Posts about Football

2014 FIFA World Cup: Germany wins their 4th title

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Today’s World Cup final between Germany and Argentina was not for the faint of heart. There was only one goal during the length of the match but it was still an exciting one, filled with plenty of chances for both teams. There were also some controversial calls, hard fouls, great fan reactions and one incredible late goal. Mario Götze, at only 22 years of age, becomes a national hero for Germany after he scores on a brilliant volley in extra time to win Germany’s 4th World Cup title. Götze was initially a starter for the German squad but had been benched after a somewhat unimpressive campaign. No more. Götze will be forever remembered by German football fans around the world as “super-sub Mario” after the young man came off the bench in the 88th minute, and scored with only 7 minutes left in extra time. The addition of Götze seemed to energize the German offense, taking advantage of a well-rested squad and they looked like the team with more legs as the game went into added extra time. Germany wasn’t as impressive today as most thought they would be but they did enough when it counted most. They controlled the pace of the game and despite a couple of key mistakes, they never allowed Argentina to take control of the game for more than a few stretches throughout the game. Argentina had the clearest chances but aside from a few nice break away plays, they never really got into rhythm.

This was supposed to be the game where Lionel Messi ascended into greatness and could very well ended the debate of who the greatest football player of all time. It didn’t quite occur that way. Sure, when given a bit space or a nice through ball, Messi looked poised to make a great play but overall #10 for Argentina was largely absent. Argentina’s attack was mostly limited to the outside wingers as they tried to control the ball in order to force Germany into some mistakes. They happened but the “albiceleste” team didn’t take advantage and they’re left with a handful of what ifs. I thought that if Messi had a bit more help, the offense could’ve been more fluid but with Angel Di Maria out and only one half of Sergio Aguero, there wasn’t enough firepower up front. Striker Gonzalo Higuain failed to capitalize on a huge German mistake in the first half and had an unimpressive game overall. I gotta give it up for the Argentine fans. They were among the best of the tournament and their presence was felt throughout a game that featured a nice flow from end of end. No one really thought that Argentina would make it to a World Cup final that is being held in Brazil but they did it and while their night might end with tears and disappointment, they have nothing to be ashamed about. But what else are we going to take away from this World Cup?

I can’t imagine it being a better World Cup when we head to Russia four years from now and if FIFA does go through with Qatar in 2022, that might end up being the worst of all time. But we’ll get to those tournaments when they’re closer to us. Let’s praise Brazil for a moment. After months of scrutiny for a number of reasons, Brazil was able to overcome, hosting a brilliant tournament that accounted for some of the best world football that we have ever seen and i’m pretty we’ll look back at this World Cup as one of the best ever. Did the “right” team win it all? I think so. Germany was the most impressive team of the tournament from start to finish and they held the concept of team more than any other nation. Were there other team that were worthy of winning the title? Yes, and no. Netherlands certainly had their stretches, as did teams like Brazil, Colombia and France. But they all had one or two glaring issues that were certain to doom them. Germany only held minor issues and seemed to be the best, most complete tournament. Also, I may or may not have wagered on Germany before the tournament and may, or may not, have collected some sort of prize today. Ich danke Ihnen sehr Deutschland.

Thank you Brazil. Thank you to all the players, all of the coaching staffs, the wonderful fans (especially the pretty ladies) in the stands and for a great month of high-level world football. See you in four years.

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2014 FIFA World Cup: Germany destroys Brazil to reach final

Brazil v Germany: Semi Final - 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil

Earlier today, I had moved some things about in my normal life to make some room for the match between Brazil and Germany. A part of me was hesitant to have such high aspirations for a game that would be missing two of the five, or six, most important players on the field. But the pure sports fan in me wanted to say “Brazil is at home, it’ll be a competitive game” just for the mere fact that fans around the world deserved a competitive match. I mean, this is one of the semifinals in the World Cup. Right? As we’ve learned throughout the history of professional sports, the word “deserve” should seldom, if ever, be used. We get some feel good stories here and there, but for the most part it’s just whoever decides to show up that day. Germany showed up today and Brazil did not, plain and simple. Playing without two of your best players in tough but playing like you shouldn’t even be on the same field as your opponent, well that’s a completely different story. Brazil started the match off well, attacking and risking as they forced Germany to drop back and hold their own on defense. I watched, thinking Brazil might get the early lead and “park the bus” or something of that sort. Not even close. Germany scores their first goal on a massive defensive mistake and it’s a barrage of German goals from there. From the looks of it, the game looked like Brazil was trying to recover from their first goal and all of a sudden, they were down 2-0. Then 3-0, and so on. Halftime arrives and football fans around the world are wondering, trying to comprehend, just what in the world we just witnessed.

