Found July 17, 2013 on Fox Sports:
If you wanted a moment to crystallize the ascension of college football as our nation's second most popular sport -- Johnny Manziel's SEC media days appearance Wednesday morning is a perfect illustration of that rise. On the morning after the Major League Baseball All-Star Game, Manziel, the 20-year-old sophomore quarterback of Texas A&M, appeared live on ESPN's SportsCenter to address his Manning Passing Academy departure and his offseason. ESPN promoted the interview for nearly 24 hours. The SportsCenter exclusive, carried live across the nation, came before Manziel's first scheduled appearance before the SEC Media Days throngs at 8:30 in the morning. This was the latest culmination of the SEC's rise from regional conference to national behemoth -- why a quarterback left an offseason football camp early is the biggest story in a sporting-mad country. This was Johnny Manziel, a second-year college quarterback, already more famous and recognizable than 10 or 12 of the starting quarterbacks in the NFL, sitting down to talk to the nation. Here was ESPN anchor Joe Tessitore's "Frost v. Nixon" moment. Tessitore didn not disappoint. He completely and totally grilled Manziel on what happened at the Manning Passing Academy and also about his offseason. At no point did Tessitore smile or acknowledge the latent absurdity of the story. No this was Egypt. This was a bombing in Afghanistan. This was . . . a college kid saying that he overslept and missed a meeting. Oh, the humanity. If Tessitore had gotten eight minutes with George W. Bush, we might have managed to avoid the entire Iraq war. You can watch the interview here . We can debate whether the story deserved this measure of attention, but what we can't debate is that people care. The rise of the SEC means that the top SEC players are some of the most famous athletes in America. Even if they're still unable to legally buy a beer what they do on and off the field is big news, tiny morsels of food for a media and public that constantly demands more. More stories, more instantenous, more analysis, more entertainment. More, more, more. And all delivered immediately. By tomorrow ESPN, which is flying Manziel to Los Angeles for the ESPY Awards, will be debating whether Johnny Manziel is getting too much media attention. Seriously, this will happen. Why? Because Manziel's a rock-star celebrity who drives ratings. Love him or hate him, you care about Manziel. When I asked him Wednesday about this scrutiny and the Twitter hate, Manziel said, "You gotta be doing something right for people to hate you like that." As a I wrote Monday , he's the most scutinized college athlete ever, Tim Tebow with the poon-chasing gene. Manziel's insistence that he overslept is the fourth different explanation that's been proferred for why he left the football camp in the past four days. First, we had a report that Manziel was hung over and missed Saturday practices leading to his camp dismissal, then the Manning Passing Academy released a statement saying that Johnny was ill. Finally Manziel's own dad said that Johnny was home resting and suffering from dehydration. All of these are different reasons. Now Manziel's offered a fourth different justification -- he overslept because his phone died. Oh, and that his roommate at the Manning camp, AJ McCarron, didn't wake him up. And no one else did either. In fact, no one bothered to knock on his door when he didn't show up on time, none of that happened. Doesn't that seem pretty unlikely, that if the Heisman Trophy winner was late for a meeting you wouldn't send someone to grab him from bed? And doesn't it also seem unlikely that there would be four different explanations offered over four different days for why Johnny Football left the camp? I'm not a professional detective, but with all these differing explanations isn't the real story here pretty obvious? Manziel likely hooked up with a girl he met while out Friday night, went back to her place instead of to his room, his phone died there -- how often does your phone die when you're where you're expecting to sleep? -- and he showed up late on Saturday. Archie Manning, surely tired of Manziel's showing up late for meetings, probably then went ahead and sent him home. Here's guessing that Manziel's avoided telling the truth about what really happened because he has a hot girlfriend and he doesn't want her to find out. Plus, it's kind of awkward to talk about your sex life on national television. Although, can you imagine the drop the mic moment if this morning Manziel had said live on SportsCenter, "Yeah, I was hooking up with a girl I met out at the bar and she wanted to hook up again the next morning and I couldn't say no, Joe." What would Tessitore's next question have been? What about his facial expression? This would have been priceless television. Then I could have followed up by asking Manziel whether he preferred blondes, brunettes or redheads and Manziel could have answered, "Hopefully all three, at the same time." And we would have had the greatest quote in the history of SEC Media Days. But that didn't happen. Instead, since the dismissal broke everyone has done their best to respond to the story without throwing Manziel under the hook-up bus. The result? Four different explanations, all dodging the real reason. That's the only real explanation that makes sense here. And it also makes all the attention even more ridiculous. And kind of hysterical. What we've got here is a garden-variety, college hook-up that has turned into the college sports version of Watergate because Manziel is the most scrutinized college athlete ever. What did he know and when did he know it? I'm halfway expecting for Manziel to leave for the ESPYs after flashing the peace sign on the steps of his airplane. Four years ago, Tim Tebow came to SEC Media Days and said he didn't believe in premarital sex, four years later Manziel shows up at media days and pulls a Bill Clinton, dodging admitting to a hook-up that threatens to cost him millions of dollars in NFL draft impact. I mean, that's gotta be it, right? This happens everywhere for 20-year-old girls and guys on summer break. Except usually the story is contained to three or four people and doesn't get broken apart by over 1,000 media. Right now, Manziel is probably texting AJ McCarron to get the story straight on why McCarron didn't wake up Manziel. Because you know McCarron will get asked about it at media days tomorrow. My bet on their excuse? McCarron's day started earlier than Manziel's and he figured Johnny would wake up on his own. Get ready for that answer from McCarron. Because it's coming. When you dive into the four different stories here, discovering what really happened isn't that complicated. Manziel's the anti-Tebow, a lot more like what most of us would have been like if we'd won the Heisman our second year in college. And his star is burning so brightly that why he left the Manning football camp is a bigger story than the Major League All-Star Game. It's wild, but it's just another chapter in the Johnny Football Experience. At Notre Dame they have pretend girlfriends. In the SEC the quarterbacks allegedly pretend they didn't hook up with other girls. Advantage, SEC.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
RELATED ARTICLES
HIS BAD

