First off, huge fan. Seriously I mean that (There’s THIS & THIS). Secondly, I know I speak for the majority of not only the residents of Cleveland, Ohio, but all of their fans worldwide (yes, worldwide) when I say welcome to Cleveland, Ohio! We’re damn happy to have you. This isn’t a letter addressing something outlandish like you’re going to be the savior of Cleveland or anything like that. I’ve just got some things I’ve been meaning to say to you…
You had one hell of a career at Texas A&M and at Kerrville High School prior to that. In the past year or so you have morphed into America’s most talked about and analyzed sports figure; and all of this was before you were old enough to legally drink a beer. Your stats speak for themselves. If people weren’t convinced that “Johnny comes to play all day e’rryday” then they just need to re-watch the 2013 Chik-fil-a Bowl game vs. Duke where you single-handedly dug your team back from a 38-17 halftime hole to take the game 52-48 (highlights). I’m not trying to butter you up here Johnny; I mean all you have to do is walk in public and with the hordes of fans that approach, I’m sure your head becomes that of DK mode in Bond 64, but like I said I’m a fan.
While at Texas A&M, you did something that is very rare in the college. You, Johnny Manziel, became bigger than the program and bigger than the school. You were the program and it would be impossible to mathematically calculate how much money you actually brought into that school. The lobbying that is going on by an A&M school official to name Kyle Field “The House That Johnny Built“ only backs up exactly what I’m saying. However, you’re in Cleveland now and I say this with the utmost respect; you are not bigger than the city of Cleveland. Talking heads everywhere are saying how lucky we are to have you and that you are going to help turn the franchise around in wins among many other factors; and they aren’t wrong. But know this, you getting drafted by Cleveland was an amazing mutually beneficial transaction. When you walked out with your Brownies cap on giving the NFL Draft record 12 million viewers at home watching your patented “money signal” it was cool and fun. However, can you imagine the backlash and the hatred that would be thrown your way if you would have done that same thing wearing a Cowboys hat? Gives me shivers.
The Browns are a franchise people root for regardless of allegiance. No one dislikes the Browns. Seriously, no one. I hate the Steelers. I hate Steelers fans. I am beyond mean and bitter towards them. But for as much as I hate those spoiled assholes with their stupid roads that are never in goddamn straight line, they don’t hate the Browns. From being 57.6 miles north of the Professional Football Hall of Fame as well as the birthplace of football in general, to being the only team to not have an emblem on their helmet, Cleveland is special (for that and many other reasons).
Here’s the thing Johnny, you’re a professional now. You are going to get paid a lot of money (plus the millions you’re going to make in endorsements and appearances) to play a game. Fans feel they are owed your absolute, 100% best. I am not doubting you will give us that. In the most basic way to say this, I believe you get it. You understand the expectations and that you are under a super advanced HD microscope. After watching you take part in ESPN’s underrated Gruden’s QB Camp, I only became reaffirmed that you do in fact get it.
People question your off the field antics, your A-List iPhone contacts, your partying ways, your cocky attitude on the field and so on and so forth. This is where you need to understand how much the Browns are helping you. They are going to groom you to be the starter, they are, be patient. Right now you are being told to act like “second stringer.” Accept that and move on. You are a rookie. 21 players were drafted before you (including 2 others from your own Texas A&M). The fact that the Browns are limiting the media to you shows the sports world they respect you as a football player and not a circus act. Tebow went to the Jets for the press (ESPN had the lamest 24/7 training camp coverage there that year). They embraced him as a brand to sell tickets. For someone who wants to play football and win, the Browns are showing you just how much they want Johnny Manziel, the football player; not Johnny Manziel, Drake’s BFF. Not all teams would be doing this for you.
Ok, moving forward can you stop with the money sign gestures, please? College is over. You don’t need to do that for any reason. Your “swag” has already been established. Please don’t make the money signal “your thing.” I’m not some old crumedgeon or anything, but leave the dancing to the diva WRs. You know what’s cooler than flashing money signs up to God….congratulating a teammate, being happy your team is playing well and acting like you’ve been there before. Please check every Barry Sanders touchdown (there’s 109 to choose from) for a better explanation.
Let’s take a look at the list of winning QBs from the last 11 Super Bowls: Tom Brady (2x), Ben Roethlisberger (2x), Peyton Manning, Eli Manning (2x), Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Joe Flacco and Russell Wilson. Any of these guys dancing in the end zone? Any of these guys showing an immature mentality and me-first attitude? They all play the game extremely confidently and completely unselfish. Not cocky, but confident. Let other QBs annoyingly kiss their biceps (Colin Kaepernick) and fake smile/superman reveal when they run for a 1st down while being down 20 points at home (Cam Newton). But in Cleveland, we leave that for the birds.
I’m not asking Johnny Football to lose who is he and become John Manziel, because your improv and approach to the game has gotten you to where you are. Remember when Ricky “Wild Thing” Vaughn went straight laced in Major League II and lost a bit of who he really was? We don’t need that. I’m just saying that that part of your game is unnecessary because Cleveland is excited for what you do when the play starts until the whistle blows!
The Browns have a history of ill-fated shortcomings from Ernest Byner’s “The Fumble,” to John Elway’s “The Drive,” to the team being moved to Baltimore, to only reaching the playoffs one time since 1999, to having a rotating cast of not only quarterbacks, and coaches, but to front office and ownership as well. The only real constant for the Cleveland Browns over the years is the undying support from the city’s fans. We’re happy to have you here and I hope the feeling is mutual on your part.
PS. Miles Austin and Earl Bennett are good
All the best,
Anthony- firstname.lastname@example.org – Follow him on Twitter
Anthony Fanelli is an actor, writer, producer and comedian whose credits include NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS), How Superman Defeated the KKK (Discovery), My Haunted House (A&E), Black Water Vampire (feature film), Kidney & Apple (feature film), Spare Change (feature film), Little Knockers (funny or die exclusive), The Next Steps (funny or die), United Airlines, Chase Bank, Philips Norelco, Huffington Post/AOL, among much more. He has written and/or starred in over 150 live comedy shows (one-man shows, news parodies, improv, sketch). For more information, please visit his links: Professional Site, Funny or Die Page, IMDB, YouTube, FULL RESUME