Blogs > Jim Collins' Editor's Notebook

Jim Collins is editor emeritus of The News-Herald and also serves as executive in residence at Lakeland Community College. His popular weekly column appears each Sunday in Comment in The News-Herald.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Manziel has a long way to go to prove himself

I am not one to get caught up in frenzies.
Life is much too short to get involved in hysteria. So I am content to sit on the sidelines and watch the frothing-at-the mouth mob as it passes by. I may waive and say “Hi,” but then I will return to my reading, my music-listening or my consternation in trying to figure out what Jack Bauer is up to in the latest incarnation of “24.”
My loyalty to the program knows no bounds, but those people whisper so much and so softly that I can’t follow the dialog, let alone understand the finer points of the plot.
But I digress.
The latest local hysteria, Cleveland style, is the Johnny Football Mania. That is the name of the quarterback from Texas A&M that the Browns drafted – Johnny Mania. I’m sorry. It’s Johnny Manziel.
Much more than a football player, he is a public relations freak. He knows how to create a spectacle, with himself in the center, of course.
I have never seen anything like it. He has yet to take a snap from the center, yet he has the otherwise normal people of Cleveland going ga-ga over him
I could be the only person in town who doesn’t take him seriously, but maybe that’s just me.
This I will tell you – I will begin to take him seriously and compare him with Otto Graham the day he plays in 10 championship games in 10 years and wins seven of them.
That is what Otto did. But of course, there was only one Otto Graham. And he didn’t go to A&M, he went to Northwestern. What? You say that isn’t a football powerhouse? Tell that to Otto’s mother and to anyone who was a close follower of the Cleveland Browns from 1946 to 1955.
I was, and I do not expect Johnny Football to live up to any of the standards set by Automatic Otto. No other quarterback ever has, why should such a level of excellence be expected of Johnny Football?
I’ll tell you, Johnny Football isn’t even a clever nickname. I was in the Army with a football player who had a much better name, and it was his REAL name.
He was Johnny Champion. He played for the Fort Hood Tankers, and he was an outstanding running back. And his birth name was Champion, not Football.
Johnny Champion went to either Southern Methodist or Midwestern University, I forget which, and he said he played for a year with the Washington Redskins. I can’t find his name in my all-time NFL directory, so I will have to take his word for it.
But let me tell you one thing about Johnny Football’s alma mater. The guys in the barracks used to sing a little ditty about it.
Of course, you would have to know the guys in my barracks. It was Headquarters Company for the division, so it was home for a bunch of athletes and night club comedians, other Special Services guys, lawyers and would-be lawyers, and guys like that.
One of the guys told me one day, “It’s such a nice day I decided to put the top down on my car. It took me more than three hours.”
Why was that, I asked.
“Because,” he replied, “I don’t have a convertible.”
I told him he should take his show on the road, but of course he couldn’t do that without going AWOL, and who wants to spend the rest of his life in the DB, as the disciplinary barracks was known.
I hope the Browns’ quarterback-in-waiting (he’s waiting for Brian Hoyer to mess up, and I hope that never happens, I hope he goes 16-0 and leaves Johnny F. sitting on the bench) never hears the ditty that was sung at Fort Hood, because the guys there had a certain disdain for some of the local college football teams.
They used to sing:
“Don’t sent my boy to Texas,
“The dying mother said.
“Don’t sent my boy to A&M,
“I’d rather see him dead.”
I am not making this up. That it what they sang. And that is what they thought of Texas A&M.
Not me. I thought it was a great school. It, as well as Virginia Military Institute, produced more officers for the U.S. Army in World War II than did the United States Military Academy at West Point, commonly known as Army.
Here is what puzzles me. A&M is basically a military school. If you go there, you become a second lieutenant in the Army.
So why isn’t Johnny Football in the Army?
Oh, I forgot. He went there for only a year before he dropped out to be drafted by the Browns.
Too bad he’s lacking the military experience. I’ll bet he can’t even keep a tight bunk.
That was our standard of excellence at Fort Hood.


Anonymous Anonymous said...


May 25, 2014 at 1:46 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

BREAKING NEWS: Redskins permitted to keep name. Browns ordered to change name to CLOWNS in a unanimous vote.

May 25, 2014 at 1:52 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A group of rich, spoiled, connected, pinheads there once spent three months of the offseason choosing a starting QB then traded him to Seattle after 1 game. Charlie Local. Enough said? I heard track in Geauga County has more fans???

May 25, 2014 at 2:08 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

try using closed captioning on your TV to watch 24

May 27, 2014 at 6:18 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so tired of hearing about all the Manziel complainers do me a big favor and look up John Elway's career in Denver did he sit on the bench no started in first game and did Colorado have a bunch of complainers no they embraced Elway mania I wish Johnny football would do what Elway did to Indiana then you would have something to complain about. My family lived in Colorado during the 80s and there is definitely two different mindsets you do not get all the negativity Read the story attached
In Denver, Delirium Is Spelled E-l-w-a-y

May 28, 2014 at 8:31 AM 

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