Let me set the scene for you:
It’s the Sunday after Thanksgiving. I’m finally sitting down on the couch to watch a football game. (Spent Thanksgiving at my son’s mother’s place. My second ex-wife. She doesn’t like football. That’s why she’s my EX-wife, and I’m still married to Tatiana. Over there in Russia, they still know how to teach their daughters what “Man Time” means.)
So, I turn on the tube anticipating a great matchup between the Packers and the Giants.
Instead, I got a real turkey.
That was a pathetic effort by the Packers. No heart at all. And it starts with their has-been quarterback, Aaron Rodgers. Stick a carving fork in him, because he’s done. Basted.
Last Sunday night, Rodgers was outplayed by a Jim Henson creation in blue. Eli Manning looked like the guy Three Dog Night sang about all those years ago. (JACK, CAN YOU DO THAT THING WHERE YOU MAKE THREE DOG NIGHT BLUE AND IT JUMPS TO THE SONG?) And so when “Eli’s Coming,” Packer fans better hide their heart, because number 12 isn’t on top anymore.
In fact, from now on, I’m calling him Sharon Rodgers, because he throws like a girl. Probably developed a limp wrist from talking about belts all the time in those commercials. Since when do football players care so much about fashion? The only fashion item Bart Starr was interested in was rings. Rings and a killer flat top haircut.
Sharon Rodgers isn’t the first quarterback to go lame from all the fame. It starts with a big win. Then come the commercials. How many Super Bowls has Tom Brady won since he started selling furry boots?
The fact is teams hold onto these guys too long out of loyalty. Well, guess what. If the Minnesota Vikings offered her more money, Sharon would be in purple before you can say “Cheez Whiz.” Teams can’t afford to get romantic about these guys. They have to be ready to move on.
And the future of the Packers is out there. He’s down at Texas A&M draping his golden arm around cheerleaders, dominating the NCAA, and just waiting for their call. I’m talking about Johnny Football.
(Speaking of the amateur game, how about those Fighting Irish? It’s like the ghost of Knute Rockne has woken up the echoes out in the land of Touchdown Jesus. Thanks be to the Gipper!)
Faster than a cheetah, stronger than Lou Ferrigno on steroids, Johnny Manziel — Johnny Football to you — is the heart of the sport in 2012, college or pro level. He’s a star, the kind of star you see accepting the Heisman, then leaving to take a bunch of orphans to a Broadway show. (And speaking of Broadway, who do I have to call at Columbia Records to get a cast recording of Robert Goulet’s Camelot released on cassette?)
Just last night I watched a few highlights of this kid’s game against Alabama. I don’t watch Saturday afternoon games because that’s time for my after-golf nap — I call it “The Nineteenth Hole” — but I have Brent Musburger’s office send me a videotape of the week’s best plays.
So I checked this kid out, and let me tell you, it’s time for Evander to step aside, because Manziel is the real deal. He’s got a Howitzer arm and can jump and juke around like he’s on American Bandstand. This kid dodges tacklers like he owes them money. And his leadership? Forget about it. When you beat Alabama that’s Tom Selleck-on-Blue Bloods-level leadership.
Now, Johnny Football isn’t eligible for the NFL yet. This cut of Texan beef needs one more year of S.E.-seasoning. But after next season, he’ll be heading to the big leagues.
And with Ms. Rodgers at the helm, the Packers will probably be looking at a primo draft spot near the top of the board. They need to use it to snatch up Johnny Football — unless they’re too busy helping Sharon paint her nails.