After Germany’s first two goals were in the back of the net, it was pretty obvious that they were going to advance to the final. But then only six minutes later and Germany had scored as many goals, in one match, as Brazil had received so far in the World Cup. Astonishing. To put it frankly: it was men against boys out there. The cameras kept showing the tearful and bewildered Brazilian fans in the stands, turning the game turn into a sad affair. Then again, how sad can one really feel for Brazil? Winners of five titles and perennial favorites from competition to competition. Brazil also didn’t help themselves by playing with the swagger of a team that figured it could just cruise into the final of the tournament they were hosting. Not to mention that because of their perceived preferential treatment from the referees, fans that supported Chile or Colombia, among others, had little sympathy for the men in yellow jerseys and their fans.

What of the winners today? I’m sure that the German beer was flowing heavily throughout the match and it might still be flowing as i’m typing this out. Not since their 6-1 win over Armenia (last friendly) and their 4-0 dominant win over Portugal in the group opener has Germany looked so dominant. Germany was balanced, focused, tactically sound and knew when to strike, turning the match into a rout. Oh yeah, among their shocking win over Brazil, Germany also made history. 84-year history in that they matched Brazil’s largest defeat ever and were the first team to beat them in their home stadium in an international competition since the mid-70s. Also, veteran striker Mirosav Klose became the sole leader of most goals scored in a World Cup over an entire career; passing Brazil’s own Ronaldo, who watched in agony from the stands. With a 5-0 lead in their pocket, the Germans spent much of the second half passing the ball around and holding off Brazil’s best efforts. Two more goals for the Germans, the second of which (7th overall) came on a quality finish from Andre Shurrle. Oscar managed to put the home team on the board but Brazil will do some heavy soul-searching. Meanwhile, Germany will watch tomorrow’s match between Argentina and Netherlands, learning about the future opponent, fully knowing that they are now the team to beat and the favorite to lift the trophy after their impressive win.

Prediction: We saw what injuries can do to a team. But Argentina still has their best player and Messi will be the best on the field tomorrow. Netherlands risks too much and Argentina takes advantage, winning 2-1.

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2014 FIFA World Cup: on to the semi-finals

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Before the World Cup began, Brazil was the favorite to win it all, followed closely by Argentina, Germany and Spain. With the exception of Spain’s unorthodox early exit, the addition of Netherlands, we’re more or less where everyone expected before the tournament began. The Dutch were a potential threat to advance this far but the group they were put in and their chemistry issues had people doubting. And they haven’t done much to convince people. They were inferior to Mexico for most of the game and while they should have scored multiple times against Costa Rica, they still needed to survive penalties in order to make it this far. Just goes to show how interesting and, frankly, chaotic this World Cup has been from the start. The only downside is that after seeing so many goals, the action slowed down in the quarterfinals. Teams were unwilling to take as many risks because they knew that the slightest mistake would cost their team and their country the chance to lift world football’s most coveted trophy. Just take a look at the goals: Argentina scores after an awkward/favorable bounce, Germany appeared to have fouled Varane on their goal and Brazil’s first goal was on a clear defensive mistake that came in a game filled with fouls and sloppy play. The only quality goal of all four quarterfinal games was David Luiz’s incredible free kick that is my personal favorite of all the goals in tournament. The only shame greater than the goals is that we’re going to be absent from two of the better players in the world. Neymar’s back injury and Di Maria’s thigh injury are keeping us from some great football but they’re also hindering their teams, who just so happen two of the favorites to win it. Is Brazil more likely to perform or is Argentina the more likely?

It’s tough to say. The obvious answer is that Argentina will still be near their top level because while Di Maria has been key, it’s not on the same level as losing Lionel Messi. Which would be equivalent to what is going on with Brazil. But can Brazil REALLY lose at home in an international competition? Hasn’t happened since 1975 but it’s going to be very tough for the home team to win against Germany after the personnel that won’t be participating. We can’t forget to mention that center defensive-back Thiago Silva will also miss the match after getting another yellow card on one of the silliest plays that I’ve ever seen. Two key players missing for Brazil has the Germans thinking that they could finally be back in a World Cup final since their loss to Brazil during the 2002 World Cup in South Korea/Japan. It’s hard to imagine that we’re going to have a real chance that it’s going to be two European teams in a final that is being held in South America. Especially after the group stages, when it felt like the UEFA teams were falling like flies and there wasn’t a doubt that a non-European team would be winning the title. The script has flipped. Can Argentina take down the Dutch? The “albiceletes” didn’t look impressive for any of their group stage games and needed heroics from Messi in order for their World Cup campaign to not be an embarrassment. They seemed to have gained some form but they haven’t been through the toughest of competitors. Yes, Belgium was the token “dark horse” team before the Cup began but they still carried lots of questions. As expected, all eyes will be on number 10 as he tires to lead Argentina against all odds.

