The Jameis Winston Era officially started Monday night in Pittsburgh, where the Florida State redshirt freshman quarterback eviscerated Pitt in a 41-13 Seminoles win.
In his college debut, Winston, the former five-star recruit, lived up to the immense hype that followed him into Heinz Field as he completed 25-of-27 passes for 356 yards and four touchdowns while running for another score.
But unlike Manziel, who spent his season debut Saturday taunting his opponents and mocking his own autograph scandal, there’s little fear that the “Famous Jameis” persona will become bigger than Winston, the football player.
“It’s Monday Night Football,” Winston told reporters after the game, sounding almost wide-eyed. “We come in and play Monday Night Football in a pro stadium? I was so pumped for that.”
Winston is everything fans love about Johnny Manziel without all the stuff fans hate about Johnny Manziel. He’s flashy on the field and personable off the field, but without the caked-on pretentiousness and smarmy exterior. He is goofy and likeable and everything Manziel is as a player, but he’s the playing the role of good guy while Johnny Manziel and the Aggies turn heel.
Jameis Winston is fresh and exciting and easy to root for, while Johnny Football becomes tougher and tougher to support by the minute, and I hope with everything in me that Winston can keep it up, because he makes for a welcome distraction from the noise.