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Power of one

The impact of the Johnny Football Effect will resonate for years to come

Published: Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Updated: Tuesday, December 4, 2012 02:12

In 2012, Texas A&M saw the revelation that was the beginning of the “Johnny Football” phenomenon, or Johnny Manziel, as he prefers to go by his real name. Throughout the season, the redshirt freshman quarterback has dazzled the crowds in the stadiums and those tuned to their TVs to the point where he now stands as a Heisman Award finalist and potentially the first freshman to win the prestigious award.

Manziel, in his first year as the signal caller for the Aggies, led A&M to a 10-2 record, a significant improvement from the 7-6 season a year ago. He also broke the SEC record for total yards in a season, surpassing previous holder and Heisman winner Cam Newton by 273 yards in two fewer games. Manziel also became the first freshman and fifth ever to account for 3,000 passing yards and 1,000 rushing yards.

What the statistics for his award-worthy performance will not tell you is that Johnny Football is growing, not only as a legacy but also as a brand. Manziel will bring both short term and long term impacts on the field and also financially.

Before the move to the SEC from the Big 12 Conference Texas A&M generated $44.4 million, according to Forbes. The move to the SEC alone will increase that total significantly. Add in the effect of ticket sales for the people who want to witness “The Legend of Johnny Football,” the man who dodges 11 defensive players, throws the pigskin with pinpoint accuracy, and can run around, fumble the football and throw a touchdown all in the same play — rest assured that when the 2013 tickets go on sale, they will be gone in a matter of hours. If not, minutes.

Johnny Football is not only going to generate revenue at the ticket office, but also in the bookstore and Aggie gear vendors everywhere. Have you caught a glimpse of the Johnny Football t-shirts? How about the No. 2 A&M football jersey? You can bet those puppies will be gone faster than Manziel appears to defenses.

When the football team finds success on the field, alumni become more generous with their pocketbooks and the donations will be coming into the football program like never before.

Long-term effects look even more lustrous than the short-term effects. With Manziel at the helm for at least two more seasons, the Aggies are in prime position to be a serious SEC and national title contender during his tenure. Manziel’s presence and the team’s performance have led to a jump in recruiting talent as A&M ranks as the 11th best recruiting class in the nation, according to ESPN.com. A&M saw the leap of three four-star level recruits and 22 total commitments in 2011 to 11 four-star recruits and 32 total commitments for 2013.

Finally, if Manziel can lead A&M into the semifinals in the new BCS playoff format beginning in 2014, the power of football supremacy would have completely shifted over to A&M instead of t.u.

As Johnny Football prepares to take the stage under the bright lights of New York in hopes of capturing the Heisman Trophy, the effect Manziel had on A&M has been felt and will continue to be felt as the legend continues.

 

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