Reality TV Shows Johnny Manziel Could Win

Brian LeighFeatured ColumnistJuly 9, 2013

Reality TV Shows Johnny Manziel Could Win

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    Since bursting onto the scene in 2012 and winning the Heisman Trophy, Johnny Manziel's life has basically been a reality show.

    His celebrity peaked at the end of the season, where there was very little football left to be played, and he's spent most of his offseason basking in the glow of all that attention.

    But while his Keeping up With Johnny Football summer has been nice, it's not the only type of reality program out there. Outside of the documentary-style reality shows, there is also a broad range of competition-based games.

    So since you like being on camera so much, Mr. Football, why not try your hand at these eight reality competitions. It seems like you'd be good at all of them.

Dancing with the Stars (ABC)

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    Not Manziel specific, but ABC's Dancing With the Stars seems like a good place to start. It's the one reality show that's always been kind to jocks who participate.

    Seven of the show's 17 winners have been athletes, including three professional football players. No one from the college ranks has ever competed, but then again, no other freshman had ever won the Heisman trophy before...right?

    Johnny Football is a breaker-down of barriers, and if given the chance to compete, he'd be a favorite to join Emmitt Smith, Hines Ward and Donald Driver in the winner's circle.

    Especially if he breaks out that ballerina tip-toe move from the Cotton Bowl.

The Bachelorette (ABC)

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    Far be it from me to accuse people on the Bachelor(ette) of being shallow. But if they were a pool, for the most part, they'd come brandished with a sign that says No Diving.

    Which makes Manziel a perfect contestant for the show. Next to a cadre of generic-looking, suit-wearing businessmen, wouldn't the soon-to-be millionaire football player have a very distinct advantage?

    Manziel isn't exactly Fabio, but he's not a bad-looking fellow. If he and Sarah Savage ever broke up, what beautiful, reality-fame-seeking woman wouldn't want to land Johnny Football?

America's Got Talent (NBC)

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    The goal of America's Got Talent is simple: They want to find Americans with unrecognized skills—men and women who fell through the cracks—and turn them into household names.

    You could argue that Johnny Manziel wasn't technically a "no name" before last season. He did have a 3-star composite from 247Sports, and an even higher rating on their own metric. It's not like his football skills had gone unrealized.

    But consider this: Johnny Manziel was arrested and jailed in June of 2012, not even 400 days ago. ESPN.com's story on the matter (taken from an AP presswire) was 272 words with no photo, no analysis and no block of opinionated think pieces. It was just a straight-fact piece about some backup no one had ever heard of.

    If that same arrest happened today, not only would it get 10-times the words, volumes of photos and an embarrassment of opinions—it would probably lead Sportscenter for the next week and a half.

    Johnny Manziel burst onto the scene last season and made his football skills known to the world. That's exactly the type of zero-to-hero story America's Got Talent is looking for.

Top Shot (History Channel)

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    Top Shot is a History Channel competition where contestants are split into teams of eight and compete in various shooting competitions. Hosted by former Survivor contestant Colby Donaldson, it's currently gearing up for its fifth season, an All-Star competition between the best players from years 1-4.

    If it comes back for Season 6, though, and allows neophytes back into the game, Johnny Manziel would be an intriguing prospect. He's a Texas boy—born-and-raised—and has posted numerous pictures duck hunting with his pops (see: above).

    Whether or not those skills translate to other game remains to be seen. If nothing else, one would have to think, a stint on Top Shot would be great practice for the Redneck Olympics.

Spring Break Challenge (MTV)

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    The only thing Johnny Manziel likes more than a challenge is Spring Break. He spent 2012 partying in Cabo, downing tequila shots at the world-famous Mango Deck and providing TMZ with a whole weeks-worth of fodder.

    Which makes this show perfect for Johnny Football, especially when you consider its context. A spinoff of MTV-staple "Real World vs. Road Rules Challenge," the Spring Break version was basically identical...just sexier.

    Like most MTV shows, The Challenge is half physical competition and half sex-crazed drama—two things Manziel proved adept at this past year. If 'The Miz' (pictured above) came back for a cameo performance, Manziel would also get a fellow celebrity "athlete" to hang out with when the cameras are off.

    Unfortunately, The Challenge hasn't returned to Spring Break since 2010. But here's to holding out hope for a reboot.

Wipeout (ABC)

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    Network President Anne Sweeney is taking notes: Wipeout is the third current ABC show on the list, and the one Manziel is most likely to actually do. Unlike Dancing With the Stars and The Bachelorette, Wipeout doesn't require weeks upon months of commitment.

    Then again, having Manziel on Wipeout would be kind of counterintuitive. The whole point of the show is to see people wipe out. No one is rooting for the contestant to win; they're all rooting for them to fail in the most embarrassing way possible.

    Manziel would immediately become the most athletic dude to ever participate, and he's got the perfect musculature to get across each course. He's small but strong, quick but coordinated, cocky but not to a fault.

    This one would be too easy.

4th and Long (Spike)

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    4th-and-Long was a short-lived reality show on Spike, where Michael Irvin took players who just missed the NFL—each one for a different reason—and gave them a chance to win a spot at Dallas Cowboys training camp.

    It only aired once, but it was actually successful at launching two careers. Jesse Holley, the season's winner, didn't just get invited to training camp, but he eventually earned a spot on the Dallas Cowboys' team.

    Runner-up Andrew Hawkins (above), meanwhile, spent some time playing in Canada before breaking out with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2012. He finished last season with 51 catches, 533 yards and four touchdowns.

    Johnny Manziel will surely get a shot at the next level, but if he's looking for some extra air-time at Spike, this would have been a fun outlet for him. He would have had to try his hand at receiver to participate, but then again, some people think he won't be an NFL quarterback anyway.

American Gladiators (Multiple)

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    Manziel would seem, at first, to be too slight of frame for American Gladiators. Those are some big dudes he'd be going up against, especially in pure-strength games like the joust (above). 

    But there are plenty of agility-based events out there too, and Manziel could run circles around his competition. So what if he takes a few big hits during Powerball? Can you imagine how many ankles he'd break before that?

    If he reached the Eliminator, victory would be assured. That course is built for someone like Manziel, who would plow through it faster than Oklahoma's defense. 

    Once the director yelled cut and the cameras stopped rolling, Manziel would sheepishly approach Malibu, give him a chest bump and a shaka brah, then hop in the back of his Jeep Wrangler and head for Manhattan Beach.

    Those cosmic rays aren't gonna take-in themselves.