that's not the question and you can't deny that going 40-0 in any sport is impressive! Personal opinion aside about women's sports, going undefeated is no small feat.

Let's take a closer look, starting with the Lady Huskies. After all, ladies first, right? Have you ever been a part of an undefeated team, at any level? I haven't. And few can say that they have because going undefeated is hard! Yet this group of women managed to reel off 40 straight victories, including a tournament title against another undefeated team. The last men's team to go undefeated and win a tournament title was Bobby Knight's 1976 Indiana Hoosier's and that was nearly 40 years ago. The only team in the NFL who's gone undefeated is the 1974 Miami Dolphins (thanks to Eli Manning and co.). No other team has come close to an undefeated season in the MLB, NBA, MLS, WNBA, PBA, PGA or WCP (can you go undefeated in poker?). So let's pump the brakes before we just dismiss the Lady Huskies right off the bat.

Am I arguing then that the women's team had the more impressive accomplishment? Not exactly. Not yet, at least.

The men's team's resume is just as impressive becoming the first team ever to win a tournament title as a #7 seed. Only the 1984 Villanova Wildcats have a tournament title to their name as a lower seed (8 seed) and further more, no #7 seed has ever even made it to the Final Four let alone the championship game. The Huskies weren't a product of upsets either. Their road to the championship game was as hard, if not harder, than any other. In order, the Huskies took down a #2 seed, #3 seed, the tournament darling #4 seed (Mich St) and then the #1 overall seed (Florida). Coming into the championship game, UCONN faced arguably the hottest team in the tournament, Kentucky. Even before the game the "experts" on the pregame show unanimously picked UK to win (maybe simply hoping that a certain young man wouldn't have to regret said tattoo forever). None of this, however, affected the Huskies as they came in and took care of business solidifying themselves as one of the greatest tournament performances ever.

So, which accomplishment is greater? Well, as impressive as it is to go undefeated in any sport, as I mentioned earlier, it seems to happen about every third year in women's college basketball. In fact, 7 out of the last 20 years in women's college basketball has ended with an undefeated team winning it all. And yes, 40-0 is a huge win streak, but doesn't seem quite as impressive when you consider that just three years ago the same Lady Huskies program had a 90-0 streak. And again, as I stated before, this is the first men's 7 seed to win a championship with Villanova being the only team to win it as a lower seed in '84.

You combine that with the road the Huskies went through to even make it to the championship game and this one is a no brainer. The men's team hands down had the most impressive accomplishment. Either way, it's a great time to be a Husky fan.

Opening Day: Texas Rangers Edition

"Gene Tenace at the plate… WHHHAMMY!!!"

Ahhhh, the smell of freshly cut grass, the crack of the bat echoing through parks and the timeless quotes of Champ Kind from Anchorman means one thing: Baseball's back.

Opening Day for Major League Baseball has come and gone and with it came the renewed hope of many baseball fans. With MLB's long and grueling schedule, opening day ushers in a feeling among many baseball fans of, "maybe this is our year!" before getting crushed somewhere in the dog days of July.

Each season has its own story lines, plot twists and surprises. This season is no exception for the Rangers and the American League West. How will the Rangers stack up against the competition? Can they earn a playoff berth after missing the playoffs for the first time in four years? Will they beat out the A's this year?

Continue reading Opening Day: Texas Rangers Edition

Maybe you're not a Texas Rangers fan, but you can't deny the fact that the AL West this year will be one of the most compelling story lines to watch. The Rangers, Oakland A's and L.A. Angel's all have a legitimate shot at a Wild Card spot, if not divisional crown. Sorry Mariners fans, but you're going to need more than Robinson Cano to give you a real chance. Maybe you could sign Russell Wilso… oh wait, the Rangers already did. Sorry.

FiveThirtyEight.com, an analytics site, has the Rangers with the best chance to win their division, but not by much. They project the Rangers to win 87.2 games, the A's 86.9 and the Angels 84.9. As you can see, the margin between these teams is razor thin.

And Houston? Doc Holliday said it best, "Why [Astros]… I forgot you was there. You may go now." I think that about sums it up.

This year the Rangers come into the season with quite a few new faces, some lingering injuries, pitching questions and the burden of proof that trading Ian Kinsler was the right move. With such a tough division, Ron Washington has his hands full this year.

