“With the first pick of the 2014 NFL Draft, the Houston Texans select Johnny Manziel, QB, Oregon, says NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell.” Ok, let me back up. Come on a ride with me as I introduce the possibility that Johnny Football chose to be a Duck instead of an Aggie. Hold on to your internet device, this is going to be fun.
We all now know Johnny Manziel as the current media disaster, party animal and former QB for the struggling Cleveland Browns. What if Johnny’s fortunes were slightly altered if he had kept his commitment to Oregon and Chip Kelly? Let’s explore a world where this is true.
Things That Would Be Different:
Johnny’s eye-catching and electrifying play making ability would have delayed the ascension of current Tennessee Titans starting QB, Marcus Mariota. Frustrated with a lack of early playing time, Mariota would transfer to play for the Washington Huskies.
Washington is not a far-fetched idea, seeing as Mariota has family in Seattle and, after an unofficial visit during recruitment, Mariota was very nearly all-in for the Huskies. I know what you may be thinking, Mariota isn’t that selfish or afraid of competition, nor would Chip Kelly allow Mariota to go to a conference opponent. I disagree. Mark Helfrich, then Oregon Offensive Coordinator and now head coach, was the guy keen on Mariota when he was virtually unknown. With Johnny and Marcus both on-campus and the latter wanting to depart, I think Helfrich would sympathize with Mariota recognizing that he was the one who sold Chip Kelly on him and brought him to Eugene. Such sympathy would’ve yielded the same persuasion that
brought Mariota to Duck-country, away from Duck-country and right to Husky-land. Helfrich would’ve convinced Kelly to let the cool, calm kid from Hawai’i go experience grass of what Mariota might have seen as a slightly greener hue.
A career, while impressive statistically, would not have allowed Mariota enough overall success to win the Heisman and various other Player of the Year caliber awards. Mariota would, however, own virtually every QB record at Washington previously owned by the likes of Neuheisel, Huard, Tuiasosopo and Locker.
Johnny would’ve brought Eugene a national title. The no-hurdle, quick read offense plays to Johnny’s strengths. The Johnny Football moment most know and love, the Alabama game, would’ve come just a bit later in that 2012-13 season for Manziel. Clad in shiny green, yellow and whatever other shade of gray Nike saw fit, Oregon would’ve been national champs, on the back of Jonathan Paul Manziel. That’s right, Johnny Football would’ve strongly aided in halting the ‘Bama repeat and placing the Pac-12 in the national college football forefront. We can’t also forget avenging a championship game 3-point loss to Cam Newton’s Auburn Tigers, one of Alabama’s SEC rivals, and adding a chink to the armor of the SEC dominance in championship games. Perhaps maybe just maybe flipping a crucial recruit or two along the way.