Tonight was the first day of the NFL draft, the annual gala that puts a lot of pomp and circumstance around what is essentially an exercise in hope trafficking. So many fans sit glued to their televisions willing their respective teams to make the pick that will finally put them over the top and make them championship contenders. Thirty two fan bases will set their expectations high over the next couple of months that lead to the start of the NFL season. Thirty one fan bases will be disappointed in some shape, way, or form come next February.
Much of the chatter leading to tonight’s big event centered around former Texas A&M star Johnny Manziel. Where would he go in the draft? Which team would pick him? When the Heisman Trophy winner was asked if teams would be sorry for not selecting him, he replied, “I believe they will, personally.” So not only was Manziel playing into the hope trafficking, he was also inflating his ego along the way.
I admire the talent Manziel possesses, and there’s no questioning his competitive spirit. It’s also unarguable that he is a polarizing figure. Fans either love him or hate him. As the draft commenced, there was an avalanche of coverage about Manziel, and as pick after pick passed by, the spotlight on the young superstar seemed to shine brighter (and not in a good way).
When it was all said and done, Manziel slid all the way down to #22 in the first round, and was selected by the Cleveland Browns, the franchise where talented arms go to die (see Colt McCoy, Brady Quinn, Tim Couch, and Eric Zeier). Is it possible Manziel will be a difference maker on a team that has had only two winning seasons in the last fifteen years? It’s possible. Is it likely Manziel will struggle and end up taking his lumps before he makes a splash in the NFL? History says yes.
Either way, the story of tonight’s draft can be summarized with scripture. Johnny Manziel, better known as Johnny Football, the “look at me” kid from a privileged background who lives his life at 100 miles per hour; the kid had no problem propping himself up as the next NFL great. As the night progressed, however, there seemed to be more general managers who didn’t want him as part of their organization than those who did.
We’re reminded: “For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” – Luke 14:11