no pressure, no diamonds


“From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” — Luke 12:48 NIV

Is it fair to compare Johnny Manziel to Robert Griffin III? Probably not.

For starters, it’s probably not fair to compare any person to any other person. But that never stops us. It’s also probably not fair to compare Manziel to RG3 because RG3 grew into greatness while Manziel had greatness thrust upon him. But that’s not going to stop me either.

In fact, I would like to specifically outline how it happened.

RG3 quietly stepped onto the stage as a Baylor freshman in 2008, starting 11 of 12 games at quarterback. He passed for more than 2,000 yards and rushed for more than 800. Though the Bears won just four games that season, a program mired in more than a decade of being terrible began to see a ray of hope. That hope was darkened in 2009, when Griffin suffered a knee injury in the third game of the season. But in 2010, RG3 came back to lead Baylor to its first bowl game in 16 seasons. The pinnacle of RG3’s college career began on November 5, 2011 when he led the Bears to a second-half, come-from-behind victory over Missouri. During the next 28 days he would also lead Baylor to wins over Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas Tech and Texas. And in doing so, he won the Heisman. From there, RG3 did everything right from his Heisman speech to his draft preparation to recovering from an injury that ended his NFL rookie season right up until the typing of this sentence.

Johnny Football earned the starting QB position two weeks before the opening game of his redshirt-freshman season at Texas A&M in 2012. That made him a brand-new quarterback on a team with a brand-new coach entering a new conference. It really helped Football’s case that Conventional Wisdom (a.k.a., the lowest common denominator opinion) held that Texas A&M was going to get its ass kicked on a weekly basis in the SEC. This, of course, made Texas A&M’s success completely predictable. As evidence, I’ll simply state that the Aggies’ 11-2 season helped me win a bet that should have brought me 48 beers from a couple of buddies who know very little about sports but were still willing to enter into said bet. I didn’t take the beer because I don’t believe in fleecing fools. ANYWAY, Football passed for 3,700 yards and 26 touchdowns, and rushed for 1,400 yards and 21 TDs. He deserved to win the Heisman.

But he hasn’t lived up to it.

The Heisman isn’t a green light to future football success. As proof, click on this list of winners. It’s not even a guarantee of being drafted by an NFL team.

The Heisman — and this is the point that RG3 understood and Football did not — is a responsibility. When a player wins the Heisman, much has been given to him and much will be expected.


5 responses to “no pressure, no diamonds

  1. I don’t know how to participate in this conversation, but I really like the headline and the closing sentiment, “When a player wins the Heisman, much has been given to him and much will be expected.”

    I just don’t know who Johnny Manziel is.

  2. Becky wins the comment award. Great post, Chad! I’ve been doing my best to not point out the offseason shortcomings of one Mr. Football, so I appreciate you writing this so I can re-post it and redirect people’s potential animosity to someone who can handle it better than me (you).

    That being said, I think the closing sentiment that Becky so rightfully enjoys is spot on. In a world where people are talking more and more about actually paying college students to play football (not just provide compensation in other ways), I think it’s becoming increasingly important to evaluate exactly how these students spend their free time and their response to fame and fortune. Old Johnny is a wild one. And it’s becoming more than just embarrassing for the school, the alumni, and the football program.

  3. Thanks, friends. Mark and Jacob, you need to help me decide what to do with Becky. Part of me wants to thank her for being a trooper to read my sportsy posts. But another part of me remembers the time I saw her deliriously happy at the end of an Iowa State football win over Iowa.

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