Manziel Finally Cashes in…Legitimately
So maybe Johnny Football pocketed a little cash over the past couple of years for signing a football or two, maybe a helmet, maybe a cocktail napkin. Some say he did, he says he didn’t. Whichever you believe there must not have been much evidence because the secret police known as the NCAA, only penalized him half of a game last season. Now Manziel has made it official–and legal–by signing an endorsement deal with Nike. No one is saying exactly how much, although the number will probably come out before I finish writing this sentence, but it will be the largest endorsement deal of any draft pick this year in the NFL. And it should be. In the world of young, up and coming athletes, there’s Johnny Nike and then there’s everyone else.
Andrew Wiggins was all the rage at the start of the current college basketball season. As a freshman at Kansas, Wiggins was said to be bidding his time to play one season and then be the first pick in the NBA draft. Had he been eligible to go right to the NBA from high school, he would have been the top pick. He may not have disappeared at KU but he’s averaging 16 points and 5 rebounds per game. No doubt good numbers for a freshman and he’s a wonderful talent…but he can’t even sniff the stats and domination that Manziel had as a freshman at A&M. If I’m Nike and I can pull up to some 21-year-olds house with a load of cash, I’d backup to Manziels all day long. If Nike is smart, and no one ever says they’re not, they’d do everything they can to ink Johnny forever.
There is still debate over where Manziel will go in the draft order and how well he’ll play on Sundays. I’m in the camp with those saying he’ll shut up the nay-sayers pretty quickly. Obviously Nike agrees, they’re not in the habit of spending money they don’t have to. Nike may throw a lot of money around but if you notice, it usually goes to the top guys in each sport. Under Armour, adidas and New Balance were all after Manziel and JFF probably could have been one of their featured players. At Nike he’s just one of a dozen superstars, which tells you that he’s not afraid of getting lost in the marketing glut. He knows how good he is and how good he expects to be.
Another bonus for Nike is that, unlike most athletes who have to wait until they’re established pro’s to earn their nickname, Manziel already comes wrapped up with one of the great nicknames of all time. Anyone named Johnny Football just has to be destined for stardom. You know Nike will splash him everywhere so whether he is rookie of the year or just has a so so season, the power of Nike will make everyone think he’s Brady, Manning and Brees wrapped into one. And the real beauty of the deal is that Nike won’t have to pay him in 20’s stuffed into an envelope in a parking garage.