Reasons Johnny Manziel Is the New Tim Tebow
Before you go flying off the handle about the subject of this slideshow, please note that it’s only addressing what we know about Tim Tebow and Johnny Manziel to this point.
And to this point, they actually have a lot in common.
The success they enjoyed in college and level of celebrity they’ve cultivated off the field make them two of the most unique and highly visible players drafted in the last decade.
Seriously, though, please note this isn't meant to be an indictment of Manziel, who can definitely play, or a dismissal of him as a flash in the pan like Tebow, who definitely can't play. Sorry, Tebow lovers, but you know it's true.
That being said, here are all the reasons Johnny Manziel is the new Tim Tebow.
They're Both Passionately Hated
For every one person who is weirdly dedicated to worshipping these guys—along with the ground they walk on—there’s probably five other people who totally hate them.
Not that those folks are going to come to my rescue or anything, but they’ll probably spend a fair amount of time battling it out with each other in the comments section before walking away smugly, feeling like something was really accomplished.
Even though it wasn’t.
They Both Do Well with the Ladies
We all know Tim Tebow is (or, at the very least, claims to be) a chaste young Christian man. But obviously he’s a virgin by choice, because there’s nothing the ladies love more than something (or someone) they can’t have. Tebow has been linked to all sorts of women via Internet gossip, but he never confirms anything.
Johnny Manziel, on the other hand, is single and more than ready to mingle—no vows of chastity with this one. He’s been linked to a number of different women over the last few years, making it hard to keep up. If Manziel is dating anyone at the moment, it can’t be that serious, otherwise he wouldn’t have gone stag to the draft.
They've Both Got Celebrity Friends
Tim Tebow and Johnny Manziel have a slew of celebrity friends. Tebow has been spotted hanging with Olympian Lindsey Vonn on several occasions, and Manziel is practically engaged to Canadian rapper Drake, who recently wrote a song about him.
They Both Make News Everywhere They Go
Tim Tebow and Johnny Manziel both have the unusual level of celebrity that means nothing aside from their very presence at a given place or event is required to make it a newsworthy occasion.
Wherever they go, they suddenly become the story. Whomever they’re with, they suddenly become famous by extension. Whatever they do, it suddenly becomes the most important thing that has ever been done by anyone...ever.
They're Both Interesting Characters
The son of missionaries, Tebow was born overseas in the Philippines. He was home-schooled by his religious parents, but he was still able to play football for his local high school. Tebow has always had a weird underdog chip on his shoulder, making claims that he was surrounded by nothing but naysayers who said he’d never amount to anything (football-wise).
For some reason, nobody has ever pressed him on the truth—the truth being he was a high school superstar and recruited by a number of top collegiate programs. These weird competing realities are just part of what makes Tebow so compelling.
As for Manziel, apparently he comes from "outlaw bloodlines," according to a number of reports including a recently leaked scouting document from BroBible.com—allegedly from within the Patriots organization. He’s inexplicably confident, loves making a spectacle, courts media attention everywhere he goes and is most comfortable when all eyes are on him.
They’re Both Manning Award Winners
Tim Tebow won the Heisman Trophy as a sophomore in 2007 and followed it up a year later with a Manning Award, which has been presented to the top quarterback in college football since 2004.
Johnny Manziel won the Heisman as a freshman in 2012, the same season in which he earned the Manning Award. Florida State’s Jameis Winston won both in 2013.
They're Both Marketing Machines
Tebow may not have racked up completions or passing touchdowns during his career in the NFL, but he certainly racked up endorsement deals. He’s only been in the league a few days and the same can already be said for Manziel.
In March, Manziel inked a multiyear endorsement deal with industry giant Nike, and he starred in a McDonald’s commercial with Miami Heat superstar LeBron James earlier this year. And from all accounts, this is just the beginning.
They’re Both Heisman Winners
Tebow and Manziel both won the Heisman Trophy, five years apart. Tebow won as a sophomore at Florida in 2007 and Manziel became the first redshirt freshman winner in history in 2012.
Both were decisive victors too, with each garnering above 1,900 votes—which puts them among the highest vote-getters of the last two decades.