Predictions: I’m still torn on Netherlands-Argentina so i’ll wait until tomorrow night to predict them. Too big of a loss for Brazil as Germany dominates the pace and wins 2-1.

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2014 World Cup: transition to the quarterfinals

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From an entertainment standpoint, it’s been the best World Cup that I’ve ever witnessed. The ’98 France World Cup was about as dramatic as we’re going to get, but I was only 11 years old when it happened so I was more into imitating the star players, rather than actually analyzing their play. This time around, Brazil, despite the obstacles they were facing, has produced some excellent game play that has refused to slow down even as we’re through the first round of the knockout stages. My two favorite teams, Mexico and USA, both were eliminated in heartbreaking fashion but while their demise still stings at the sight of highlights, i’m still intrigued in every single game. I’ve been watching about as much as one can but I haven’t been able to discuss on here as much as I can. My favorite underdog of the tournament was Chile from the start and they put up a solid effort in their nail-biting game against Brazil. Big props to them and other teams like Greece who over-performed and gave us, at the very least, some really entertaining games in the first phase of the knockout stages. And while we can continue to go on about the losing team’s efforts, they’re no long part of the competition and it’s time to look forward to the quarterfinals.

So, which looks like the favorite to win it all? Right now the clear choice is Colombia. Them, and France, were the only two nations to win their previous game by a score that wasn’t a single-goal difference. But i’d say that Suarez-less Uruguay is tougher competition than a complete Nigerian team. It’s also impossible to ignore how good Colombian midfielder James Rodriguez has been; a 22-year old player who has risen his game above anyone else’s and is the undisputed best player in this World Cup. Just like Diego Forlan did four years ago, Rodriguez has led his national team with excellent play. He’s scored several goals but his volley against Uruguay the other day stands as the best of the tournament, so far. How high is his ceiling? Rumor has it that several of the biggest club teams in Europe are already starting their bidding war. But luckily for us, we won’t have to wait until club play in order to see more of him. Colombia faces off against Brazil tomorrow and the way things are going, this could be one of the best and most important World Cup games of all time. Yes, of all time. Brazil has been “champion or bust” since the start of the tournament and if they’re eliminated by a fellow South American team, expect lots of backlash. We also have Neymar, another player who has carried his team, go head to head against Rodriguez. Also, Colombia has never been made it this far into a World Cup and every single game going forward is their most important of all time. If you’re going to watch one game this World Cup, make it Colombia-Brazil tomorrow.

Hold on a minute: don’t we also have a huge European battle before that? Of course we do! Germany, who appeared to be the most balanced team in the World Cup, struggled to find rhythm in the opening match and needed extra time to take down Algeria of all teams. Now they’re up against a French team that has looked more comfortable but many wonder whether or not they’re more a product of their opponents rather than actually being that dominant. France has the individual player potential, while Germany looks to use their stack midfield players to control the pace of the game. This is the quarterfinal game that i’m most confused about and that i’m finding hardest to predict. My gut feeling (aka I have money on them) is to go with Germany. The Germans have looked like the more balanced team and faced tougher competition so far in the tournament. Yes, Algeria was lucky to be there, but they played the type of game that works well against Germany and I don’t think France will be as effective. Although, the Frenchmen’s attack is tempting with all of their talent. Forward Karim Benzema is looking for the tournament’s golden boot (most goals) and along with Mathieu Valbuena, they have been a deadly one-two combination for any defense. In the end, i’m leaning towards Germany their balance. I expect it to be a close game that might even go into extra time and quite possibly penalties.

Predictions: Germany edges out France; Colombia shocks the nation of Brazil. If you’re going watch some matches, do it during the holiday weekend.

