Johnny Manziel To Dallas Would Have Been A Nightmare
By Kenny Decker
Rewind a few weeks to the first night of the NFL Draft. The Dallas Cowboys pick at 16 is slowly approaching and picks continue to go by that aren’t Johnny Manziel. Jerry Jones had mentioned before that the Cowboys would be addressing their needs in the first few rounds and that quarterback was a strength, not a need. However, he also had mentioned that Manziel was No. 1 on their big board. Who drafting in the second half of the draft would ever expect the No. 1 on their big board to be available? Well, the answer to that is probably no one. Aside from Jon Gruden, everyone in this draft must have had Jadeveon Clowney No. 1 on the big board. But then again, Jones loves to be different.
So as the pick approached, many began to wonder would Jones pull the string on Manziel? Everyone knew he wanted Manziel. He loves Tony Romo, but Manziel brings media attention that no other rookie ever has. And any common NFL fan knows how much Jones loves media attention. Obviously, the Cowboys did not draft Manziel and took Zack Martin instead. This allowed Manziel to fall all the way to the Cleveland Browns at 22. Well, what would have happened if the Cowboys had drafted Manziel?
Cleveland has never appeared in a Super Bowl. They have had one winning season since 2002. The biggest name on their team prior to the draft was probably Josh Gordon, who basically broke onto the scene this past season. Despite the lack of football history and excitement in Cleveland, Manziel’s presence has already brought a huge buzz. Can you imagine what he would have done to Dallas? The Cowboys are arguably the most talked about team in sports. They get media coverage about everything. They appear on national television year in and out regardless of how good they are that year. This is “America’s Team.” Johnny Football would have broken Twitter, the Internet, and likely many Cowboys’ fans TV’s if they had drafted him. With Romo’s contract and talent level, bringing in Manziel would have made absolutely no financial or football sense.
A majority of the teams in the NFL are fortunate enough to not have a quarterback controversy through camp, preseason and often into the season. The Cowboys are one of those teams. However, if Manziel came to Dallas, they would have joined the list. Arguments would have begun immediately on local and national media stations about whether Manziel should start over Romo. Most, if not all, arguments would have been in a favor of Romo. But the debates would have been there, and that would have been just through the offseason. One interception by Romo and they would have started again. A close Cowboys loss would have people saying Manziel would have won that game. People would be calling on Manziel within the first few weeks. A betting man would be in favor of Romo having a better statistical season in 2014 than Manziel. Manziel may not even start for Cleveland. And even if he does, it will be because it’s Cleveland and why not throw him into the fire? They need some buzz and he’s worth a shot considering their other options aren’t great.
Drafting Manziel would have caused a nightmare even Jones wouldn’t have enjoyed. He loves media attention for his Cowboys, both positive and negative. But what Manziel would have brought to Dallas wouldn’t have simply been extra media attention — he would’ve become a cancer to Dallas’ success, and that’s no knock on Manziel. The guy can play football and may have a very successful NFL career. But bringing him into the sport’s biggest national spotlight where there is already a strong starting quarterback would have hurt both them and him. Maybe the Dallas-Manziel marriage will happen down the road when Romo’s time is up. The marriage could be a very prosperous and successful one, but not right now. Jones biting his tongue and throwing his eggs into a different basket saved both Dallas’ 2014 season and perhaps Manziel’s career.