Johnny Be Good? Manziel's Potential As The NFL's Next Superstar Endorser Debated
Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel officially turned pro yesterday after hiring Select Sports Group for contract representation and LRMR for marketing deals, and with a "marketing engine ... already pretty strong" with the "Johnny Football" nickname, it is worth wondering what level they can "take him to," according to ESPN's Jemele Hill. Hill called it a "curious move" for Manziel to hire Maverick Carter's marketing agency, though it is easy to "connect the dots." Hill: "Johnny Manziel on his post-Heisman path ... befriended Drake, who's down with LeBron's clique. You can follow the chain there. But I'm just wondering why? It just strikes me as somebody trying to stay at the cool kids' table." ESPN's Michael Smith: "The ultimate marketing agent is winning. ... I don’t like you hiring a marketing firm because I would like to see 'Johnny Football' focus on the second part of that nickname and be all about football, especially as he enters the league" ("Numbers Never Lie," ESPN2, 1/8). However, PRO FOOTBALL TALK's Mike Florio said, "There aren’t a lot of guys in the NFL who can make a lot of money off the field. Manziel could end up being one of those guys” (PROFOOTBALLTALK.com, 1/8). Meanwhile, with Manziel, a Texas native, entering the NFL, ESPN’s Ed Werder said, “Jerry Jones, the great marketer, can just imagine how many Cowboys jerseys he would sell with this guy on the big stage in 'Jerry World'” (“NFL Insiders,” ESPN, 1/8).
LEAVING HIS MARK IN COLLEGE STATION: TexAgs.com's Billy Liucci said what Manziel means for the future of Texas A&M "is even bigger than right now." ESPN's Chris Cotter noted Texas A&M "reaped the benefits off the field" last year from Manziel's presence with the school receiving more in donations than the three previous years combined and almost $300M more than the Univ. of Texas received in '13 ("College Football Live," ESPN2, 1/8). In Texas, Aubrey Bloom notes Manziel was A&M's "first true celebrity player" and became a "figure in popular culture unlike any A&M player before him" (Bryan-College Station EAGLE, 1/9).