Has Elvis Gone to Cleveland?
~ Amy Lignor
Okay. Elvis Presley is still ‘it’ after all these decades. The term: “Elvis has left the building,” is still used. Oddly enough, Elvis and his career, his dancing technique, his hotness, his extreme talent and voice that could woo basically dead women from their grave – it all was delectable, and is still being talked about by new generations who you wouldn’t even think would know what ‘Jailhouse Rock’ was, let alone be able to sing it.
However, Elvis still reigns. He was the leather-jacketed stunner, and the only person who could ever make a jumpsuit look good. So, why talk about Elvis in a sports article? Simple. During the draft – and almost every day leading up to it – it seemed that one player was Elvis reincarnated. And Johnny Manziel – AKA Johnny Football – seems to have stepped into the role perfectly.
Thursday night of the draft; in other words, very early on at Radio City Music Hall, Johnny Manziel, QB, became a Cleveland Brown. Not only is Cleveland jumping up and down for joy, hoping that Elvis will skyrocket their team to fame and fortune, but the kid himself seemed more than happy to take on such a difficult mission.
Johnny Football was as blatantly cool, calm and collected for his first on-camera interview as anyone could be. But, he also made sure before dealing with the huge crowd of media to send out a wink – perhaps to the fans, his family, or perhaps just to the whole world to let them know that he was ‘it’ and he was not only devilishly cool, but he was taking the next step on his road to Elvis superstardom.
Let’s be honest, it didn’t take very long. Although some people do not understand why old Johnny did not go first, others knew exactly why. They were a tad bit worried that perhaps an ego was lurking inside the young man that was larger than life. They weren’t quite sure if they could mold him, let alone even speak to him unless they screamed like fans outside the gates of Graceland.
Two hours it took. Twenty-one names were called before Johnny Football stepped into the NFL spotlight. Central Florida quarterback Blake Bortles went far ahead of him at number three, now heading to Jacksonville to see what on earth he can do there. In addition, two of Johnny’s college teammates were drafted before the new Elvis. It seemed that Manziel even thought he was going to be a Cowboy – a new Troy Aikman (and a much louder one) – that would bring the Lombardi trophy back to Dallas. It was not a shock to the rest of the world that the Cowboys passed, considering Jerry Jones is the only star on that team and he wants no one standing in his way. (Remember Jimmy Johnson?)
But the Texas A&M quarterback’s NFL future is an exciting one with the Browns. The media will be in Cleveland, where they rarely go, just to keep this minx in the spotlight. And the fans out there, especially the young females who don’t even like football, or desire to take a trip to Cleveland, will surround Johnny just to see if he will be the new cardboard cutout they can take to the prom. (Sorry, Tebow. It was fun while it lasted).
Now, the Eagles wanted old Johnny, but the Browns swooped in leaving Philadelphia fans miffed because Elvis was not coming to their town.
Yes, there are now Johnny Cleveland t-shirts in that bright orange color you can’t miss. “Johnny! Johnny!” was chanted, as if he was about to slip into that leather jacket and sing ‘Hound Dog’ just for the fans benefit. All Commissioner Roger Goodell had to say basically was ‘Man’ before the entire Radio City Music Hall erupted like Elvis had walked onstage to perform.
The Lone Star State was history; the green of the Eagles is not a part of the wardrobe. What Johnny Football has donned is his new Browns hat and helmet pin affixed to his lapel.
This is a team that has seen the playoffs only once in the past 15 years, and whether or not Johnny can shine the light on them and bring them glory remains to be seen. But most are already stating, from the winks to the ‘cash-rub’ gesture he once again made that brought a bit of anger and negativity from the NFL when he made it last fall, that Johnny Football is a con, not a pro, for a team. We shall see.
Has Elvis been reborn on the gridiron? Frankly, I doubt it. The King of Rock-and-Roll is a title that will be held forever by Presley, but the title of Super Bowl winning QB is held by many, and this kid will need to seriously prove he can play with those big boys and win it all.
Johnny Football will certainly be fun to watch swim. If he sinks, however, his charm will not help him one little bit.