“Don’t call him stupid!”—Lt. Dan Taylor
In a recent interview about the upcoming season, ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit gave his thoughts on college football’s whipping boy du jour, Johnny Manziel. In regards to Manziel’s alleged autograph scandal Herbstreit said it was, “either the most far-fetched story … or he’s the dumbest player to ever play college football.” Herbstreit is one of the best at his given profession, and he’s usually on the mark with his analysis. In this case, however, he is incorrect.
Herbie erred with his semantics. The word “dumbest” just doesn’t sit well. Manziel clearly has something going on behind the ears. You could tell as much with all his calculated responses at SEC Media Days. So what would’ve been a better qualifier for Herbstreit to use? Let’s turn to an old childhood favorite, Mad Libs, to find out.
“he’s the most selfish player …”
This works a lot better, and is probably closer to the point Herbstreit was trying to make. After all, it’s much easier to accept that the reigning Heisman winner is a dummy, than it is to acknowledge he’s selfish. Especially when you consider that Manziel is quarterback, usually leader not just on offense, but of the entire team. Any former QB, such as Herbstreit, probably cannot fathom selfishness coming from such a prestigious position.
Yet, Manziel’s actions were motivated by self interest. If he knowingly accepted money—more emphasis on accepted than on knowingly, since compliance departments hammer home all payment no-nos—then Manziel was incredibly selfish. He has sabotaged a potential national championship over, reportedly, rims for his car. He’s also potentially shot holes in the wings of an ascendant program.
“he’s the most entitled player …”
Pops bought him a Mercedes. Aggie fans everywhere—and Auburn fans, for that matter—buy him drinks. He sat courtside for a Heat/Mavs NBA game. Cashed-in in Vegas. Partied in Cabo. Even Matt Leinart is jealous of this guy.
“he’s the most capitalistic player …”
College football’s annals are filled with amateur capitalists—AJ Green, Terrelle Pryor, Peter Warrick, Rhett Bomar, to name a few. Manziel may top the list, though. What’s one of the cardinal rules in finance? Buy low, sell high. Who’s higher than the first-ever rookie Heisman winner that, oh by the way, ran circles around national champion Alabama? Nobody. Only one person has repeated as Heisman winner and it’s hard to win games in the SEC. Manziel knows how to work the market.
“he’s the most opportunistic player …”
This corresponds with Manziel being a shrewd capitalist. But, hey, just look at the guy. He went from outhouse to penthouse in five months. He’s a supernova. Strike while the iron is hot.
“he’s the most reckless player …”
Considering the history of the 1980’s Hurricanes teams, this seems like a bit of a stretch. Manziel is pretty reckless, though. Following him is like watching Friday Night Lights. Texas: check. Underage drinking: check. Fighting (on and off the field): check. Scandal and intrigue: check. Yep, he’s FNL incarnate.
“he’s the most impetuous player …”
Slapping assistants, flying off the handle on Twitter, kicking it at frat parties with no concern, Manziel is always in the moment. He lives like he plays. Unfortunately, sometimes what gets you success on the field is harmful away from it.
Manziel Mad Lib Wrap-Up
Johnny Manziel is a lot of things, but stupid is not of them. Whenever I see the guy I’m reminded of a scene in Office Space where Ron Livingston says, “It’s not that I’m lazy, it’s that I just don’t care.” I imagine Manziel giving this same line to Herbstreit, Kevin Sumlin, A&M compliance officers, his parents, or anyone else trying to check him: “It’s not that I’m stupid, it’s that I just don’t care.”
Manziel feels above the law—and is treated as such in many instances—knows his timeline, and plans on capitalizing. Like most young people he has a certain lawlessness and anti-authority air, acting without considering collateral damage. He’s shrewd enough to understand his celebrity, and smug enough to hold it over the NCAA’s head. Manziel is no dummy, just the perfect public figure for today’s 24-hour sports cycle.
What term would you use to mad lib Johnny Manziel? Sound off in the comments below!