Tag Archives: Johnny Manziel

Leicester City: The Greatest Sports Story. Ever.

 

By Nate Flax

As the clock hit the 96th minute of the Tottenham – Chelsea match, the entire soccer world realized that the greatest underdog story in sport history had concluded. After trailing 2-0 at halftime, Chelsea came back to draw with the second place Tottenham Hotspur, thanks to a brilliant 80th minute equalizer by Chelsea’s Eden Hazard. As the final whistle blew to end the heated London Derby, Tottenham’s title hopes were dashed and for the second year in a row, a new Premier League champion was decided at Stamford Bridge. However, this time it wasn’t one of England’s heavyweight contenders, but instead a club that had been written off before the season even started.

Leicester City

Located right in the heart of England, world-famous clubs, always surrounded Leicester with Manchester just to the North and London to the South, but until this year, very few that did not follow the BPL closely even knew a soccer club existed there, even though the team was founded in 1884 (132 years ago). The Leicester City Foxes were simply insignificant, finishing at the bottom of the table the year before and had only received promotion into England’s top league the year before that. They entered the season 5000-1 odds to win the title this year and featured a team that had cost just £80 million to put together (to put in perspective Manchester City spent £80 million on one transfer alone earlier in the year). Billy Beane’s Moneyball scheme wouldn’t stand a chance against this. Other recent previous 5000-1 odds as explained by ESPN’s Paul Carr included 16-year-old Paul Chaplet’s chances at this year’s Masters (where he shot 21 over par and finished dead last) and the Minnesota Timberwolves’ chances to make the playoffs with a month left in the season and their record sitting at 14-35. The odds for Elvis Presley being found alive were also 5000-1.

Being written off before the season even started, Leicester really had no chance of failing any expectations given to them, quite frankly because there were no expectations to start with. But that’s when everything clicked. Led by Riyad Mahrez, Danny Drinkwater, Jamie Vardy, and seasoned manager Claudio Ranieri, the Foxes outdid themselves by continuing to be that pesky opponent that just wouldn’t give up even though they seemingly had no business competing with powerhouses like Manchester City, Manchester United, Arsenal, and Chelsea. Yet somehow, with Chelsea holding Tottenham to a draw, Leicester City sat seven points clear on top of the table with just two games to play, making it impossible for anyone to catch them, and crowning them the kings of England. With the third smallest budget in the Premier League, the Foxes became the first team not named Manchester City, Manchester United, Arsenal, or Chelsea in 21 years to win the title, and just the sixth to win out of 48 that have tried since 1992. After a season that proved that money can’t always guarantee a crown, Leicester City concluded the fairy tale of a season that underdogs could previously only dream of.

No ‘Hard Knocks’ in Cleveland: Browns make their Best Off-Season Move Yet

By Kaleb Page

March 25, 2015

The NFL off-season has been in full swing with many moves between teams, players and even coaches. When a move is made by the Cleveland Browns, the avid fan base is all over it to let their thoughts be heard.

This Tuesday the organization made arguably its best move of the season and it didn’t even involve a player, coach or even draft picks.

All eyes are on the Browns and more than likely to see what they will mess up this time. This move by the organization tops the moves to add Dwayne Bowe, Brian Hartline, etc.

The Cleveland Browns have officially declined taking part in the acclaimed NFL series ‘Hard Knocks.’ The series, which chronicles the journey of a team from the beginning of training camp until the start of the season, needs a team for this upcoming NFL year. This series has had many memorable seasons like ones with the Jets and Bengals, and being on the inside of the Browns would have set up some must see television.

Especially how the dynamic is between Johnny Manziel and the coaching staff seems way off. From an outsiders view it seems nowhere near what you would expect for someone who was drafted by the organization in the first round. I think it would have been another opportunity for those watching just to go ‘that’s typical browns’ or further provide proof that it is truly ‘the factory of sadness.’

I do think it is in the best interest of the team to decline this sort of thing. Take into account the quarterback issue the team has, the holes the team has across the board and even executives in the organization with their comments; this distraction of television cameras is definitely not needed right now.

