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Holding Yourself Accountable: The Saga of the Cleveland Browns and Johnny Manziel

Real Estate Agent with KW at the Parks 651506396

Holding Yourself Accountable: The Saga of the Cleveland Browns and Johnny Manziel

I love following sports because it is a microcosm of what is right…and what is wrong with today’s society. How we “play” on a field often mirrors how well we play with others off the field.

Oh, us poor souls who grew up following Cleveland sports teams. We have been forced to look at the bigger picture, to ponder the philosophical aspects of the game; because nothing good rarely happens on the field. We have been forced to find the silver lining some place besides the old ballpark. Sadly, any hopes we Browns fans had of watching our team appear in a post-season game were left in shambles once again as our team lost the last 5 games.

With the season over and the bitter taste of that 5 game losing streak still on our tongues, the local media has been dissecting every aspect of the Cleveland Browns football program. Trust me, there isn’t a stone left unturned at Browns headquarters in search of finding and eradiating that pesky losing bug. There has been ample finger pointing at press conferences. There have been threats issued There have been jobs put on the line.

The focus of much of this blame game has been placed squarely on the shoulders of Browns first round pick…Quarterback Johnny Manziel...or as he is called from his glory days in college, Johnny Football. The Browns selected Manziel with their 22nd pick in the first round. He was projected to be selected higher than that, but many teams picking higher than the Browns selected someone else. Manziel was a legitimate star in college. He broke dozens of records at Texas A&M,  was a Heisman Trophy winner, and led his team to many thrilling victories.

While he certainly had the credentials, there was some intangible reason why 21 other college players were selected ahead of him. Some say it was his size, or lack thereof. Some say it was the size of his ego; of which there was no lack. It was huge! Hell, if the world is calling you Johnny Football…it would be hard not to have a huge ego. I think what turned me off to him was his annoying habit of rubbing his fingers together after he did something good on the field. His signature move was that of someone fingering a wad of money. I guess you could call it his “money shot”… his close-up for the camera. I grew up in the Paul Brown era of football. As coach of the Browns during their glory years, Brown hated when players showed any sort of emotion after scoring a touchdown. He used to say, “Don’t act like it is the first time you have ever been in the end zone.”  

So our season of huge expectations began with training camp and it was a complete media circus, the likes of which had not been seen in Cleveland since the murder trial of Sam Sheppard. Local and national sports personalities showed up to interview Johnny Football. People hung on his every word. He had already been declared the savior of the Browns…and he hadn’t even touched a football. I am surprised, after the media storm generated, that someone didn’t suggest that Johnny Football attempt to walk on the surface of Lake Erie. Sadly, being the subject of that same media storm, I think Johnny believed he could have walked upon those very waters all the way to Canada.

As training camp was progressing, Johnny Football wasn’t. He had fallen victim to thinking that hype could make up for hard work. Sadly, Johnny isn’t alone in this thinking. We have a great many others in this country who think exactly like Johnny. So, instead of reading about Manziel studying offensive formations in his playbook, we saw him studying the formations of bikini-clad women in Las Vegas. Instead of seeing photos of Johnny quenching his thirst with Gatorade on the sidelines, we saw him quenching his thirst sitting on a bar stool. At the end of training camp, his lack of effort and preparation earned him his rightful place on the bench. While Johnny was entertaining the media and himself, someone with a real work ethic had beaten him out of the starting quarterback spot.

Johnny put his time on the bench to good use. Rather than watch and learn, he deemed it a great time to catch up with the world on Twitter. Johnny tweeted his time away, while the rest of the stadium focused on trying to win the game. Rather than putting in extra time watching film and trying to improve his game, he rested on the laurels of past games…failing to see that next game was what was important.

