Browns Blowing it with Manziel
There’s a reason the Cleveland Browns have struggled since, well seemingly the last ice age. They just don’t get it. I know they’re in the rust belt, I know they’re so blue collar their necks have a permanent denim ring around them but this is 2014. The Browns apparently think that marketing is something housewives do to stock their fridge. They draft Johnny Manziel in the first round last week, the same Johnny Manziel who already has a legendary nickname, who was the first freshman to ever win the Heisman Trophy, who was so popular at Texas A&M that they raised a few hundred million dollars in about 3 weeks to expand the stadium. Somehow the Browns management must have missed all of that, because the first thing to come out of the Browns front office was that Johnny will have to start acting like a backup quarterback and tone it down a bit. And oh yea, when they hold their first rookie mini-camp, just days after the draft, no media is allowed.
If this is how they treat Johnny Football in Cleveland, how bad must it have been for Colt McCoy or Brandon Weedon? What the Browns are shutting down is exactly what that franchise needs. In case they haven’t noticed, the Browns are insignificant. Like that mosquito squished on your windshield or T.O. making another comeback. Nobody cares about them. On the national stage of the NFL the Browns are one notch above Jacksonville and two million notches below the Cowboys and Patriots. You draft a Johnny Manziel to pull your franchise out of that muck, not to continue to wallow in it.
The team finally recanted and allowed only local media in–for a limited time–to watch and report on practice. Manziel is national news, he’s the reason the NFL Draft ratings were the highest ever, why they blew the NBA and NHL playoff games away. Everyone was interested in Johnny and now the Browns are going to pretend that he’s just another rookie? The Browns sold 2,500 season tickets the day following the draft, not because they picked Justin Gilbert with the 8th pick, because they took Manziel with the 22nd. But instead of rewarding those fans with plenty of Manziel video and information, the geniuses in the Browns front office put very strict limits on how much Johnny anyone could see. And Browns owner Jimmy Haslam made a point of letting Johnny know that Brian Hoyer, the never won a Heisman, only his immediate family recognizes him Brian Hoyer, is the starter and Johnny needs to act like a back up. Those season tickets were for sale before the draft, when the amazing Hoyer was the only Browns quarterback, and somehow fans weren’t waiting in line at 7:00am to buy them, hmmmm.
Wake up Cleveland, you have the next Joe Willie, maybe not on the field yet, but from a marketing tool. Manziel will dazzle because that’s what he’s always done. The only thing standing in his way is his own team. I guarantee Jerry would have opened up Valley Ranch and probably would have been holding a camera of his own while Stephen interviewed Johnny.