Johnny Manziel, Brett Favre, and the First Overall Pick

Manziel and FavreThe NFL combine is underway and one of the most common practices is comparing the prospects to current pros. Often times, those players are compared to Pro Bowlers and Hall of Fame caliber players. One of the most recent cases has been Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel being compared to Brett Favre.

Favre’s gambling ways earned him a Super Bowl, 11 Pro Bowls, three MVPs, six All Pro selections and a number of records over his 20 year career. Manziel, like his legendary counterpart, has electrified crowds on his way to a Heisman trophy, two bowl game victories, a slew of awards, and the status as a top pick in the draft.

So what did Favre say about the comparison? In an interview with USA Today Favre said when he was reviewing Manziel’s tape, “I almost thought I was watching film of a young Brett Favre.” So obviously, the connection isn’t too farfetch’d. In fact, I find this link to the past eerily similar.

Outside of the awe-inspiring consecutive starts streak of 297 games and the quirky shovel passes, Favre had some ugly personal moments from the moment he stepped into the league. When Favre began his career as an Atlanta Falcon (Weird to think about, right?) he had a strong reputation as a partier. In fact, Favre said in his book that he “drank up Atlanta” during his rookie season in 1991, which put him at odds with then head coach Jerry Glanville. After the season, Favre was shipped to Green Bay in exchange for coincidentally what was the Eagles 1st round pick in the 1992 draft (The Eagles traded their 1991 and ’92 firsts in ’91 to move up and draft tackle Antone Smith). From there, the legend began.

Now what’s interesting is how Jerry Glanville described the situation in a radio interview in 2010.

“I had to get him out of Atlanta. . . .  I could not sober him up. I sent him to a city where at 9:00 at night the only thing that’s open is Chili Joes.  You can get it two ways, with or without onions.  And that’s what made Brett Favre make a comeback was going to a town that closed down.  If I would have traded him to New York, nobody to this day would have known who Brett Favre ever was.”

So, if you’re to believe Glanville’s portrayal of events, Favre was shipped to Green Bay to keep him out of trouble in a quiet town. Basically, Green Bay is the anti-Buffalo. This is where my concern with Manziel comes in.

Right now, Johnny Football is king. He’s a stud quarterback from football crazy Texas that could very well earn the first selection in the draft. But like Favre, he’s got some personal issues. For example, just before a stellar 2012 season Manziel was arrested for fighting and supplying a fake ID to police.

Then there’s also the semi-famous incident that took place at the Peyton Manning quarterback camp. Manziel was supposed to be working with top college QB’s at a passing clinic a hour outside of New Orleans. However, when the trainees were supposed to meet up on Saturday morning Manziel was nowhere to be found. Initially blaming his roommate AJ McCarron for not waking him up, Manziel had actually been partying in New Orleans and didn’t sleep at the camp. He was consequently sent home.

To make matters worse, here’s some quotes from his father Paul Manziel:

“Yeah, it could come unraveled. And when it does, it’s gonna be bad. Real bad. It’s one night away from the phone ringing, and he’s in jail. And you know what he’s gonna say? ‘It’s better than all the pressure I’ve been under. This is better than that.”

“I don’t know where the anger comes from. I don’t think he knows. If it comes from his drinking, or if he’s mad at himself for not being a better person when he fails, when he fails God and his mom and me. If it makes him angry that he’s got demons in him. You can only speculate because you can’t go in there.”

And speculate I shall. Particularly, I can’t shake the feeling that if Manziel is selected first overall in the draft it’s not going to be a good situation for him. Manziel, who grew up in Texas and played in Texas, would be drafted by the Houston Texans first overall. Given his current level of fame combined with the status of being a first overall pick and doing it all close to home, I’m concerned that Manziel is in a situation that won’t help him be the best player possible.

Like Favre in Atlanta, the party will be too accessible and for Manziel his fame will be too great. If he’s to truly succeed (and reduce his stress) he’s better off slipping a spot or two down the board where there’s less external pressure. Specifically, the Rams with the second overall pick would be a good fit. They have a stable running game, a respectable defense, and it’s the 58th biggest city in the country as of 2010. Given that the Rams are fitting in with the Seattle model, Manziel would have a better chance to develop at his own pace rather than step in a be an immediate stud. I actually don’t mind the Browns as an option either.

Though, at the very least, I just hope he doesn’t share Favre’s affinity for (re)productive texting.

Posted on February 25, 2014, in Posts, Vince Quinn and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Love this long view, Vince.

  2. You are taking a large leap that JM is going to go party crazy when I can count on one hand how many parties he attended over the two years he started as a football player for A&M.

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