Johnny Football, Oregon Culture, and an Era Lost

“Whatever is the natural propensity of a person is hard to overcome. If a dog were to be made king, he would still gnaw at his shoelaces.” The Hitopadesha

Although he is in the process of doing it incrementally, I certainly hope that Johnny Manziel will not confirm his father’s fear and commit suicide in one fell swoop. New Age folk will, of course, say that poor Johnny Football needs help. The poor child is addicted to x, y and z AND IT’S NOT HIS FAULT!

As an unabashed, unashamed and unapologetic Old School Guy, I am calling male bovine excrement on this undeserved sympathy. And I’d like to point out that the most widely read book in the history of our species, the Bible, has stated it quite clearly and succinctly for thousands of years: YOU REAP WHAT YOU SOW.

Johnny giving the "money" sign.

From Video

Johnny giving the “money” sign.

I recognize that referring back to old school civility and discipline is largely a useless exercise in a world where everyone gets a trophy no matter how badly they perform and criticizing Johnny, Jamal or Keyshawn may injure the poor child’s self esteem. Nevertheless, I can assure you that if any of my teammates had tried to show off and show up our opponent by flashing the Johnny Manziel ’cash money’ sign or otherwise we, his own brothers, would have beaten the whey out of him.

We fought our asses off but we also believed in something called ‘sportsmanship.’ Your opponent deserved respect and the team mattered and not an individual, no matter how much an impact he had on a game’s outcome. There was a time when we did not countenance ‘trash talking’ and ‘in your face’ behavior. A time when people were actually civil to one another and where people actually had to look someone in the face to disparage them, not hide behind a keyboard.

As an old school guy I always try to follow the teaching of the great Martin Luther King Jr. To judge a person based upon character and not his or her color, sex, religious belief, etc. So I do not care what color you are, stop the damn chirping, trash talking, ill mannered, ignorant, show off behavior. Play the game between the lines and not with your mouth. Play the game to win and not to self aggrandize and humiliate. Be humble in victory and gracious in defeat.

Manziel's downfall ...

From Video

Manziel’s downfall …

I am 69 years of age and obviously things are different today than when I was growing up under the pervasive fear of the Soviet Menace. Our fathers, for the most part, were combat veterans. Our mothers had undoubtedly lost a sibling, relation or close friend in WWII combat. We spent all day outdoors with some kind of ball or hockey puck in play. When you came home with a boo-boo, Mom most certainly was not going to go boo-hoo and run you off to the emergency room or look around for someone to sue.

Believe it or not, accidents actually happened back then. It certainly was not all good. It was not a good time for people of color and it was not a good time for females who wanted to be involved in football without having to wear a short skirt and jump around on the sidelines. And I further caveat the following by saying that I was not an all-award-winning parent. But where in the hell was Johnny Football’s father and mother? Where in the hell were his high school coaches? Because the self-absorbed, me-first conduct of John Manziel does not happen overnight.

Where was the so-called ‘great coach’ Kevin Sumlin? A guy who won big in Year 1 at TAM with Mike Sherman’s recruits and a lightning in the bottle QB by the name of John Manziel. A guy whose team has steadily declined year after year. A guy who seems lost since his O coordinator Cliff Kingsbury took off for Texas Tech. A guy who cannot coach up 4- and 5-star QBs and other kids he has enticed to come to A+M. A guy who will accept aberrant behavior so long as it leads the way to the ATM.

No, this is not a Duck.

From Video

No, Johnny is not on a Duck.

Most importantly, I cannot imagine Johnny Football blowing by Chip Kelly on his way to the bench after a turnover and not having his rear end nailed to the bench. As a matter of fact, I am inclined to believe the hearsay that says early on Chip knew that Manziel was a self-entitled jerk and he was politely asked by Kelly to go elsewhere.

Whether or not he came through as a football player, Marcus Mariota was bound to succeed in one form or another. Why? Because of the manner in which he was raised to be a competitor who treated people with humility and respect. A person far more interested in the success of his team than in promoting himself.

Like targeting, unsportsmanlike conduct should lead to a game ejection and missing the entirety of the next game whether the penalty comes as the result of physical or verbal misconduct. What in the hell does trash talking have to do with the game of football?


Top Photo from Cleveland Browns Video


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Jon Joseph

Jon Joseph

Jon Joseph grew up in Boston, Massachusetts but has been blessed to have lived long enough in the west to have exorcised all east coast bias. He played football in college and has passionately followed the game for seven decades. A retired corporate attorney Jon has lectured across the country and published numerous articles on banking and gaming law. Now resident in central Oregon Jon follows college football across the nation with a focus on the Conference of Champions and the Ducks.

  • ednadmin

    Well said!

    • Michael Oaks

      I sure do agree that Manziel can’t walk the walk but there is something in him that say’s the hell with it! I’m going to trash talk anyway! That’s what turns people off. You just don’t rum poo in someone’s face when your football life is in the pooper! When it’s clear up to your chin the only sane thing to say is “Don’t make waves!”

  • Anthony Clifton

    I don’t know. Trash talking has been around longer than many people think. Long before Muhammad Ali. And I think it can be in good fun.

    I don’t think that Manziel’s personal problems stem from him deciding to trash talk as half the population of college and professional sports trash talk also. The problem for him is that he doesn’t back up the talk and makes other bone-headed mistakes. It just looks stupid to trash talk when you have a giant stack of public embarrassments your opponents can point to and laugh about.

    If you talk the talk, you better walk the walk.

  • Anthony Joseph Gomes

    the law allows a worker who is having various sorts of problems to take time off and check him/her self into a certified program but johnny football has already done that once. my god…how often is a person allowed to do that? when is any work suppose to get done? dumb law.

  • FishDuck

    I wanted to stand up and applaud….

  • FishDuck

    A comment from the Grizzled Ol’ Coach Mike Morris…

    What a wonderfully refreshing, very intelligent article.

    When I coached high school football — from 1962 to ’91 (how’s that for old school?) — I told our players that their NUMBER ONE GOAL was to make our opponents and their fans ADMIRE us. To wish they played on our team. Because we were the hardest-hitting, most precise-executing, most gentlemanly-acting football team they’d ever seen.

    Before every game, our players had to cross the field and shake hands with our opponents — actually SHAKE HANDS, no little bullshit hand slaps with no eye contact or sincerity. This ritual was ALWAYS rewarded by enthusiastic, loud applause by our opponents’ fans. “Example is the best teacher.”

    Our players were taught to always help up the opponents’ ball carriers — after they’d gang-tackled them hard enough to loosen their teeth. Any trash talking or obnoxious behavior by our players was immediately answered by a trip to the bench, and extra conditioning the following week. “They’re our ‘opponents’ NOT our ‘enemies.’ ”

    In film sessions, I’d always point out examples of obnoxious behavior. After the games, our locker room and bus must be left in immaculate condition, and the bus driver sincerely thanked. (So that the custodians and bus drivers also admired us)

    This was simply teaching the Golden Rule. How our players conducted themselves could enhance their self-respect even if we lost the game.



    Great stuff Jon and I have no tolerance for Manziel. I already said he’d be a bust in the NFL and for the most part he has. Mariotta and thank goodness we got this young high moral high standard respectful Human being. Yes parenting is very important to young people and unfortunately Reaganomics has forced both perents to go to work with no Mother at Home to help nurture these young people these days. Also this is a prevelent problem with these kids now. They all think their OWED something and their not. Its too bad stupid people have gotten in the way of letting parents discipline their children with a good Belt on the behind.