OPINION: Never a dull moment
Manziel’s media magnetism isn’t a bad thing.
Published: Friday, August 30, 2013
Updated: Friday, August 30, 2013 00:08
Over the past few months, the media siege on Texas A&M’s football program has been relentless. An unyielding dialogue centered on college football’s most polarizing figure — Johnny Football — has dominated national editorials and news cycles with seemingly no end in sight.
Excuse me, but when did this whole ordeal become — from a fan base perspective — a negative aspect?
Everywhere from online message boards to classroom conversations, I witness Aggies either defending Manziel or questioning his value to the University. Each time I’ve visited home within the past year, everyone from family members to former coworkers has grilled me on the 20-year-old quarterback.
What’s your take on the latest from Johnny? Do you think he’s guilty? I bet you’re wishing by now Manziel could have bolted to the NFL after last season, aren’t you?
My simple answer: any press is good press.
Why? Because free advertising is every major college football program’s dream.
Outside of Manziel’s “Autograph-Gate,” which officially closed Wednesday following an agreement between Texas A&M and the NCAA to suspend the quarterback the first-half of the season-opener not a single one of his exploits was worthy of anything but news segments and editorials.
Not negative press, but rather plain-old, down-home reporting of what adventures the college student experienced that weekend.
And what’s attached to every sportscenter update on Manziel, ranging from the Scooby-Doo photograph to his UT party expulsion?
The A&M logo, further propelling the rising program’s brand to every corner across the country. And that’s not even the best part — this is all for free, with not even a dime coming out of the University’s pocket.
A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin said the free press has created an atmosphere of relevancy around the formerly attention-starved program, helping the team gather steam heading into the daunting season.
“The increase in attention, in many ways, it’s been great,” Sumlin said. “We’ve worked very hard over the last 18 months to try and make this program be relevant and playing relevant and meaningful games on the big stage. We’ve had to manage the excitement from the beginning and I’m very pleased with how our players and coaches are handling it.”
Senior defensive back Toney Hurd Jr. conveyed a slightly different message than his head coach, saying the team has done more than just utilize the attention.
“I feel like the team has embraced all the media,” Hurd said. “The positive issues bring more attention to our program. As for the major stuff, the coaches and all the right people are handling it in the right way. We love the attention and we love being No. 6 in preseason polls but we are fighting to be No. 1 in the country.”
Any press is good press, and right now, Texas A&M runs center on every printer and news hub from New York to
I’ll close with one final thought.
Late last semester, I was having a conversation with Jason Cook, A&M’s senior associate athletic director for external affairs, during April’s live broadcast spring game when he pointed out a fact that has stuck with me throughout each of Manziel’s offseason antics.
Texas A&M University is a brand 137 years in the making. And Johnny Football?
Well, the “legend” hasn’t even reached its first birthday yet.
Despite what many perceive, Johnny Manziel does not define Texas A&M, but rather acted as a catalyst to the program’s massive rebranding effort over the course of the past year.
Rather, the superstar quarterback’s persona adds yet another unique aspect to the University’s identity, one positioned to not only last, but also thrive for the next 137 years and beyond.