Save Us, Cincinnati: Manziel Mania Would Reach New Heights with Win

Johnny Manziel

Can’t you just see how this is going to play out?

I defend competition-based reality shows. I believe that, given the parameters that yields a winner and loser, there is never a need for anything to be scripted. The drama exists in the competition, therefore, storylines emerge organically.

It has been said by many that “sports are the ultimate reality show.” Sometimes, however, they appear to be even more scripted than their television counterparts.

Imagine the following scenario plays out, then consider the aftermath of such events.

The Cleveland Browns, devoid of a winning season since 2007, keep pace with a treacherous AFC North to the tune of a 7-6 record. The starting quarterback – never fully trusted nor believed to complete the season with his job intact – is largely responsible for the team’s success, but has since been benched due to recent poor performances. Enter the backup quarterback.

Enter Johnny Manziel.

Continuing, the Cleveland Browns host a division-leading Bengals team that refuses to secure the division despite multiple opportunities. The Bengals, inconsistent and unreliable, fail to pull away from the Browns. Somewhere between the first snap and the final play of the game, Johnny Manziel does something – literally, anything – and his team does not lose.

The Browns are 8-6. The Browns are back in the playoff race. The Browns are going to end up in the playoffs.

The media explodes. As do I.

It can’t happen. For the sanity of all who enjoy preparing for Sunday’s slate of football games each week by soaking in the National Football League from various outlets: This. Cannot. Happen.

The Browns must lose. Worse, the Browns must lose and Manziel must play at a level so detrimental to his team, that even his loving army of supporters have to concede that he was one of the responsible parties.

Anything less than this will surely result in torture.

Forget about the moniker ‘Johnny Football’, as ‘Johnny Playoffs’ would adorn T-Shirts and newspaper headlines nationwide, even if the team eventually misses out. It won’t matter to anyone that the destination was never reached, as the journey would be enough to carry the message. After all, momentum is the media’s strongest force.

Sunday’s game – the first in which Johnny Manziel will start – will be the catalyst that either drives or derails this campaign. Even if the Browns lose on Sunday, but win their final two games, the storyline would be largely subdued. Conversely, winning his first game and keeping his team in contention would be enough to tilt the world off its axis.

Armageddon would be preferable.

Save us, Cincinnati.

The Bengals are well-known for broken hearts, and mine stands as one of those with the potential to be shattered, but they owe the entire football-watching world an end to the madness that has yet to begin. Let those devout followers of Manziel assess the quarterback and his team’s likelihood to make the playoffs. Just don’t let it be the story.

After all, the National Football League needs no script. The fear is that this one has already been written.

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Mario Mergola
Mario Mergola is a writer, avid sports fan, former ESPN Radio producer, husband, and father who specializes in finding the hidden gems of the less-explored option. Follow @MarioMergola

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