Thursday, July 31, 2014

"Is Johnny Football Simply the 21st Century Broadway Joe?" by Bojo

Joe Namath’s Super Bowl prediction is among the most famous proclamations in not only football, but American sports in general. It is well remembered for its bravado, and of course, for the fact that Broadway Joe and his underdog Jets actually made good on that promise. But what is often less remembered, is that he made that prediction while lounging poolside the week of the big game. That type of unfocused behavior was very well documented in his career, but he still won games. 

And that point leads me to what I really want to talk about today, and that is Johnny Manziel.

I can remember my grandfather and father having animated discussions about how soft players are these days, and how hard athletes lived back in my grandpa’s day. And how if athletes back then had taken care of themselves the same way these current guys do, they would have made them look terrible.

So perhaps that is all that Johnny Manziel is: a throwback to a time where athletes did not view themselves as finely tuned machines, when they thought they were just simply really, really good at a sport. A sport which may only be a portion of what is important to them in their lives.

And just because Johnny seems to have other priorities beyond football, it doesn’t seem to have negatively affected his performance on the field yet. He still performed excellently last year at Texas A & M, even with his voracious party schedule. So perhaps he can do the same thing in the NFL. And perhaps not. Maybe he will be completely exposed as the limited, undersized player he is.

But maybe he will do the same stuff in the NFL that he did in college. I personally think he will crash and burn.

But if the athletes of my dad’s generation taught me anything, it might be that you can party and play sports at the same time. So I will reserve my judgments on Johnny Football until I see some actual NFL game footage.