To honor the great Don Pardo, he will supply the voiceover for today’s imaginary game show, “Punk/Not a Punk.”
Don Pardo: “OK, now it’s time to play Punk/Not a Punk! Let’s welcome your host . . .”
(Three contestants strangle buzzers simultaneously, holler “Johnny Manziel”)
Don Pardo: “Oh, um . . . That’s right! OK, well, that’s all the time we have! Tune in next week . . .”
And people will tune in.
To Johnny Football, for any variety of reasons, not the least of which will be to see him get his head taken clean off.
So the NFL will have a problem with Johnny Flip-y’all extending his middle finger to the Washington sideline during that godawful “Monday Night Football” preseason game, and likely will fine him.
But they won’t really have a problem with it. Jerks sell.
The Cleveland Browns are the ones with the real problem, because not only do they have a quarterback who can’t take it, they have one who can’t fake it, either.
One preseason game isn’t enough to prove that Manziel is a bust, but I started to question what level of self-loathing I had achieved to have watched pretty much that whole game. It was terrible, and it wasn’t all Manziel’s fault.
But a lot of it was.
He encountered the harsh reality that many great college players discover when they jump to the NFL.
In college, some guys are fast; in the NFL, everyone is fast.
He wasn’t fooling anybody, and he couldn’t get outside when he tried to take off. He had a few decent passes on the run, but too frequently gets himself into jams where he has to throw off his back foot while moving and with his arm at awkward angles. The kind of improvisation and Houdini act that made him an electrifying college player didn’t seem to faze Washington in the least.
And they let him know it.
After a foray toward the Washington sideline, Manziel caught some trash talk flak and responded like a little boy, flipping the bird back as he jogged back to the huddle. Naturally, it was all over social media in a heartbeat.
“I get words exchanged with me throughout the entirety of the game, every game, week after week,” he said. “I should’ve been smarter. It was a ‘Monday Night Football’ game. The cameras were probably solidly on me, so I just need to be smarter about that.”
This is your quarterback, Cleveland, the player who is supposed to keep his wits about him in the face of adversity for the greater good.
Me? I thought it was kind of funny. Not the actual juvenile gesture itself, but what happened later, when it appeared that Browns PR guy Rob Burnett warned Manziel on the sideline that the moment had been captured for posterity, and to get ready for the fallout during the post-game press conference.
That’s what a good PR guy does, brace his team’s immature star draft pick for probing questions.
Manziel reacted by dropping his head, then wiping his hand over his face.
Into the the principal’s office of public opinion again. But he did it to himself, and the sooner he realizes that, the better off the Browns will be, whether he can play or not.
We’ll get tired of his act, eventually. I’m tired of it now.
On the field, he couldn’t prove himself to be better than Brian Hoyer on Monday, so the Browns have a quarterback problem that was supposed to be solved by the draft and looks worse than ever.
Manziel couldn’t prove himself to be better than some lame hecklers, either.
Actually, I’m sorry for dragging Don Pardo into this.