Johnny Manziel: The Artist Formerly Known As “Football”


We finally reached the point of the NFL year that everybody looks forward to: The best game of the year recently ended, as team Michael Irvin squeaked past team Chris Carter in the always popular Pro Bowl, Seahawks fans are beginning to rise up out of their depression from a devastating Super Bowl loss, Patriots fans are starting to see the end of the streams of hateful emails being sent to them from everybody they know, and Browns fans are, well, still crying.

We are now struggling to survive through the uneventful part of the year between the season and the draft, where all NFL fans are dying for a story, any story to cling to, that they can discuss around the historically overhyped water cooler.

Enter Johnny Manziel. Johnny Football. The greatest thing to ever happen to Texas A&M football. The third best thing to ever happen to the 2014 Cleveland Browns’ quarterback position. The eventual face of the NFL (‘s “What Not To Do” presentation given to all incoming rookies). The man draws attention. He’s conversational fodder. As long as Manziel is being covered by the NFL media, fans can never be bored. And he’s at it again. After a Ryan Leaf Jr. of a rookie season, Johnny Manziel is now in the media again, after announcing he is in rehab to improve his image.

The forefront of Manziel’s unwanted image is his moniker “Johnny Football.” If he wants to change how he’s viewed, he needs to change his nickname. After seeing the obvious gap between his ability as a football player and his talents as an aerobics instructor, one would assume that football might only be Manziel’s seventh or eighth best skill, and therefore, he should not be named after it.

But fret not. I’m here to help. I’ll walk Manziel through step one of his image makeover. I’ve come up with some ideas for potential new nicknames for him, accompanied by undeniably logical explanations. In no particular order:

Johnny Bench. I think this one makes the most sense for Manziel’s future. With the likes of Brian Whats-His-Name and That Guy They Picked Up Off The Street During The Season ahead of him on the depth chart, the bench is looking more and more like Manziel’s future home. I know it hurts to admit, but being a bench warmer and calling yourself a superstar is much worse than being a bench warmer and calling yourself a bench warmer. Unfortunately, Johnny Bench has already been taken in the sports world, so we may have to throw this one out. Suitable replacements: Johnny Clipboard, Johnny Baseball Cap.

Johnny Withdrawal. Yeah. He’s in rehab solely to better his image. Right. I’d be more likely to believe you if you told me Josh Gordon didn’t test positive for drugs yet this week. Though this nickname would only be temporarily relevant, so let’s move on.

Johnny Walker. As we all know by now, Manziel likes to party. “But wait,” you say, “isn’t he trying to better his image with this nickname?” Yes, he is. That’s why I wasn’t referring to Johnnie Walker the tasty, smooth, derail-your-professional-sports-career whiskey. I was referring to the fact that Manziel hurt is hamstring near the end of the season, and based on his body language and facial expression (see above), I wouldn’t be surprised if he had to use a walker for the rest of his life.

John Doe. If Manziel doesn’t improve his performance, and decides to keep wearing the brown and orange (seriously, whose idea was that?), he’s on the fast track to NFL anonymity.

Johnny Cash. As far as nicknames go, this one may be most appropriate for Manziel’s football career. First, he’s been known for his “money” celebration from his dominant days at Texas A&M up to that one time he had a 15-yard completion while playing QB for the Browns’ practice squad. Second, Manziel’s NFL career thus far has been most known for him getting hurt the last time he got hit, while musician Johnny Cash’s last hit was titled “Hurt.” Third, as long as Manziel is playing poor-to-mediocre football, it’s inevitable that the Raiders will overpay him when he becomes a free agent, meaning he’ll eventually be wearing the famous all black that Johnny Cash was known to don. “Johnny Cash” would be a shoe-in to be Johnny Manziel’s new nickname, if it weren’t for…

John Manziel. You’re a grown ass man. You don’t need a nickname. Just play the damn game and shut up. Image improved.

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