The addition of Prince Fielder's big bat will no doubt help with the Rangers' offense, but there are still major questions in the pitching rotation. With a number of potential starters rehabbing injuries, Texas is left with a starting line up of pitchers no one could have projected. The best we can hope for is that they hold on, don't get smashed (allowing 14 runs in the home opener, for example) until we can get everyone healthy.

The injury bug has effected the Rangers in years past and we're seeing it already this year. Not only do we need our pitchers to get healthy, young star Jurickson Profar is out for another 10 to 12 weeks with a torn muscle in his shoulder. Profar is the reason we let Ian Kinsler walk and now he's hurt. We can only hope that the Rangers are able to get these players healthy and back in the line-up if they are to have any chance at keeping up with the Angels or the A's. But maybe if we can get the injuries out of the way early, we'll be healthy for a October run? One can only hope.

My projection: this year is going to be a race to 90 wins. Whoever can get there first will take the division. GO RANGERS!

Weekly Wrap

Welcome to the Weekly Wrap where we dissect recent happenings across the local sports scene and generally whatever is on our minds. Look for the Weekly Wrap published every Friday.

• The Thunder completed the regular season sweep of the Spurs last night while ending yet another of their win streaks. OKC ended San Antonio's 11-game win streak the first time they met this season back in November and then ended their 19-game streak last night (oh and their 20-game win streak in the 2012 playoffs too). While Ginobili did sit, it's hard to imagine he would've changed the outcome much. Westbrook looked fantastic along with Reggie Jackson continuing his dismantling of the Spurs this season. While it took Durant until late in the fourth before he secured his 25 points, he played his game and got his. It speaks volumes for Durant's game that while some would consider it an "off" night for him, he still put up 28 and lead his team in a key victory over the first place Spurs. San Antonio fans and writers are of course trying to downplay the outcome, but make no mistake, this was a big win for OKC.

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• Sports Illustrated put out a nice little write-up on Trevor Knight and comparisons to Tim Tebow. Here's a short blurb, but I'd encourage you to read the whole thing (it's a quick read):

A star college quarterback who loves to share his Christian faith, prides himself on being a leader and does his best not to use profane language. Sound familiar? For Oklahoma's Trevor Knight, the comparisons to Tim Tebow are an honor.


"Tim Tebow is second to none in the way he proclaims his faith, the way he plays and his competitiveness," Knight said. "He's a leader. You can see that. A lot of people give him a hard time for maybe not being the best quarterback, but he's a winner and conducts himself with class and honor.

Continue reading here: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/college-football/news/20140402/inside-read-trevor-knight-oklahoma-duke-dino-babers/

• Caleb and I had a little point/counterpoint yesterday regarding the Thunder/Spurs showdown last night. Anyone enjoy this? Looking at potentially making it a regular type column featuring a fan/writer of a Thunder opponent. Any feedback would be much appreciated. Also, if you have a favorite NBA team that is not the Oklahoma City Thunder and would be interested in participating in a point/counterpoint then give me a shout.

• The Red River Rivalry is no more. What's that? No, not the actual game, just the name. It is now being branded the "AT&T Red River Showdown." Boy doesn't that have a nice corporate ring to it? Bleh, does anyone ever really refer to these things with the corporate sponsors name in every day conversation? 

"Hey Jimbo, you going to the AT&T Red River Showdown this year??"
"Is that over at AT&T Stadium?"
"I think it's at the Cotton Bowl."
"Oh ok, so where they play the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic."
"No, that's AT&T Stadium. I'm talking about the Cotton Bowl."
"They don't play the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic at the Cotton Bowl?"
"You must be thinking of the Heart of Dallas Bowl."
"What's that?"
"You know, the old TicketCity Bowl played at the Cotton Bowl."
"Oh, right, yeah, that's what I meant."

• So the official OU twitter account posted the following on Tuesday:

• Berry Tramel doesn't think the joke was very funny and in bad taste. I tend to agree with Berry on this one. I know it's the cool thing to try and come up with some clever April fools joke these days, but taking a low-blow at the ultimate company man Blake Bell was the best you could come up with? Pretty weak stuff guys.

• The Thunder are still two games back from San Antonio with eight to play. Bet they are wishing they could have back those brutal losses to the Cavs and Lakers right about now, huh? Ah well, no shame in the two-seed I suppose.

• Today is Landry Jones' birthday. Happy birthday Mr. Jones! How's life in the NFL? Wait, you are still on an NFL roster, aren't you? Oh, whew, that was almost awkward. What's that? You haven't taken a single snap yet? OK, it's awkward again.