Head coach Mike Pettine has had experience with the show as an assistant with the Jets. He made it a point (in an interview on ESPN) that a big factor in him saying ‘no’ to this was the Manziel factor.

“When we decided not to volunteer for ‘Hard Knocks,’ we discussed everything that was involved with it. [Manziel] is certainly something we needed to consider.” – Mike Pettine, Browns Head Coach

I find it interesting how the organization really puts Manziel out as the problem or even the key factor for mishaps. Yes I know Manziel has had his problems and as a young guy growing up as a fast track star, definitely needs to shape up, but there comes a time when the organization just needs to stop the underlying narrative of ‘blame it on Johnny.’

Bravo Browns, you made your best move of the off-season by staying away from the spectacle that is ‘Hard Knocks.’

Can we just not ruin your good move by throwing someone under the bus though?…Please?

 

Marvin Lewis hurts more than just Johnny Manziel

By Alex O’Connor

On Monday in an interview with Lance McAlister of 700 WLW in Cincinnati, Bengals coach Marvin Lewis called Cleveland Browns QB Johnny Manziel a “midget” when referring to the uncertainty of who will be at quarterback for the Browns and the potential game plans that the defense will try to plan for. When Lewis first apologized on Tuesday, he cited that he was sorry to the Browns fans, employees as well as Johnny Manziel. However, he neglected to mention the fact that the word “midget” has a universal effect on society that expands much further than Manziel and the Browns organization. Today, Lewis apologized for the second time, citing “I’m aware that my comment on local radio last night was offensive to people of short stature and to their families and friends.” The second apology was submitted via the Bengals Twitter account, showing an additional insincere gesture on behalf of both parties. Lewis essentially had to “right is wrong” twice, and had to do it both times in the public eye.

Several media and outside organizations have heavily criticized Lewis’ comments as well the manner in which he apologized. The Little People of America is just one example of a group that finds the word offensive and alienating. The Little People of America is an organization that provides support to individuals of short stature and commented that the word has several negative connotations and is often used as an insult. In addition, NBCSports.com has received numerous Bengals fans’ messages regarding the comments made by Lewis. They take aim at the coach, noting that “It’s straight wrong, unmoral, and ignorant” as well as, “I’m a fan of the Bengals, but Marvin just left the most disgusting taste in my mouth.” The general consensus at NBC Sports is that the “m-word is a word that all of us should remove from our vocabularies.”

I understand that coaches can sometimes over-exaggerate their point in the heat of the moment. However, the way Lewis and the Bengals used social media to convey their second apology was not right. First off, only one apology was necessary, and they simply messed it up the first time. National media had the right to critique the statement and ultimately put pressure on Lewis and the organization to make another one. The Little People of America also had the right to emphasize that the Browns and Manziel are not the only ones being effected by Lewis’ comments. The second time should have been conveyed through a communication medium other than social media. The entire situation that has unfolded has also indirectly heightened the intensity of the game on Sunday. Lewis and the Bengals handled the situation poorly, and now have to deal with the media and organizational scrutiny that they are receiving.

Johnny Manziel Makes His Grand Entrance to the Stage

By Ellen Chlumecky

As soon as the decision to keep Brian Hoyer on as quarterback for the Cleveland Browns’ playoff run, things quickly changed. The argument that coach Mike Pettine had made for Hoyer seemed so sound, however, he clearly changed his mind quickly after their last game with Hoyer as quarterback. Mike Pettine announced Tuesday afternoon that Johnny Manziel will make his first career start this weekend against the Cincinnati Bengals.

While Pettine made an argument for Hoyer before last weekend’s game, he has turned around and said his decision was not based on Johnny Manziel or Brian Hoyer. Pettine said his decisions and the decisions of his staff are always made me in the best interest of the team. While Pettine expressed that Hoyer did everything he was asked of and followed through on all of these duties professionally, he clearly stated that they are trying to get their offense to perform at a higher level.

Pettine said that Johnny Manziel has been working very hard to earn this opportunity and said it will be very important for every member of the offense to elevate their play for us to obtain their desired result.