Report: Manziel sorry for camp snafu

A "very upset " Johnny Manziel reportedly apologized to the A&M coaching staff about his early departure from the Manning Passing Academy camp.

‘The Book of Manning’: SEC Storied documentary profiles growing up in Manning family

Set to air on Sept. 24, a new ESPN "SEC Storied" documentary, titled "The Book of Manning," profiles the growth of Archie Manning and his football-playing sons into the First Family of NFL Quarterbacking.

Report: Johnny Manziel Apologizes To TAMU Coaching Staff For “Behavior” This Past Weekend

College football alert text sent out by ESPN. This past weekend, Johnny Manziel was supposed to participate in the annual Manning Passing Academy for college quarterbacks. Well, Manziel did participate, just not for very long. It was first reported that the Heisman winner was kicked out of the event by Archie Manning himself after Manziel showed up hung over, but ESPN later reported...

Johnny Manziel apologizes to Texas A&M coaching staff

Johnny Manziel has apologized to the Texas A&M coaching staff after his departure this past weekend from the Manning Passing Academy. Manziel, 20, left the camp citing illness and dehydration although reports circulated around the Internet that the quarterback was sent home by Archie Manning for “partying”. Things will not get easier for Manziel as he is scheduled to speak...

Give Manziel a freaking break

Johnny Manziel had what, by all accounts, was a pretty awesome and pretty standard weekend for a college kid. He partied with friends. He was overserved. He slept in. Of course, Johnny is not an ordinary college kid, or he is -- depending on what argument is being made and by whom and in what context. One discussion is why should we pay college football players when they are just...

Gardner impressed scouts at the Manning Passing Academy

For most college athletes, July is a quiet month. There's always work to do, both in the gym and on your game, but you aren't normally spending a lot of time in the spotlight. That hasn't been the case for Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner. The junior already had an unforgettable month, and it has only reached the halfway point. Things started getting weird on July...

The Hangover Part 5: Johnny Manziel Leaves Manning Academy

The Manning Passing Academy was started by Peyton Manning, Eli Manning, and Cooper Manning. The academy includes over 1,000 high school kids, all wanting to become the next great quarterback. This academy is very important to the Manning family and Lousiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.The camp also includes current college players who want to invest their time - with the children, not with...

Johnny Manziel explains himself at SEC Media Day

Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel took the mic today for SEC Media Day, and the event is the highlight of the 2013 college football preseason. Well, Johnny Manziel answering questions about his off-the-field issues is certainly the highlight of SEC and any other college football media day; that’s for sure. “There’s a lot of rumors out there, a lot of talk. I’ve been very eager...

Johnny Manziel draft stock falling like MSNBC ratings

Is Johnny Manziel number one overall NFL Draft pick material? I thought so. I don’t think so today. The biggest problem with Manziel is his height. Johnny Manziel’s lack of height could make him Rex Grossman or it could make him Drew Brees. You never know. However, Brees and Grossman never had character issues like Johnny Manziel. The Texas A&M signal caller has all college...

A.J. McCarron, Bryn Renner, Devin Gardner Draw Rave Reviews for Performances at Manning Passing Academy

Maybe it’s because it’s July or it’s because the NFL draft has gained so many followers that analysts just can’t wait to get their opinions known before the season starts, but the Manning Passing Academy is gaining momentum as the go-to showcase for college quarterbacks to flash their skills for the NFL. Mike Mayock was down in Louisiana this weekend watching the draft-eligible...
Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.