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2014 World Cup: Groups C and D finish group play

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Officially, we have locked in the top half of the brackets. That means that for the knock out stage, we’ve assembled eight teams out of the 16 possible. Uruguay had a close win over Italy, surrounded by story lines, while Costa Rica secured their top spot in the group after a meaningless draw against England. We’ll get the Costa Rica-England game out of the way because neither team really anything to play for. There was a chance for Costa Rica to lose their top spot, but it would take a monumental loss or a lopsided win by either Italy or Uruguay for that to happen. The Costa Ricans were playing not to lose and their opponents, the English, well, they were just playing for pride’s sake. And with nothing at stake, little was expected. The play was mediocre, the crowd wasn’t very into it and it was just a lackluster atmosphere overall. England had a few chances but when they didn’t have the ball, Costa Rice focused on possession, passing the ball to make the English players chance. The Costa Ricans even managed to get a few “Ole!” chants from their compatriots in the stands. Let’s just move on to the bigger focus of the day: Italy-Uruguay. Despite their big win over England, the pressure was on Uruguay to come out on top. Italy only needed a single point (tie) to advance into the next round and they looked seemed pretty comfortable with that situation. The match produced a stagnant first half but in the second half, the action picked up and so did the incidents. Uruguay takes advantage being up a man, scoring a late goal despite some rather familiar antics by their star Luis Suarez. The red card received by Italy was justified, in my opinion. I can’t defend Suarez’s actions, no matter how much hilarious content continued to fill social media long after the match was over. Believe it or not, Suarez managed to overshadow LeBron’s headlines in a matter of under five minutes with his actions. It’s still undecided as to what FIFA will do but I can’t imagine that they’re just going to turn their head in the other direction. Still, Costa Rice and Uruguay are in the knockout stages.

The second half of day was left for Group C to sort themselves out. Colombia had already qualified, but needed a point to secure the top spot, while the rest of the teams were vying for a second place spot. I gotta give it up for Japan. They played their hearts out for their entire match against Colombia, who was clearly the superior team. The Japanese had plenty of chances and continued to play at an aggressive pace, but eventually it caught up to them and Colombia took advantage of the situation, turning the game into a rout. The Colombians are one of the few teams that have mounted to 9 points, and they have looked impressive in every single one of their games. Sure, they didn’t have the hardest group but I expect them to continue to play well going forward in the tournament. Japan showed lots of heart and had some of the best pound-for-pound fans, but they weren’t able to close things out when key situations presented themselves. The other side of the group featured Ivory Coast and Greece, with the Greeks needing a victory to advance into the next round. Oh, what a crazy finish we witnessed. After a last minute penalty decision, the result is a heart-breaking loss for Ivory Coast and an almost dream-like win for Greece. And if you’re wondering how I feel: yes, I do think it was the right call. The Greek forward was going to have a decent attempt at the goal but I still thought the foul was unnecessary from the Ivory Coast defender. It appeared that the Africans were going to be the first representing their continent in the next round but they let Greece attack much too easily at the end. Gotta give the Greeks some credit, because the continued to attack, hitting the goalposts on multiple occasions and finally, a little luck went their way. Colombia and Greece advance from their group.

Tomorrow’s games (June 25th): Group F Argentina-Nigeria and Bosnia & Herzegovina-Iran (both 12 pm ET); Group E Honduras-Switzerland and France-Ecuador.

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2014 World Cup: Groups A and B finish their play

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We’re starting to get deeper into the World Cup, the end of group play, but despite how long the tournament has been going, the action has yet to slow down. Wait, that’s if we’re omitting Group F from the discussion. Despite being led by Argentina and their robust attacking personnel, the entire group has only managed to combine for five goals through the first four games. Strange in a World Cup that has managed to continue an average of 3 goals per match. It’s amazing. Even the casual football fan can admit that very few of the games lack pure entertainment, even if it’s just for one half or some late-game drama. Groups A and B both finished their group play today, with the countries of Netherlands, Chile, Brazil and Mexico advancing to the next round. Every team just named won their game today, with the exception of Chile, who fell to the Netherlands in a game that meant the winner would top the group. In all honesty, I wasn’t impressed with the game between them. After Chile displayed some real potential as force in the tournament, they looked flat and much over-matched against the Dutch. Netherlands, despite not needing a win, were a bit more aggressive. Both teams were missing key players (cards and injury/rest) so the action lacked a bit, both goals not coming until the 77th minute and after. Netherlands has probably been the beast team in the tournament so far, especially considering how bad all the UEFA (European) teams have been. Speaking of bad teams from Europe, Spain was also in action today. Isn’t is weird to read that? A Spanish team, in this era, not performing well and at the very least contending for a title. Anyways, they squared off against Australia in a game that had no stipulations and was only being played for pride. Spain played well, controlling the pace of the game like we’d all come to expect. It’s such a shame that this game will be last image that we’ll have of Spain’s golden generation. They have plenty of young stars but some players that were on the field today, it will be the last that we’ll see with their jersey at a top-level tournament.

