Johnny Football Is Dead. Long Live Johnny Manziel, Backup Quarterback.

Fare thee well, Johnny F—ing Football, Ye Caster of Money Signs and Subject of Many and Enduring Instagram Portraits of a Young Man Partying His Way Through the College Towns of Texas, Boy Hero of College Station and Humiliator of Saban, and Friend and Ally of Drake. In your stead stands only Johnny Manziel, the backup quarterback to 35-year-old journeyman Josh McCown, of the Cleveland Browns. 

That’s the takeaway of an impromptu press conference Manziel gave this afternoon following organized team activities with the Browns. Manzielwhose Johnny Football persona has led to both amazing moments, when the player on the field lived up to the hype, and great disappointment, when he stank as bad as he did in the handful of games he played in his rookie seasoncame out mature, focused, and reflective in describing his perspective on the game. 

Gang Land

In late May, two weeks after the furious gun battle at the Twin Peaks in Waco between the members of the Bandidos and the Cossacks, I drove to the Williams Funeral Home in Garland, a suburb of Dallas, where a service was being held for forty-year-old Manuel “Candyman” Rodriguez, the sole Bandido to die in the shoot-out. Bandidos had arrived from all over the country. They greeted one another in their traditional way, with bear hugs and kisses on the lips.

Roar of the Crowd

When we debuted our June cover on Facebook, likes and shares swiftly climbed into the thousands, and the comments thread filled with some four hundred nostalgia-laden posts. (“Saw this movie before my husband and I married and listened to the eight-track our entire honeymoon.” “Watched them film a parking lot scene from the back of my mom’s truck when I was seven. When people ask me where I’m from, I say, ‘Have you seen Urban Cowboy? I’m from there.” “OMG!!!


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