I love Johnny Manziel. Plain and simple. And honestly, there is nothing he could do off the field (outside of a felony offense) to chip away at my adoration for him.
(But wait, on that felony note, would I care if Johnny committed arson? Probably not. So yea, only the real, mean felonies).
I have always stood by my stance that Stephen McGee and Jerrod Johnson were both a mirage of a successful quarterback. Stephen McGee was tough as nails (he truly was) and pulled out some wonderful victories against UT; Jerrod put up some empty stats, was once considered a dark horse Heisman candidate, and was frequently mentioned as a “a poor man’s Vince Young” (a bit too much of a compliment to me; more like a homeless and on the streets version of Vince Young). I called for McGee’s head when he struggled, and then I got Jerrod… it was a dark time to say the least. Maybe, I deserved it. Maybe, I was right all along. Whatever the case, for a vast majority of their Aggie tenure, our team struggled and frankly, I didn't have faith in our team.
On that same note, I also never shied away from the vague, undefinable claim that Texas A&M deserved a winner. We are pound for pound, the best fans in America (or at least damn close to it). Aggies show up rain or shine, good or bad. And for year’s we constantly tried to make rainbows out of steamy piles of poo. We believed and believed and then kept on believing, without ever being truly rewarded (unless you think MAKING a bowl game and then getting annihilated is a reward).
And then came Johnny. And the SEC. And Kevin Sumlin. And for the bajillionth time... it was beautiful. Transcendent. The perfect storm (in a good way). IT. WAS. AWESOME. (Go ahead and insert about twenty more glowing adjectives).
And why was it awesome? Well, there is a ton of reasons, but none more important than Johnny. Watching Johnny scramble (and do everything else he did) gave me goose bumps; it gives me the warm fuzzies just thinking about it.
And now look where we are. Johnny has become the most polarizing college athlete on Earth (probably ever) because of the accessibility (and danger) of social media. It’s ridiculous, and mostly (we know he isn't a saint) unfair. Teddy Bridgewater (Louisville QB) commented today, in relation to Johnny, “Today, we live in a ‘I gotcha’ world.” He is right. And he is, more or less, saying, "hey, there are lots of people across the nation who are out to exploit, harass, and bombard cultural icons like Johnny."
Johnny’s not perfect. Far from it. But I’m not perfect either. And I when I look back on 20 year old me… I think, dang, I was pretty dumb. We all make mistakes. And when adults become so detached and self-righteous (I am pointing at you Mark May) that they question his motives, his future, his everything… well, honestly, it just irks me. We are all guilty to an extent. Information is too available; opinions are too abundant (I guess I am adding mine to the pile right now) and we consume it all on a daily basis. Our ESPN viewership and internet page “hits” fuel the fire. And it doesn't look like the fire will ever be put out. That’s just life in a football crazed nation in the year 2013.
But guess what? I love football. I love Texas A&M. And I love Johnny Manziel. If Johnny stink bombs on the field next year, I will be pissed. And maybe in my head I will wonder if he truly does need to tone it down. But who am I to say what works for him? And until that hypothetical stink bomb occurs (and hopefully it never will), I LOVE MY QUARTERBACK. And I love that my quarterback has edge, literally oozes swagger, and thinks his shit don’t stink. It’s what makes Johnny, well… Johnny Football.
As we continue along this perpetual roller-coaster, I have promised myself, to never forget what Johnny gave us last year. I remember what it was like during those gloomy days of old.
I have said before that football is the front porch of a University. And last year Johnny decorated our porch with lavish jewels. He made it cool/hip to sit on our front porch again. And he made the nation interested in our porch again. And for that Johnny, I say thank you.
You do you, Johnny, and I will blindly support you (except for any mean felonies) to the end.