The later slate of games featured Group A’s games. Brazil and Mexico were both impressive in their victories today, finishing off their group play in a big way as they both move forward to the knockout stage against their Group B opponents. We’ll start with Mexico’s victory over Croatia. Not because of my rooting interest, but because there was more on the line between these two teams. Mexico came into this game with some questions, only managing one goal in their first two games. Sure, they looked poised for a big game but Croatia had all the momentum after a big win over Cameroon. The game was a bit slow to start but Mexico has the clear advantage early, with two clear chances to go up. Croatia responded nicely and it was a scoreless but competitive first half. The second half was a different story, almost completely dominating by Mexico and after their first goal, the momentum just kept going their way. Croatia managed to get on the board but by that time, it was clear that Mexico would be advancing into the next round. But who would their opponents be? Remember, Mexico still had a shot at finishing atop the group depending on a number of factors. Brazil took care of business against Cameroon though, scoring four and not surprisingly, they were led by their biggest star. Neymar scored twice and is now the top leading scorer for the tournament. Other players have a chance to surpass him in group play but he’s been one of the best and continues to prove that he can lead Brazil to yet another World Cup title. For both teams, it’s the performances that they were looking for. A team always wants to play their best as they’re headed into the most important game of the tournament. There’s no room for error as neither team has it easy. Sure, each would’ve preferred to avoid the Netherlands but Chile has looked just as strong.

Tomorrow’s games (June 24th): Italy-Uruguay (loser goes home) and Costa Rica-England both at 12 pm ET; Japan-Colombia and Greece-Ivory Coast (any team can join Colombia) both at 4pm ET.

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2014 World Cup: Luis Suarez dashes England’s hopes and the rest of today’s action

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Another day in the World Cup and another trio of exciting games that had huge implications heading into them. The biggest game of the day was between Uruguay and England, both teams in pretty much a “must win” situation, or at the very least each team needed to get at least one point. But this the 2014 World Cup and ties are few and far in between. We’ll get to their match in a second and we first need to review the other two games that happened today. Things kicked off between Colombia and Ivory Coast, two teams coming off solid victories in each of their respective games. The stage was set for a good game and both countries delivered. Neither team scored until after an hour of play but the game built up nicely, with a strong pace and plenty of chances for both teams. Colombia was a little bit better today, finishing their chances and fighting off a late rally by Ivory Coast to end the game. The Africans had the best goal of the game but unfortunately, it was the only one that they couldn’t manage to put into the back of the net. I like both of these teams and expect them to be the ones that come out of Group C. Quick side note: huge shout out to the Colombians that are in the stands supporting their team. I know they’re not too far away but judging by the stands, one would guess that the tournament is being held in Colombia, not Brazil. Anyways, back to the other match that went down for Group C. Japan and Greece had been the less impressive teams in this group but I was still looking to see more of them before figuring out what to expect from them. In the end, I left watching their game with a very lukewarm feeling. Greece left me feeling unconvinced about their performance because they made the mistake of attaining two yellows and playing a man down for most of the game. And consequently, Japan disappointed me even more because they didn’t take advantage of the situation. This was their best chance of gaining three point but they weren’t able to close the door. The opportunities were there, but the finishing wasn’t. Colombia qualifies, convincingly, to the next phase leaves the other three teams to sort themselves out.

Now we move on to the big match of the day. The match that was stealing all of the headlines and would decide the fate of the two of the biggest teams in world football. Even though their success (especially England) hasn’t been formidable in recent times, they’re still two teams that attract attention and expectations. England always seems to bring a whirlwind of headlines with them into each World Cup and this time it’s been no different. After their defeat in the first round, England needed a win if they hoped to keep being a part of this tournament. But they were squaring off against Uruguay, a team still in the midst of many questions but hungry for a win. Luis Suarez was a star in his first start of this World Cup, notching two goals to lead Uruguay to victory and bring a massive blow to England’s hopes of advancing. It was a great game. Slow to begin, but as the game went on and both teams scored, it was one of the most intense matches we’ve see so far. Uruguay did hold a bit back after their first goal but it helped bring the pace of the game to a nicer level, with England attacking non-stop and Uruguay trying everything they could to counter and find Suarez in open space. Wayne Rooney FINALLY scores a goal in the World Cup and we’re dead even. England continued their barrage but a slight slip up, and Luis Suarez is there to capitalize with a world class finish. That’s what he does and that’s what make Uruguay so dangerous. England’s hopes are all but gone as they need a big amount of help in order to advance. It’s not likely to happen and we’re seeing one of the worst World Cup outings by an English national team.

