ESPN suffers “Johnny Football” fever


Courtesy of Getty Images

The story in sports for about the past two months has been Johnny Manziel, more commonly referred to as Johnny Football. Heading the coverage has been ESPN.

While Johnny Football has done many headline worthy activities like “reportedly” signing autographs in exchange for money, many of the headlines are stories blown out of proportion.

Firstly, Manziel was kicked out of a frat party at the University of Texas. The video went viral. It’s no surprise. College students go to frat parties, but somehow this deserved a discussion on ESPN’s First Take.

A whole article was dedicated to this “news story”; clearly ESPN’s website has also fell under the Johnny Football spell.

In the last year alone, 1212 article results appear when searching “Johnny Manziel” on On the other hand, when searching fellow SEC quarterback Zach Mettenberger, only 403 results are found. These articles range in quality and subject matter so that the reader is never given one view of Manziel. One is defending is Manziel and the next is criticizing all of his actions.

This obsession over Johnny Football has not only given the public a distorted view of Manziel but also tarnished ESPN’s reputation across the board. SportsCenter which used to be a great source for quick highlights and analysis has turned into an endless talk show featuring Manziel like stories.

As previously mentioned, First Take, featuring Stephen A Smith and Skip Bayless, is also a culprit for this nonsensical banter. Smith and Bayless are known for their IQ losing discussions but this took it to a whole new level.

“He [Manziel] was asking for it, to walk into this fraternity party under these circumstances,” Bayless said.

ESPN has overloaded us with Johnny Football. That is no mistake. There is no doubt that people at ESPN are aware of the content being produced. They know that anything about Johnny Manziel will get peoples’ attentions.

Google trends has shown that “Johnny Manziel” is a top search term at the moment. The data gives the interest in “Johnny Manziel” at 100, which is the maximum possible.

A day after the first frat party “incident”, ESPN’s two true loves merged into one story; Manziel was pictured wearing a Tim Tebow Jets jersey at another party.

Back when Tebow was leading the Broncos, and even as a backup for the Jets, ESPN found a way to cover every single one of his actions, no matter how insignificant. In ESPN’s perfect world, Manziel would be drafted by the Jaguars and Tebow would be signed. They would then compete for the starting quarterback job.

As the “Worldwide Leader In Sports”, ESPN has the responsibility of covering sports news, but at some point the line must be drawn between news and a twenty year-old’s personal life.