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Thanks for the memories, Johnny Football

Posted: January 8, 2014 - 12:03am
Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel (2) is chased by Duke linebacker Kelby Brown (59) and nose tackle Jamal Bruce (91) in the first half of the Chick-fil-A Bowl NCAA college football game Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Jamie Martin)  Jamie Martin
Jamie Martin
Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel (2) is chased by Duke linebacker Kelby Brown (59) and nose tackle Jamal Bruce (91) in the first half of the Chick-fil-A Bowl NCAA college football game Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Jamie Martin)

Johnny Bleeping Football.

Luv ya, Johnny. So sorry to see you moving on.

Go ahead, haters. Hate on me for speaking the truth.

But even all you lugnuts out there will have to admit that when a special form of entertainment and adventure leaves our jock kingdom zip code, we all miss it.

How fitting that last week, on the world’s largest party night stage — New Year’s Eve — Johnny Party Boy Manziel went on the football equivalent of a drinking champagne, feeling no pain binge.

In what was certainly his final college game, Johnny was not playing the big room of the bowl season (something about a chicken sandwich), but a national TV audience flat loved it as he sensationally rescued Texas A&M from a humiliating defeat at the hands of Duke.

Despite an ending in the Eastern Time Zone that came right before the ball started to drop at midnight, it was the most-watched non-BCS bowl game in 15 years.

That’s Johnny. Love him, hate it, you watch him. Entertainment and adventure at its football best. This state hasn’t produced that kind of football difference maker, combined with Manziel’s overrated bad-boy persona, in, well, maybe forever.

Or at least since the Twitter world boomed, because Johnny became a self-inflicted Twitter idiot, leading to his notoriety.

Personally, I have a multitude of bad habits, but Twitter is not one of them. I couldn’t care less. I’m all for, however, entertainment and adventure.

As Johnny now moves on to the NFL, the haters are adamant the big boys of football will break his body into bits and pieces.

I don’t know that. I also don’t know if he will be an NFL success. But if I’m an NFL club in need of a quarterback, I’m damn sure finding out what might or might not happen. Johnny will be a first-round pick. Maybe even a top-10 pick.

The haters, by the way, said the same thing about Cam Newton. Well, they were wrong. Vince Young? The haters were ultimately right. RG3? After a sensational rookie season, we now await the verdict because of a knee that was broken into bits and pieces.

In time, we will have the NFL answer on Manziel.

But speaking of answers, Johnny Football has spent the past two years delivering one after another when it comes to the state of Texas college football.

For starters, he put Texas A&M on the national map, which also includes the SEC map. Johnny did it in that conference, not the weaker Big 12.

Better yet for the Aggies, that map now shows College Station with a bigger dot than, oh, say, Austin. First time ever for that to happen.

It was laughable a couple of months ago when certain A&M executives had comments that seemed to be an attempt to downplay the impact of Manziel on the university’s achievements in fundraising and profile.

Admit it. Johnny did it.

Strictly from a football standpoint, here’s a list of obvious names who had their fate, one way or the other, dictated by Johnny:

Kevin Sumlin.

Low-profile when the Aggies hired him two years ago, but now a guy mentioned for NFL head-coaching jobs. While at Houston, Sumlin refused to offer Johnny a scholarship coming out of Kerrville Tivy High School.

Sumlin inherited Johnny as a redshirt freshman. At least he was quickly smart enough to realize his U of H mistake, and start Manziel immediately.

Kliff Kingsbury.

The young offensive coordinator for Sumlin at U of H who couldn’t be convinced by Johnny’s high school coach to offer him a quarterback scholarship.

Kingsbury came to A&M with Sumlin, and after one Heisman season in College Station for Johnny, landed the head-coaching job at Texas Tech.

Nobody owes Johnny more than Kingsbury, who just had a huge bowl win after a fading finish in the Big 12. Kliff is good, but he got his early shot in Lubbock because of Johnny.

Mack Brown.

If only...

Mack had listened to UT assistant coach Duane Akina, who begged him to offer Johnny a QB scholarship, what we’d have right now is Brown with a new five-year contract and him still the king of Austin.

Instead, there’s unemployment for Mack.

Gary Patterson.

There was no doubt Manziel wanted to go to Texas, but his second choice appeared to be TCU. Johnny attended two TCU quarterback camps in high school.

The Frogs, of course, have been in desperate need of a quarterback for the past two seasons.

No scholarship offer was extended to Manziel.

Art Briles.

OK, I’m kinda joking here. Briles can find QBs. But he also didn’t offer on Johnny, and, true story, after the first quarter of the Fiesta Bowl on New Year’s Night I texted a friend with this:

Art will need 60 points to win this game. He needs Johnny Football.

Manziel saved the Aggies from a large upset by Duke. Baylor got gut-punched by 17-point ‘dog Central Florida, putting a deep bruise on what had been a historic season for the Bears.

Tom Rossley.

In front of its newly rebuilt stadium, Texas A&M should erect a statue of Rossley, the former assistant coach under Mike Sherman, who is the only reason Manziel turned down an offer to Oregon and signed with the Aggies.

By the way, good coaches miss on players all the time, but what did Oregon and Stanford, which also offered on Manziel, know that coaches in this state didn’t?

Bottom line: Thanks, Johnny, for the entertainment and the adventure.

To heck with the haters, go get ‘em at the next level.

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