Tomorrow slate (Jun 20th): Italy vs Costa Rica (12pm ET); Switzerland vs France (3pm ET); Honduras vs Ecuador (6pm ET)

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In defense of Johnny Manziel

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Every once in a while, the NFL gets a player entering the draft who causes more discussion than is necessary. This year there’s no doubt that Johnny Manziel “aka Johnny Football” from Texas a&m is that man this year. First of all, having the name of the sport in your nickname is absurd in itself. It adds even more unwarranted pressure to an already full slate like the one Manziel is facing. But it’s pressure that “Mr Football” has put upon himself with a side of pressure that has been completely manufactured by the media. Johnny Manziel was a football star, playing for a school in the most football-heavy state in the country while playing in the most important conference in college football. Let’s add to the fact that he’s the first ever freshman to win the Heisman trophy, the most prestigious award a player can receive in NCAA football. Add all that up and mix it with a personality like the one Manziel carries around with himself. What did the rest of the sports world expect to happen? Just imagine if every mistake one made at 19 and 20 years old (on and off the field) was magnified and your entire persona was based on those two years. That’s what Johnny Manziel is looking at right now. Like most scrutinized athletes in the past, doubters are just waiting to pounce on Manziel’s next mistake and in contrast, “super fans” are waiting for moments of brilliance so that they can say to “I told you so!” to those same doubters. It’s the tug-of-war that we’ve seen for decades now.

Right now it’s the “super fans” who have the upper hand after Manziel had an impressive NFL pro day yesterday. His workout style was a bit unorthodox, running his drills with full pads and a helmet on, but still effective. That’s something most players don’t usually do but then again, when has Johnny Football followed in other player’s footsteps in those kinds of things. I know EPSN’s comment section isn’t the mecca of sports knowledge and analysis, but check out the flurry of comments at the bottom of this article yesterday. Nothing controversial was written in the article but the reading the comments, one would assume that the writer was either calling Manziel the biggest bust of all time or the greatest quarterback to ever walk the field. And because ESPN can’t avoid being themselves, they threw in two comments about Manziel on Twitter by LeBron James and Michael Vick, two of the most talked about athletes from the past decade or so. What’s my sports opinion on Johnny Football’s pro day? He was impressive in just about everything that he did. He had to be because he had a large crowd watching him, a crowd that included a former president (H.W. Bush) to go along with various officials and at least 30 team representatives. With all this pressure and attention on one player, the biggest question is, of course, will Johnny Manziel live up to the hype when it comes to the next level?

Ultimately it’s impossible to say. Remember how impressive Jamarcus Russell was in his pro day? Or how unimpressive Tom Brady was before the draft? I admit, those are two of the biggest extremes that we’ve seen in the history of the league but either one is quite possible for Manziel. The general consensus is that “Mr Football” isn’t the best quarterback in the draft (I like Bridgewater personally) but despite being either being the 3rd or 4th best QB, he could very well be taken with the 1st overall pick in the NFL draft next month. It’s silly for a team not to take Jadaveon Clowney first overall but imagine if it’s Manziel to the Texans, a local hero that can completely change the fortunes of a franchise. But then Manziel does nothing and he eventually turns into this generation’s Ryan Leaf. Now imagine if he drops (also very likely) in the draft board. People start doubting whether he’ll be taken and then ends up falling to a team like the Cardinals. Or even the Browns, who have had the absolute worst luck when it comes to QBs. Imagine him changing THAT team’s fortunes. It’s a lot of speculation that seems irrelevant to talk about at this point. Here’s one thing that I know: wherever Johnny Manziel goes and whatever he does, at the very least, he’s going to be entertaining and will continue to be must-watch TV for all sports fans. So let’s calm down with all the accusations and opinions on him. All you can ask at this point is for Manziel to put in the work and (appear) to stay focused in the months before the draft happens. And right now, that’s what he seems to be doing so. I’m rooting for you Johnny Football.

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