Sink or Swim: Polarizing NFL Rookies
Johnny Football isn't the first to feel the media's heat.
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Johnny Manziel Isn't First Rookie to Feel the Media's Heat - Johnny Manziel hasn’t even played a single down of NFL football, but already he’s the most polarizing rookie in the league. Every move that Manziel makes has been scrutinized by the media — whether it’s having the sounds of Drake blasting from the speakers during his Pro Day workout or making the finger-rubbing money gesture on stage at the NFL Draft. Even partying on the Las Vegas strip becomes headline news when it comes to Johnny Football. And the fact that Cleveland Browns coach Mike Pettine recently told local reporters that Manziel has “done everything that we’ve asked” probably won’t lessen the media spotlight on the Heisman-winning QB. That being said, Manziel is far from the first rookie to feel the heat from the media. Every year, there’s a player that has put together a storied college football career only to ...
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Tim Tebow - As scrutinized as Johnny Manziel has been, the media heat on him arguably pales in comparison to the damn-near hysteria that surrounded Tim Tebow a few years back. After leading the Florida Gators to national championships in 2007 and 2009, Tebow earned a cult-like following which he took to the Denver Broncos, who selected him with the 25th overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft. Although he had a quiet rookie campaign, his stardom hit full tilt the following season. In 2011, he reversed the Broncos’ dismal 1-4 start and led them to the playoffs, where they even defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers in overtime via Tebow’s game-winning TD toss. The pious quarterback’s signature kneeling prayer pose was even turned into a verb — Tebowing — by social media outlets. But just as fast as Tebow’s star soared, it crashed and burned. The Broncos struck a deal for Peyton Manning and tr...
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Eli Manning - Like Johnny Manziel, Eli Manning ruffled some serious NFL feathers before ever playing a single down. At the onset of the 2004 NFL Draft, Manning openly stated that he would refuse to play for the San Diego Chargers if drafted by them with the No. 1 pick. They tabbed him anyway, and the New York Giants orchestrated a trade to make Eli the face of the franchise. For Manning’s first three seasons, that move didn’t bode too well for the Giants. But Big Blue got its big payout from Eli in 2007 and again in 2011, as he led them to two Super Bowl victories. Still, Eli remains a bit of a polarizing figure. When he’s great, he’s unbelievable with a penchant for late-game mettle and heroics. When he’s bad…he’s downright putrid. (Photo: Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
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Ryan Leaf - Crash and burn. Oh boy did Ryan Leaf do that. After being chosen only second to Peyton Manning in the 1998 NFL Draft, Leaf did what leaves do — fall. Leaf’s off-field behavior — which included him notoriously yelling at a reporter and having to be restrained by Junior Seau — matched his terrible on-field play. Let’s keep it funky — Leaf may have been the biggest draft bust in NFL history. And to think, the Chargers passed on the likes of Randy Moss, Hines Ward and Charles Woodson for a Leaf that would crumple under pressure. (Photo: Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
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Reggie Bush - Reggie Bush was a college football god, coming out of USC. He was drafted by the New Orleans Saints with the second overall pick in 2006 and he had much to prove. How has his career panned out? Well, Bush has only played a full 16-game season in two of his nine years as a pro. However, when used right, as the Detroit Lions seem to be doing now, Bush has proved to be a very serviceable pro, one who could rush and receive out of the backfield and even dazzle on special teams. Bush is a keeper. (Photo: Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)