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August 19, 2014

Eastbound & Browns: Is Johnny Manziel Becoming Kenny Powers?

by Sam Ranard

Every week I become more convinced that Johnny Manziel is the closest thing professional sports will ever have to a real-life Kenny Powers (exception: John Rocker). Manziel’s middle-finger waving episode on Monday night was just one more event in what is now a long list of  Kenny Power-like moves. The two have several similarities.

Kenny Powers is a character from the HBO comedy series, Eastbound & Down. Johnny Manziel is a character from the NFL comedy series the Cleveland Browns. Kenny Powers likes to party. Manziel likes to party. Kenny Powers does not care what anyone thinks about his partying and decision making. Manziel doesn’t care what anyone thinks about his partying and decision making. Kenny Powers gives the finger during games. Manziel gives the finger during games. Johnny Manziel drinks champagne on inflatable swans and talks to stacks of cash as if they were a telephone. Kenny Powers would love nothing more than to drink champagne on a swan and pretend that stacks of cash are cell phones. If Powers and Manziel were to ever meet, they would be best friends.

If you have not seen an episode of Eastbound & Down, I suggest watching this clip (warning: video content includes explicit language), while keeping Manziel in mind. And for all of my fellow Eastbound & Down fans, if Manziel was Kenny Powers, Justin Bieber would be Stevie.

Manziel is a 21-year-old NFL quarterback with a lot of  money, he is going to party. The problem is that Manziel has little regard for keeping his private life private. He does not shy away from the camera, ever, even when taking part in questionable social activities. But it was Monday’s middle finger episode that made me realize how Kenny Powers-like Manziel really is. Despite being criticized by the media, the fans and the Browns’ front office, Manziel still threw his middle finger up on national television. Manziel wasn’t just flicking off the Redskins, he was showing his middle finger to all of his critics, the Browns’ front office and pretty much everyone else.

On the other hand, I have to give Manziel credit. He has managed to once again get his face and name all over national media. He is being talked about on every media outlet in America. Turn on sports radio – Johnny. Turn on a sports news channel – Johnny. Go to any sports website- Johnny. He  has entire blocks dedicated to him on the SportsCenter rundown. Johnny Manziel is everywhere. How many second string quarterbacks draw A-list celebrity attention like Johnny Football does? He is doing something right.

Here he is letting the finger fly…..

 

And here is Manziel being told by the Browns’ head of PR, believe it or not Johnny, the cameras saw you.

His reaction is a little strange. It looks like the same reaction someone would make when they cant find their care keys. It is as if he was under the impression that no one would see him flick off an entire football team. You are the center of the media’s attention, you are a rookie quarterback battling for a starting QB position in the NFL, you are a former Heisman winner and first round draft pick playing in a Monday Night Football game – why on earth do you look surprised that you got caught?

In his post game interview, Manziel commented on the middle finger ordeal. While he didn’t use obscene language or derogatory marks in his comments, his answer was fairly on par with how I imagine Kenny Powers would answer.

“I felt like I did a good job of holding my composure throughout the night, and you have a lapse of judgment and slip up,” Manziel said.  If waving your middle finger at the opposing team is keeping your composure, I would hate to see what happens if Manziel lost his composure.  Manziel implies that he raised his middle finger out of frustration from being hassled by the opposing teams for the, “(entire) game, every game, week after week.” Every game? Week after week? It is the SECOND week of the preseason! What is this guy going to do in week 14 of the regular season?

“I should have been smarter. It’s a Monday Night Football game” said Manziel, “I mean the cameras were probably solidly on me, so I just need to be smarter about that.” To me, this statement sounds like he is not disappointed in himself for using an offensive gesture, he is disappointed in himself for not being smart enough to avoid getting caught. You know who would tell the media, “I should have been smarter and I am only sorry that I got caught” ? Kenny Powers.
Let’s just hope that in his second season, Manziel doesnt go to Mexico to play football.

Money….Manziel…

Just in case you have forgotten here are a few pics taken straight from the Manziel Family Photo Album:

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When Manziel was asked what he thought about all of the negative media his actions have attracted, Manziel released the following video (not really, but still).

Damnit, Johnny, B. Goode!

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