A photo allegedly of Johnny Manziel aka “Johnny Football” surfaced of him on a swan with a large bottle of champagne at Club Rio in San Antonio. STORY
At first glance of the photo, Cowboy fans may think owner Jerry Jones was right to pass on this hell rasier. He is no Roger Staubach when it comes to self restraint, after all. It’s even enough to make some fans ask “what the hell is the NFL coming to?”? But actually when it comes to rowdy behavior, nothing has really changed except the addition of social media and camera phones at everyone’s finger tip.
In fact when considering past NFL players over the years, Johnny Football is just carrying on a NFL family tradition as the Hank Jr. classic goes.
Go back to the very first super bowl and the guy who scored the very first touchdown in a super bowl. Max McGee was from Overton, Texas (what is it about these boys from Texas?) played tight end for the Packers, and was known to like to go out and have a good time. Now Max wasn’t doing it in the month of May before OTAs like JF, he was out partying past curfew the night before the super bowl!
As back up TE, McGee didn’t think he would play in the game and even told a teammate he was in no condition to play after his night on the town, “I hope you don’t get hurt. I’m not in very good shape”, but his number got called.
It seems unbelievable today but Max had to actually borrow a teammate’s helmet because he left his in the locker room. (Let that sink in with the NFL concussion concerns). He went out and made a nice one hand catch of a Bart Starr pass for the first TD in super bowl history. McGee finished with 7 catches and 2 touchdowns while the Packers went on to defeat the Chiefs in super bowl I.
McGee’s Packer teammate running back Paul Hornung was known to be fined on several occasions for coming in past curfew. The Playboy type was quoted as saying, “Never get married in the morning – you never know who you might meet that night”. Hornung was once suspended by commissioner Rozelle for gambling.
Namath is the partying QB poster child who showed how it was done back in the day. And if half of what we hear of him is true, then he gives Wilt Chamberlin a run for his money. On the field, Namath led the Jets to the first super bowl win by an AFL team in the third super bowl.
Namath started a bar named “Bachelors III” but Rozelle eventually asked Namath to divest his interest from the bar. Namath’s drinking continued and who can forget that Monday Night game in 2003 where he kissed ESPN reporter Suzy Kobler? Too much champagne blamed for that miscalculation. Kind of like trying to ride a swan I suppose.
My intention isn’t to defend Manziel’s off the field decisions or glorify past partying by NFL players. I’m simply saying let Johnny Manziel be who he is and ultimately he will be judged by how he performs on the field under pressure and what kind of teammate he is.
Some of the past NFL “bad boys” had outstanding performances on the field and were highly regarded by their teammates even many years after playing football.
I know what I saw in that bowl game with Duke when Manziel’s Texas A&M team was far behind and looked lifeless. Manziel kept fighting and rallied teammates to a come behind victory. It was an inspiring effort. VIDEO And if the Cleveland Browns can look past the off field antics like swan riding, they may have a special player here. Time will tell.