They Were Both Heisman Finalists Who Didn't Win
Tim Tebow won the Heisman Trophy in 2007 and was one of the front-runners to win it again in 2008. Ultimately he came in third place behind Texas’ Colt McCoy and Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford, who won. Fewer than 200 points separated first and third place.
After Johnny Manziel won the Heisman as a freshman in 2012, he remained in the front-runner discussion throughout the 2013 season. He finished in a distant fifth place, but it was basically Florida State’s Jameis Winston and then everyone else.
Given Manziel’s offseason high jinks, it seemed as though people were looking for any and every reason not to vote for him last year. Had Winston been disqualified for legal reasons, which was a real consideration for a while, Manziel likely would have benefited the most.
They Were Both Worshipped in College
Manziel may not have delivered a pair of SEC Championships or BCS Championships for Texas A&M like Tebow did for Florida, but he did make them a competitive force to be reckoned with in the conference and easily supplanted Texas as the most buzzed-about college football team in the Lone Star State.
There is already a statue honoring Tebow in Gainesville, and it’s hard to imagine there won’t be one honoring Johnny Football in College Station within the next several years. These guys were kings on and off the field in college. That didn't necessarily carry over into the NFL for Tebow, but very well could for Manziel if he breaks the Cleveland curse.
They Both Immediately Fired Up Fanbases
When Tebow was selected by former Denver coach Josh McDaniels in the first round of the 2010 NFL draft, it came as quite a surprise because the Gators standout wasn’t expected to go so early. But the Broncos were coming off a mediocre 8-8 season and obviously thought they had something.
Tebow ultimately outlasted a very unpopular McDaniels and was quickly embraced by fans, who campaigned like mad to make him the starter in 2011. He even set a record for jersey sales as a rookie quarterback. Tebow was traded away in 2012, but there is no questioning the impact he had in Denver while he was there.
The story of Manziel in Cleveland has yet to be written, but so far there are some obvious similarities. Within days of the draft, his Browns jersey was already a top seller on NFLShop.com, besting Russell Wilson, Peyton Manning and Colin Kaepernick. Season ticket sales in Cleveland have gone through the roof.
The big difference is that it's extremely unlikely that we'll have to wait a full year before Manziel gets the starting nod—no matter what their ridiculous owner has to say about it.
They're Both Polarizing
Tebow and Manziel are definitely both guys who the vast majority of people seem to have very distinct and definitive feelings about.
You either love them or hate them. Good luck trying to find someone who's lukewarm and/or undecided on either of them.
They're Both Loved by LeBron James
A polarizing figure in his own right, Miami Heat superstar LeBron James became friendly with Tim Tebow in early 2012 after he led the Broncos to an unlikely playoff berth and an overtime victory over the Steelers. He publicly praised Tebow and said he related to him.
Months earlier James defended Tebow on Twitter, tweeting: "Tim Tebow will succeed in the NFL. He’s a hard worker, a student of the game, a natural born leader and most of all a WINNER! It takes time and he’ll be nice." How’d that work out? Never mind.
These days James only has eyes for Johnny Manziel. According to The Plain Dealer, LeBron is behind Manziel's "ever-increasing marketing machine." In fact, within hours of the NFL draft, James was spotted wearing a Manziel Browns jersey on an airplane.
They're Both Unflappably Confident
Despite the fact that Tebow hasn’t been in the NFL since 2012 and hasn’t started a legitimate game since 2011, if you ask him now about his future as a quarterback, he’d probably tell you that he’s still confident he can play the position at the professional level. And he wouldn’t be lying.
Manziel is like that too, but in a far less delusional and much more annoying way. Tebow’s confidence was always tempered with all that excessive humility he enjoyed piling on, while Manziel tends to "balance out" his confidence with straight up arrogance.
Which, if we’re being honest, I actually really respect about Manziel. He’s not a phony. When he slid down toward the bottom of the first round of the draft, the disappointment was written all over his face. Yet the moment he was selected by the Browns, I knew he’d walk out doing that obnoxious money thing. Manziel is only confident to a fault if he doesn't win in Cleveland, and that's yet to be seen.