Johnny Manziel’s behavior off the field has sparked severe criticism from the national media, but 17 years ago, you might be surprised to know what Peyton Manning did in school.
Partygoers saw the Heisman winner enjoying a fine afternoon Saturday at the famous Fiji Island day party, an annual exclamation point for UT’s summer rush events. The SAEs weren’t so welcoming, as on the Friday night before Island, Manziel was seen getting escorted out of their late night lead-up party.
If you’re a Texas A&M fan, it’s completely understandable why you might be concerned.
Since the Cotton Bowl win against Oklahoma, it seems like all media attention around your most valuable player has been negative. That’s not the best way to start a season.
However, take this into consideration: the Manning “mooning” incident. In 1996, before Manziel was in grade school, Manning, a future Hall of Fame quarterback, was completing his last season at Tennessee. During his tenure, Manning threw for 11,207 yards and 89 touchdowns, winning 39 of 45 games as a starter.
He was basically the Manziel of his day.
In that last year during a training session, Manning found himself in the hairiest of situations. According to the Denver Broncos QB, he simply pulled down his pants to moon a nearby fellow athlete, and oops—the trainer mistakenly saw.
In "Manning: A Father, His Sons, and a Football Legacy," a book Peyton and Archie Manning co-authored, Manning commented on the event.
"…It seemed like something she’d have laughed at, considering the environment, or shrugged off as harmless. Crude maybe, but harmless."
But former Tennessee assistant trainer Jamie Ann Naughright, who filed a lawsuit, would say otherwise in a deposition. According to Naughright, Manning basically just dropped his pants and sat on her head.
“It was the gluteus maximus, the rectum, the testicles and the area in between the testicles. And all that was on my face when I pushed him up."
Yikes. That's not a pretty picture.
Regardless of whose side you’re inclined to believe, it’s safe to say the 12-time Pro Bowler should have used better judgement.
While Manning has since overcome the event to forge a very successful NFL career, there were a few little hindrances Manning didn’t have in 1996 that Manziel has now.
First, social networking still required interpersonal communication. That’s instead of say, a 14-character tweet broadcast to the masses. Also, people still read newspapers. They didn’t log onto their computers at 4:00 a.m. for live updates on celebrity’s personal lives. Finally, very few people were constantly armed with their very own high quality camera.
It’s naive to think that players like Manning never made silly decisions or mistakes while in college. From the looks of this, his brother Eli sure enjoyed himself, too.
In today’s world, a picture of the mooning incident would’ve been on Twitter in less than an hour and maybe even a video of it on YouTube.
It’s flat-out ridiculous to say Manziel’s production will drop off this season because of photos or videos seen of him on the Internet. Does he drink alcohol? Sure. Given some of his chosen locales, it’s almost certain—but so do 80 percent of college students, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
So look on the bright side: Texas A&M will win 11 games next year and go to a BCS bowl game. As for Manziel: While he couldn't finish duties as a counselor at the Manning Passing Academy, at least no women are accusing him of forcing his naked bottom on their heads.