While I understand that coaches change their mind about players all the time, it is puzzling to me why Pettine seemed so dead set on Hoyer last weekend but now wants to put Manziel in. I’m well aware that Hoyer did not play his best on Sunday, Pettine built him up to have been a key aspect in their success this year thus far. He made it clear that he wanted Hoyer as quarterback during their playoff run because Manziel was still maturing as a player and did not seem ready for this type of game. However on Monday, Pettine made a statement saying that he was leaning toward a quarterback change during his news conference after Hoyer struggled in a loss to the Indianapolis Colts.

While I understand changing out the inconsistent Hoyer for Manziel, I don’t understand why Pettine would build Hoyer up then pulling the rug out from under him. Manziel will be facing the same pressure that Hoyer had to go through. In addition, this will be Manziel’s first career start, making the pressure even higher. While it was no surprise to fans that the switch was made, I don’t think the way Pettine approached the situation was in his best interest.

I don’t know if Manziel is ready for this type of pressure but I certainly know he has the talent to play well against the Bengals. We will see on Sunday if Pettine’s decision to put the hands of their season of Manziel was the right one.

Media Weighs in on Cleveland Browns Starting Quarterback Position

By Nick Muhl

Late in the fourth quarter of the Cleveland Browns game Sunday versus the Buffalo Bills, starting Browns quarterback Brian Hoyer was benched for the rookie Johnny Manziel. The highly awaited move by Browns head coach Mike Pettine was loudly cheered for as Mr. “Money” Manziel stepped on the field. Manziel did lead the Browns on their single touchdown-scoring drive of the day, capped off by a Johnny Manziel rushing touchdown. Following the 26-10 loss, the Browns coach did not make a decision on who the starting quarterback would be the next week for the Browns versus the Indianapolis Colts.

In his past three games, Hoyer has thrown one touchdown and six interceptions. The Browns have lost two of their   last three games. Despite his slow streak in the past three games, Hoyer still has the Browns at a 7-5 record and facing their best chance to win the AFC North and capture a playoff spot in many seasons. However Hoyer still faces losing his starting position to the former Texas A&M heisman trophy winner.

Hoyer had this to say about his starting position on Monday in a post-practice interview, “You don’t get to 7-5 in the NFL just lucking into it,” Hoyer said. “It’s been a lot of hard work, and I think I’ve proven that I’ve gotten us to this point. I feel like I can carry us through the next four games.”

The Cleveland Browns traded up in the first round of this past year’s draft to select Johnny Manziel with the intention of him one day being the starting quarterback for the franchise. However, is the time now? Up until this point Pettine has remained firm in his position that the veteran Hoyer gives the Browns the best chance to win.

There is no denying Johnny Manziel’s popularity, following the NFL draft Manziel remained the number one NFL selling jersey for many months. His level of popularity has already put pressure by the media on the Browns franchise to answer the question, when will Johnny become the starting quarterback for the Browns?

After benching Hoyer this past Sunday, the media pressure has reached an all-time high. According to Washington Post writer Mark Maske, there is no turning back now for the Cleveland Browns franchise,

“The Browns invested plenty of hope in Manziel when they drafted him, and now it should be time to find out whether he can deliver. It’s the way of the NFL. Once a team turns to its young, would-be franchise quarterback, it generally stays with him until he demonstrates whether or not he can play. It would be extremely difficult to go back to Hoyer now.”

The Washington Post wasn’t the only paper to publish articles urging that now is the time for Johnny Manziel to be given the job. The Cleveland Plain Dealer, Chicago Tribune, ESPN blog writers and many more all weighed in this week on the largest new story in the NFL at the moment. An overwhelming majority appealing to Pettine to give the headline grabbing rookie a chance this week against Andrew Luck.

The Browns franchise has faced many obstacles in its search for its first Super Bowl and a franchise quarterback. Tim Couch, Brady Quinn, and Colt McCoy are just a few high draft picks the Browns have used over the past 15 seasons in hopes of finding a franchise quarterback who could lead them to victory and capture an AFC North title. It remains to be seen if Manziel will be given the chance this week against Indianapolis. 

