Is Johnny Manziel the next Jay Cutler?

David Maxwell

Ever heard of Johnny Football? Of course you have, the quarterback was the first round pick of the Cleveland Browns in this month's draft. Johnny Manziel has been an electrifying football player ever since he stepped on the field at Texas A&M in 2012. However, controversy has followed him. Even when there is none.

Jay Cutler has been a polarizing player, even among his own fanbase, throughout his time in the NFL. In general, even when a player is despised it is mostly contained to opposing fans. But Cutler has changed that.

Here at WCG it is mainly a pro-Cutler outlet where fans have been majorly supportive of the Bears signal-caller, and have been sympathizing with and for the quarterback whenever the mainstream media reached out to attack him.

Mostly, the attacks on Cutler have been unwarranted. There was that business of him being a "quitter" in the aftermath of the 2010 NFC Championship Game, his lack of leadership and just the fact that people don't like his face.

All of that is based on conjuncture and subjective observations from anecdotal-at-best evidence. So, many Bears fans have tried to defend Jay, talked about his bad rap and found plenty of evidence to the contrary.

With enough haters the debate about Cutler could rage on forever, but that's not what this is about.

Johnny Manziel hasn't even been in the NFL for a month - in fact he's only gone through a couple of minicamp practices - and he is already proving to be a polarizing player.

Going back to his A&M days he has been a love/hate player. Personally I love watching him play football, but sometimes his personality kind of rubbed me the wrong way. Then it hit me.

My "a-ha" moment was this past weekend when Manziel went to Las Vegas with brotorious party man Rob Gronkowski. Gronk and Manziel, being the 20-somethings they are, had some shirtless, poolside fun with a couple of lady friends.

Of course, the media was quick to jump all over him.

From Rich Gannon:

"I don’t see how that weekend helps Johnny. Look he didn’t do anything wrong or bad. … But all players aren’t created equal. You’re held to a higher standard as the face of the franchise.

From Brady Quinn:

"Cleveland is a blue-collar town,"

From Heath Evans:

"Go the Teddy Bridgewater route...'I'm not even going to get on a plane, I'm going to keep my butt right here because it means something to me to be the face of a franchise, to do it the right way.'"

Links to the full articles/videos are in the links embedded above, by the way...

But, there are just as many who don't care, which Cleveland.com did a good job of rounding up. Here is just one sample though:


Oh, and here's the real kicker, Johnny Football's own coach told him to 'go, have fun.'

My advice to him was to have fun.

So here we have a player engaged in activities that are morally questionable at worst, but totally within the law and within his rights as a human, but it is made a big deal of because of who he is.

As soon as I heard that Mike Pettine told Manziel the trip was fine, I changed my mind about Manziel. Maybe I should root for this guy. Maybe he is a little spoiled, maybe he's flashy, but he's also keeping up with his studies:

But the 21-year-old first-round pick also posted photos of his offensive playbook.

"He's been great. He's in the playbook. Now if he was out doing something illegal, we'd have an issue," said Pettine. "That just comes with the territory of who he is.

"I know he had his iPad with him. And I know he wasn't using it as a coaster. ... Ultimately, he was in it."

I know Manziel has a circus around him, even approaching Tim Tebow levels, but the guy is a heck of a football player and has a magnetic personality.

Personally I hope he makes in the NFL. He's fun to watch and he'll be good for the league. Polarizing is good for the NFL and, as Cutler fans know, sometimes it's good to root for the villain. Especially when he isn't actually the villain.

Do you think Manziel can take Cutler's spot as 'most hated athlete for no legitimate reason?'

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