Texas A&M Football: Why Negative Press Is Good for Johnny Manziel and the Aggies

Michael TaglientiFeatured ColumnistAugust 6, 2013

COLLEGE STATION, TX - APRIL 13:  Texas A&M Aggies quarterback Johnny Manziel #2 looks to pass during the Maroon & White spring football game at Kyle Field on April 13, 2013 in College Station, Texas.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

When the Texas A&M football team started practice on August 5, it ended an offseason of unprecedented media coverage of all things Aggie. The increase in publicity for quarterback Johnny Manziel and the Aggies are a positive for the program on and off the field.

When Manziel became the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy, he became an instant celebrity. His every move off the field was dissected by major media outlets.

If he attended a basketball game it made national headlines. When he had a successful trip to an Oklahoma casino, everyone heard about it. 

Manziel is probably the most covered collegiate athlete of all time. He is followed by more than 450,000 people on twitter. To put that in perspective, Manziel has more followers than the Southeastern Conference, Braxton Miller and the Vatican combined. 

Along with the increased attention has come increased scrutiny. Manziel is not allowed to act like a typical college student. If he goes to a fraternity party or leaves a football camp early, he is roundly criticized. 

All of the attention will benefit Manziel and by proxy the A&M program. 

Manziel Needs the Challenge


Manziel is the type of athlete who thrives on being told he cannot do something. He is a competitor who needs that challenge to be present in order to perform at his pique. 

Coming out of high school, Manziel was thought by many to be too small to play quarterback in college. Florida coach Will Muschamp quipped that he was recruited by Texas to play safety.  

He was only ranked as a 3-star recruit coming out of high school. Despite winning an award as the national high school player of the year in football, he was not nationally ranked as a recruit. 

Manziel used the doubters as fuel for his record-breaking freshman season. He proved that you do not need to have prototype size to dominate at the college level. 

When some expressed doubt about how Manziel would perform in the Cotton Bowl after a month on the awards banquet circuit, he responded by setting a record for rushing yards in a bowl game. 

Manziel has repeatedly shown that he is up to whatever challenge he faces. He is one of the rare athletes that thrives on pressure situations. 

The more important the game, and bigger the situation, the better he performs. Manziel is the straw that stirs the drink of the A&M offense. If he performs well, then the football team is going to win ballgames. 

All Publicity If Good Publicity


Every time Manziel is mentioned in the news, the Texas A&M football program is also mentioned. That leads to a level of publicity and extension of the Aggie brand that cannot be financially quantified. 

In 2012, the Texas A&M football program was a minor player at the SEC Media Days. In 2013, Manziel was the star of the SEC Media Days. He was interviewed on ESPN in a national broadcast. 

Manziel has proven that you can win national awards at Texas A&M. He has helped shine the national spotlight on the A&M program in a way that has never happened before. 

Texas A&M will receive multiple benefits from this media coverage. On the field, the negative coverage will likely push Manziel's play up a notch and lead to more wins. 

Off the field, the increased national exposure means that more recruits from across the country will be exposed to the Aggie football program. High school football players notice when your program is leading off SportsCenter. 

The now know that you can go to A&M and win a Heisman Trophy and compete at the highest levels of college football. That was not the case in 2011. 

Some Aggie fans may grow tired of the constant media barrage of all things "Johnny Football." In the end, the coverage both positive and negative is a good thing for the Texas A&M program.