The Old vs. the New: Hoyer or Manziel?

By Ellen Chlumecky

After a two-day debate on which quarterback for the Browns would be playing on Sunday, coach Mike Pettine finally made his decision today. Pettine announced that Brian Hoyer will continue his 13th straight game as the quarterback against the Indianapolis Colts. While the decision was tough, it seems like the majority of Browns’ fans still aren’t pleased. Who would think that there would be so much controversy over who the starting quarterback would be for the Cleveland Browns?

Cleveland Browns fans, that’s who. As soon as Manziel was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the 2014 NFL Draft. So many fans thought Manziel was going to be used immediately when he joined the team. The majority of Browns’ fans worshiped the ground Manziel walked on and were highly upset when Pettine picked Hoyer over Manziel for this Sunday.

Everyone seemed to have their own opinion. Some people agree and some people think that Pettine made a huge mistake. Sports writer Pat McManamon said that the Browns are making the logical move by choosing Hoyer over Manziel. He believes that this is just a chance for Hoyer to show Pettine he made the right decision. While write Field Yates, another ESPN writer, believes that the Browns would have been better off picking Manziel to start over Hoyer.

While Pettine has explained his reasoning, he is receiving the heat for this decision from all the Manziel fans out there. However at the end of the day, Pettine has expressed on several occasions that as a rookie, Manziel still is quite unpredictable. While they are still monitoring his progress, he is still a question mark in whether or not he’ll start. Throwing a rookie in a playoff push would give any intelligent coach hesitance. However, still contrary to the coach’s opinion, Manziel fans are pushing for him relentlessly.

Since the Browns are finally in a playoff push, fans are freaking out. While Manziel may seem like the all star, Hoyer is a veteran who has been part of their success and shown their ability to bounce back. Pettine was not swayed by the fans’ complaints. Pettine knows that Manziel has the talent but it is not where it needs to be right now. While the Browns’ fans are going to complain till the cows come home about every move not involving Manziel, Pettine is going to stand firm with his decision on Hoyer. It shouldn’t make or break the team because they do not have a quarterback-centric offense. But at the end of the day when it comes to a decision about Manziel, everything has to be a big production.

 

Cleveland’s Quarterback Dilemma

By Savannah Malnar

Johnny “Money” Manziel may have been the most hyped rookie coming to play in the NFL this season. The college star was drafted by the Cleveland Browns, and immediately there was speculation as to if he would start over last year’s starter Brian Hoyer. Despite the rumors, Manziel only saw the field once (on a trick play to catch a pass from Hoyer) until last Sunday. The Browns were down 20-3 to the Buffalo Bills, and Cleveland coach Mike Pettine had enough of Hoyer and gave Manziel the field with about 12 minutes left in the game. Manziel promptly drove the Browns down the field and ran in a 10-yard, marking the first rushing touchdown for Cleveland in four years.

The Browns still ended up falling to the Bills 26-10, but that didn’t stop the rush of people again calling for Manziel to start for the remainder of the year. Cleveland fans seemed to all be on the same side; the team should no longer be Hoyer’s.

Local and national media humanized the event a little more, highlighting Hoyer’s disappointment in being pulled. Hoyer spoke with reporters post-game, and the most common quote in each media account of the event is, “So I think you guys know from before, I’m never going to just hang my head and feel sorry for myself. We have four games left and whatever coach decides to do, I’ll be here to support this team and obviously I feel like this is my team and this is my job so we’ll see what happens moving forward.” Hoyer still believes the starting position should be his, especially after the strong start the team showcased early in the season.

One Browns beat writer, Mary Kay Cabot, focused on Manziel instead. Her article discussed his gratitude for the chance to play and also his humility and acknowledgement that he couldn’t have performed as well without the veterans on the Browns offense. Manziel felt lucky that his one fumble got overturned as an incomplete pass despite his opinion that his arm had not moved forward yet.

Cabot and most other sports writers seem to be under the same impression: Manziel is going to get his chance to start soon, if not in Week 14.