“Men whose painted portraits have hung in the hallowed halls for close to a century and represent what is supposed to be right about college football,” scolds the Orland Sentinel’s Matt Murschel. “Johnny Manziel’s portrait hangs there as well, but lately it appears more like it was taken with Instagram.” In case you haven’t already guessed, Murschel considers the Texas A&M QB’s post-Heisman partying sufficient reason to “rethink giving the award to a first year player again.” Because after all, it’s not as though non-freshman like Johnny Rogers, Reggie Bush or OJ Simpson have ever tainted the Heisman by association.
Like a modern day Jekyll and Hyde, the Texas A&M quarterback has found himself justifying the off-the-field actions created by his on-the-field persona. A persona living a rock-star lifestyle in the body of a 20-year-old college student.
The pictures tell the story. There’s the ones of him at a club with friends, or courtside at an NBA game, or dressed up as Scooby-Doo next to scantily clad coeds, or the ones where he is enjoying spring break on the sandy beaches of Cabo.
Former Alabama great Mark Ingram won the Heisman Trophy at 19 – as a sophomore – yet he somehow wasn’t featured on TMZ or didn’t find himself in a verbal war with trolls on Twitter. Perhaps it was the extra year under Nick Saban. There is no brighter spotlight than the one focused on Alabama and all that extra attention was great training for the pressures that would come with winning the award.
It appears Manziel wasn’t quite ready to handle those pressures.
Hopefully in the future, Heisman voters will carefully consider the media savvy and maturity of a candidate along with their on the field achievements.