On the second to the last game of the season, Johnny was given his opportunity to shine when he started over the struggling starting quarterback. To say that he was underwhelming would be charitable. Following the game, he did the usual damage control press conference and promised that he learned his lesson that hard work trumps bullshit, and that he would buckle down and do the heavy lifting required to be successful. The following weekend, last game of the season, Johnny was spotted once again on a bar stool getting his weekend buzz off to an early start. Game day, sitting in his usual spot on the bench, Johnny kept his idle hands busy tweeting to his peeps.

And so the controversy continues…will he be back next year? Will he ever live up to his hype? Will he be unceremoniously released by the Browns, so he can take his skills to another team in search of a player whose best games so far are located in a scrapbook????

I hope Johnny gets his act together…I really do. I would like nothing more for him than to become a positive role model of someone who overcame adversity through hard work. I would love for him to tell us all that there are no shortcuts in life, that if you want something you had better be prepared to work hard to get it.

I am going to end this with a quote from Vince Lombardi, the famous coach of the Green Bay Packers…”The dictionary is the only place that success comes before work. Hard work is the price we must pay for success. I think you can accomplish anything if you're willing to pay the price.”








Comments (22)

Bill Reddington
Re/max By The Sea - Destin, FL
Destin Florida Real Estate

Manziel sure was fun to watch. Am an Auburb fan and saw him a bunch. Not sure he has graduated into being an adult. NFL not a great place to grow up. Sure is great for creating millionaires.

Dec 30, 2014 04:43 AM
Thomas Craig
KW at the Parks - Orlando, FL


Thanks for your contribution. He is just like my kids at that age...you just wish they would listen to someone who has been around the block a few times...but they never do. They just have to get kicked in the teeth a few times to learn to take an alternate path. Throw a bunch of money in the mix, and they are even more reluctant to listen. Why would they? They are the one with the money-not you. I am amazed at how brilliant I have become in my kid's eys... now that my kids are older.


Dec 30, 2014 05:20 AM
Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED
RETIRED / State License is Inactive - Portland, OR

I don't follow sports at all, so I can't comment on the selection process.  But, wouldn't it be a better story if the last pick proved to be the most winningest, or had the most TD's??  The ones that are picked at the top are known for playing well.  There's no story with that.  It's expected.

Dec 30, 2014 05:33 AM
Liz and Bill Spear
Transaction Alliance 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com - Mason, OH
Transaction Alliance Cincinnati & Dayton suburbs

Thomas, Coming from the other corner of Ohio, I'd like to thank the Browns for drafting Johnny Football and all that comes with it.  I've never understood COLLEGE players that think they're going to go in and dominate the NFL.  It's a whole different story when you're gathering all the best of the best vs. playing in college where the talent level is nowhere near the same, even when playing for the bigtime college programs.  Manziel is going to have to grow up fast or he's going to find himself on the trashheap of quarterbacks who could have been but never actually where.  Bill

Dec 30, 2014 07:47 AM
Margaret Goss
@Properties - Winnetka, IL
Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate

Sounds like the Chicago Bears to me! What a fiasco. I empathize . . .

Dec 30, 2014 09:13 AM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Thomas- I could not agree more.  I'm from Texas and a huge Aggie fan.  I loved watching him play but I am embarassed now.  Either he doesn't get it or he has chosen not to.  In either case, I wouldn't want him on my team.  Unfortunately, we're seeing a lot of players who are not playing for the team but for themselves.  Even though the Aggies won yesterday, I was embarassed by what went on. The student assistant slaps a West VA player twice, then an Aggie DB is ejected for targeting and prances off the field.  Shameful.

Dec 30, 2014 09:17 AM
Thomas Craig
KW at the Parks - Orlando, FL


The type of athlete you are describing can be found in Kurt Warner. Look him up in Wikipedia, and read his story both on and off the field. Here is a man we should all try to emulate. I would be interested in hearing your thoughts.


Dec 30, 2014 10:06 AM
Thomas Craig
KW at the Parks - Orlando, FL


I saw the clip of the Liberty Bowl game. What was going on with the guy on the sidelines? Someone should tell him to select another career. 

As for Johnny, let's hope he gets his act together.  


