All the talk on the radio and online on Tuesday was about Johnny Manziel gesturing with his middle finger at the Washington bench in Monday’s NFL exhibition game.
Competitive guy, some people say. Stupid guy, say others.
Either way, the old intimidation tricks don’t work in the NFL. Manziel had an earthbound performance for the Cleveland Browns.
Manziel might think he’s just being competitive, but realistically, that happens regularly at many high school and college games across the country. Seriously? Flashing crude gestures is supposed to give you a competitive edge?
When I was about 11, my parents took me to a junior college basketball game. The visiting team had a crew cut, redheaded center and fans were calling him “Big Red” throughout the game.
When the home team slipped away with a narrow victory, Big Red walked to center court, spread both arms and delivered a middle-fingered salute, with both hands, toward the audience.
Yes, it was obnoxious. But it also showed how frustrated he was. And it didn’t impress anyone (thought it did amuse some). Big Red’s shocking move really didn’t shock anybody. It just informed the audience that he was a classless player.
If Manziel is already gesturing and yapping at opponents, it means he’s trying to get in their heads. More importantly, it shows that he’s frustrated and out of ideas. That’s no way to impress the coaches.
If Manziel really has an NFL game, he better bring it, minus the hand gestures, so he doesn’t become a caricature of himself. As Dennis Rodman showed later in his career, being a sideshow means little if you don’t have the game to go along with it.
Manziel should let his game do the talking, not his antics.