SBD/May 9, 2014/Franchises

Browns Ready To Deal With Media Onslaught, Newfound Attention With Drafting Of Manziel

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Manziel while waiting to be drafted sipped water and attempted to look impassive
The Browns on Thursday night selected QB Johnny Manziel with the 22nd overall pick in the NFL Draft, and they are "well aware of what awaits them in terms of attention and buzz," according to Pat McManamon of ESPN.com. The team within 25 minutes of Manziel's selection had "sold 200 new season tickets and had 300 renewed." A team VP "tweeted that the phones were ringing off the hook." The Browns "admit that while they discuss the best way to handle the hoopla, they also took Manziel as a talented player who has to earn a job" (ESPN.com, 5/8). ESPN's Sal Paolantonio said Browns Exec VP & Chief Revenue Officer Brent Stehlik told him the team has "got an army of young people taking ticket sales. ... Last night from midnight -- nobody went home here -- until 7:00-8:00am, they sold 1200 season tickets after the news hit" ("Sportscenter," ESPN, 5/9). In N.Y., Zach Schonbrun writes the wait for Manziel to be drafted "struck a different and dramatic chord" compared to previous years. Schonbrun: "Perhaps it was because he had come to symbolize a bit of what the NFL draft itself embodies: excessive hype, manufactured suspense and circuitous discourse" (N.Y. TIMES, 5/9). In Charlotte, Tom Sorensen writes Manziel while waiting to be drafted "sipped water and attempted to look impassive" and "he succeeded, too." He "knew the cameras were on him." Sorensen: "I figured there would be a Manziel cam" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 5/9). ESPN's Mark Schlereth said there was "not a person that didn’t go crazy in Radio City Music Hall. Regardless of what your team jersey was ... Everybody stood and cheered when Manziel went" ("Mike & Mike," ESPN Radio, 5/9).

HERE'S JIMMY! In Cleveland, Terry Pluto writes, "We'll never know how much input [Browns Owner] Jimmy Haslam had in this decision." But he "certainly will love the buzz that will follow Manziel, who will be a focus of national media coverage" (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 5/9). Also in Cleveland, Mary Kay Cabot writes Haslam has "been in love with Manziel for months" (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 5/9). ESPN's Adam Schefter said of the Manziel selection, "This really is a Jimmy Haslam pick because Jimmy Haslam ... was his biggest champion" ("NFL Draft," ESPN, 5/8). Browns GM Ray Farmer said of Haslam, "At no point did he try to push, shove or dictate the pace of what we were doing. He definitely added his interest level behind the discussions that were happening. He was allowing us to go to work.” In Akron, Marla Ridenour writes Browns coach Mike Pettine "went through Tebowmania" while with the Jets. He said that the front office will "sit down in the next few days to discuss what needs to be done to cope with the onslaught" of media coverage (OHIO.com, 5/9).

CENTER OF ATTENTION: The PLAIN DEALER's Cabot writes Manziel will bring "instant attention to the Browns" (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 5/9). NFL.com's Chris Wesseling writes, "All it took was one draft pick to transform the Browns' image from a league-wide laughingstock to one of the most intriguing, closely monitored franchises in the league. Where Johnny Football goes, eyeballs, television ratings and crazed fanboy acolytes are sure to follow" (NFL.com, 5/9). ESPN.com's McManamon writes the Browns are "again a story, again worth paying attention to." A team that "needed some kind of boost got it with the selection of Manziel." The "interesting thing will be how the Browns handle the circus that goes with Manziel" (ESPN.com, 5/9). NFL.com's Gregg Rosenthal wrote the Browns have "gone from league laughingstock to one of the most fascinating teams in the NFL." They are in an "unfamiliar position: The trendy team that everyone wants to see on television" (NFL.com, 5/8). "The Dan Patrick Show" producer Paul Pabst tweeted, "NBC should flex Cleveland's opener." Fox Sports' Bruce Feldman added, "Hard Knocks: The Cleveland Browns would be sweet." CBS Sports' Jon Heyman: "The cleveland browns just might have had their best day since jim brown was a player." 

RESISTING THE URGE: In Dallas, David Moore writes of the Cowboys passing on Manziel with the 16th pick, "If anyone needs proof that it’s no longer business as usual at Valley Ranch, Exhibit A came in the first round." Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones "resisted temptation" and the team "went with a much more pedestrian, sound pick" in G Zack Martin. Jones said the Cowboys have a "big commitment" to QB Tony Romo. He added, "There is no way any quarterback comes in here and beats out Tony Romo" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 5/9). NFL.com's Bryan Fisher wrote the Cowboys' pick of Martin was "safe and certainly beefed up an area of weakness for the team, but it was nevertheless an unpopular move, according to the masses on Twitter and in the media" (NFL.com, 5/8). In Ft. Worth, Gil Lebreton writes, "Not very sexy. Not very Jerry Jones-y, either." Drafting Manziel "would have been very much in keeping with the Jones-era Cowboys of old" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 5/9). 
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