Why Johnny Manziel Needs Rob Gronkowski
Rob Gronkoswki and Johnny Manziel are two of the NFL's biggest party animals. We only really hear negative things about one of those names, though. Johnny Football takes the crown for the media's favorite punching bag. So why is it okay for Gronk to "yo soy fiesta," but not Johnny Manziel?
Gronk can be found spiking footballs, flowers, and birthday cakes anywhere from New England to Miami. He can be seen dancing with half naked girls, riding around his party bus (and, more recently his party ship), playing beer bong with babes, posing naked for ESPN, and even celebrating Super Bowl losses.
Johnny Football can be found holding stacks of money to his ear on draft day, drinking champagne on inflatable swans in Texas, hanging out with Drake in "the 6," constantly oversleeping meetings and practices, drinking with Ricky Rozay, and throwing parties at his house with several team members before practice days.
So, really, what's the difference? Let's start with draft position. Preceding the 2014 NFL draft, Manziel's off-field antics led to a wide array of expert predictions about where he would land, from first overall to later, mid-round picks. The Cleveland Browns pulled the trigger on the dual-threat quarterback with the 22nd overall pick, and fans were on edge as "Johnny Football mania" took over the news. But before the regular season even started, the then-rookie was fined $12,000 for "flipping the bird" after a preseason loss to the Redskins. Manziel rode the bench for quite some time, before making his first official start in Week 15 against the Bengals. He went 10-18 for 80 yards and two interceptions, finishing with an underwhelming 27.3 passer rating. To add to the shame, he was sacked three times. Johnny Football played one more game, completing 3-8 passes before leaving the game with an injury. Johnny Disappointment.
Gronk, on the other hand, is arguably the best tight end in the league. His actions on the field are never an issue, and he wasn't much of a concern during his draft year (though he wasn't as high of a prospect as Manziel). Attending Arizona State University, a notorious party school, Gronk clearly learned how to have fun and make an impact on the game. Gronkowski's five year NFL career to date boasts an impressive stat line. He has 308 receptions for 4,379 yards and 54 touchdowns. Let's also note that 235 of those 308 receptions were for first downs. Gronk's numbers may have been more impressive if he did not face some unfortunate injuries. In 2012, Gronk broke his arm in a blowout win over the Indianapolis Colts and underwent surgery. He missed six games. In 2013, Gronk's season ended early after a low hit led to a torn ACL. He was also riddled with a back injury that lingered from his 2009 college football season
So what's the deal? Gronk has fun but performs, and Manziel has fun but doesn't. Well, you might argue, Gronk didn't have a stellar rookie year either. Sure, he didn't. But he also didn't have so many off-the-field issues that he had to check into rehab or fear that he might be cut after only one season. Gronk also has fun without flaunting money, having people suspect him of drug use, and--most importantly--he keeps his off field fun....off the field. They don't follow him back to football or performances. He doesn't miss practices or oversleep for meetings. Gronk also makes a good name for himself. Gronkowski is a regular participant in the "Buzz Off For Kids with Cancer" charity, shaving his head every year in support of the event. Gronk is also co-founder of his own charity, The Gronk Nation Youth Foundation, which generates funds for the benefit of youth charities.
One advantage Gronk has is that cameras aren't always on him. He manages to "hide" his partying, while Manziel can't seem to stay out of trouble. Gronk is quoted in an interview with SI's Pete Thamel saying " You can still have fun but maybe it's in more of a setting where people don't know what's going on."
The thing with Gronk is that his personality complements his actions. He doesn't deny that he parties (which he can't really do, since he can be seen funneling a cold beer in the Entourage movie trailer), but he compensates for it and makes it acceptable by winning the hearts of fans. Manziel can learn a thing or two from Gronk.
Whether he is spiking footballs or shaving his head, the 3x Pro Bowl tight end has earned his right to have a good time off the field in a somewhat controlled manner. Manziel's image is still one of an under-performing, undisciplined "delinquent." Before he can enjoy his time off the field, Manziel must prove himself on the field. All eyes on you, Mr. Football.