Dec 30, 2014 10:16 AM
Thomas Craig
KW at the Parks - Orlando, FL


I place Cleveland's troubles with the front office.  They have selected more first round duds than any team in recent years.


Dec 30, 2014 10:19 AM
Thomas Craig
KW at the Parks - Orlando, FL


Chicago certainly has their issues as well. Well, there's always next year!


Dec 30, 2014 10:25 AM
Joan Whitebook
BHG The Masiello Group - Nashua, NH
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services

This is an very informative post.  A good reminder that it takes consistent hard work to be successful

Dec 30, 2014 02:04 PM
Greg Miller
Ruoff Home Mortgage - Sarasota, FL
Florida Home Loans - Conventional,FHA,USDA,VA

Great reminder Thomas. Nothing can replace hard work and dedication to your craft,whatever it may be. Especially trying to go from college kid to NFL QB.

Dec 30, 2014 08:17 PM
Richard Iarossi
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Crofton, MD
Crofton MD Real Estate, Annapolis MD Real Estate

Unless he sees an epiphany, you can pile Johnny on top of a long list of slacker's who thought they were better than everyone else. Such a waste of potential talent.

Dec 30, 2014 09:19 PM
Thomas Craig
KW at the Parks - Orlando, FL

Joan, Greg, and Richard...

Thank you so much for your contribution to this discussion. Unfortunately, what Manziel is growing through is not just confined to him. I see kids all around me being pampered by their parents. They never hear the word "no", they are endlessly praised for efforts unworthy of praise, they have their parents interceed in their behalf when they screw up. Then they become an "adult" according to society's standards...and we all wonder why they act like they are thirteen.

The hard truth...we never taught them to be independent. God help them when their parents pass away and they have to fend for themselves.

Again, thanks for sharing!


Dec 30, 2014 09:44 PM
Paul McFadden
Responsive Pest Control - Seattle, WA
Pest Control, Seattle, WA.

To my long suffering Browns fan, I hope Johnny grows up. He has the talent. There's just a lot of space between the ears which can  the kiss of death. Thanks for your post!

Dec 31, 2014 12:33 AM
Thomas Craig
KW at the Parks - Orlando, FL


long suffering is right! Well, there's always next year. Even the Cavs stink right now. Johnny Football has taken his drinking talents to South Beach for New Years according to the papers. That will certainly help his game!


Dec 31, 2014 11:36 PM
Thomas F. Scanlon
Borgida & Company P. C., CPA's - Manchester, CT


Very well done. The transition from college to the working world is tough enough for most young adults. Being on the stage with the bright lights and being totally unprepared must very difficult.



Will LeBron get you through to next year?


Happy New Year!

Dec 31, 2014 11:51 PM
Thomas Craig
KW at the Parks - Orlando, FL


LeBron: I don't think so...just heard yesterday that he is out for the next 2 weeks. But hey, got the Buckeyes to cheer for. They looked great last night.

Thanks for your contribution!


Jan 02, 2015 02:43 AM
Claude Labbe
RLAH / @properties - Washington, DC
Realty for Your Busy Life


I'm in Redskins territory, of if you prefer now, in Washington-Football territory.

I knew there were issues with Johnny Football, and I appreciate a succinct summary as you've provided.  Our qb (RGIII) has had just about as much media attention and just about as much success. Both men need to quickly grow up and perform as expected.

Jan 02, 2015 01:40 PM
Thomas Craig
KW at the Parks - Orlando, FL


Far too many times teams only focus on what  happens on the field, forgetting that poor decision making skills off the field don't suddenly disappear when a player walks on the field. 

I have hired dozens of people over the years, and you can't over-look poor personality traits  simply because they might be qualified job-wise. Whatever  garbage  they walk through outside will be eventually be tracked into the office.

Just because someone can throw a football doesn't make  them smart , or a nice person.

Thanks for signing  to follow me.


Jan 03, 2015 10:23 PM