As expected, the media machine of Johnny Manziel has people loving, hating or at least talking. Here is why it’s good for the NFL.
Richard Sherman and others prove pro football is about personalities
The league would like to think that their amazing explosion of popularity over the past few decades is a result of the product they put on the field. While that is partially true, the reality is a bit different. History has shown that the popularity stems less from great talents and more from great personalities. Where would the NFL be today without a Joe Namath, a Billy “White Shoes” Johnson, a William “the Refrigerator” Perry or a Deion Sanders? The modern era has its share as well including the outspoken Richard Sherman and the deceptively humorous Peyton Manning.
Johnny Manziel is just the latest personality to arrive in a league trying so hard to put out an image of business-life uniformity. His disrespectful but honest (and funny) finger-flipping in the Washington game merely reflects what he brings to the table: great talent and character. Keeping him under control is of course necessary for his maturation process, but stifling him outright is bad for business.
Manziel bringing needed exposure to Cleveland Browns
Not everybody is going to agree with what Manziel did. That is what makes him constant front page news. He causes controversy, and controversy creates cash. Cash and exposure, two things the Cleveland Browns are hoping to get more of from him. For too long the Browns have wallowed in football misery, trying to find continuity and a sense of identity. For the first time since the days of Bernie Kosar, it seems they finally have one. Maybe its not in the traditional mold of a Drew Brees or Tom Brady, but there is no denying his talent or his charisma.
Johnny Manziel has a ways to go before he stands atop the NFL, but its safe to say he’s already bringing them what they want most: more money and attention.