Joe Theismann has a beef with Johnny Manziel

If there were a rule against piling on outside of football, former NFL great Joe Theismann would have drawn several flags for his recent rant about Johnny Manziel.

Theismann went on a three-minute diatribe about Manziel on Yahoo! Sports Radio recently. His list of complaints included everything from the Texas A&M quarterback’s recent on-field behavior to his playing style.

Theismann even took shot at the legitimacy of Manziel’s Heisman Trophy win last fall. Remember, while playing at Notre Dame, Theismann changed the pronunciation of his name to rhyme with the award (which he didn’t win).

The following is a transcript of Theismann going after Manziel the way Lawrence Taylor used to come after him in the NFL:


Johnny Manziel shows a great amount of immaturity. He shows a great amount of classlessness. He doesn’t understand what it’s like to be a leader. He doesn’t understand what it’s like to have the respect of the people in your business and with you. And for him to come out and say I’m only gonna stay one more year at Texas A&M, he would have trouble playing professional football with men.

His game is one of freelance football. It works very well in the Canadian league because I played up there. But in the National Football League, you can’t run around and think that you’re going to escape and outrun defensive ends and linebackers at this level. He’s not very disciplined in what he does. He’s not very mature in the way that he conducts his life and I think he should stay in college and grow up. And then if he thinks he can come and play with men, let him come.

But what really bothered me – there have been a number of things that bothered me about Johnny – but what really bothered me was when you walk by your head coach and ignore him, who the heck does he think he is? Yes, he won the Heisman Trophy; somehow he ended up winning the Heisman Trophy. Different guys kept falling off the map and all of a sudden he does his circus act against Alabama and everybody goes ‘Woo, OK fine, he’s the Heisman Trophy winner.’ Congratulations to him. I think that’s a great honor and a great award. But it also carries with it a degree with which you have to be respected and you have to conduct yourself in a respectful manner.

And what I saw him do in that game, in the conversation with the players, what I saw him do walking past his head coach, you’re the Heisman Trophy winner, you’ve been suspended by the NCAA, which by the way is the biggest joke in the world, for one half of a football game.

If you didn’t do something wrong, then don’t suspend him. There’s no such thing as he violated the spirit. What’s the spirit of what they’re talking about? They have no clue. So what happens is in this situation is you have a chance to go out on the football field, you’ve done your penance, you’ve received whatever fine or whatever penalty the NCAA wanted to dole out to you, now you get a chance to go out and lead your football team. You go out and get to show everybody that the things that happened, the things that were said about you, really aren’t you.

And then what he does is he just goes out and he just confirms that he’s not a very mature young man. And that he’s not a very good leader of a football team. There are a lot of guys that have a lot of talent that play at our level. There are a lot of guys that have a lot of talent that play at the college level – Teddy Bridgewater at Louisville, the quarterback at Clemson, the quarterback at Florida State – I’d take any of those guys over Johnny Manziel in a heartbeat. In a heartbeat.

But Joe, tell us what you really think.

Follow Keith Whitmire on Twitter: @Keith_Whitmire