Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Sport For Thought: Johnny Football is the First Pick of the 2014 Endorsement Draft

Although uncertainty surrounds the pick in which Johnny Manziel should be chosen in the upcoming 2014 NFL Draft, he was unanimously the most sought after rookie by all major endorsement companies. A reigning Heisman trophy winner on the field, and a multitude of events that have been magnified by the media off the field, Manziel is arguably the most marketable and well-known athlete entering this year's draft.
Following his recent appearance at the NFL combine, many critics doubted his ability to play and perform at an elite level due to his lack of height, missing 6 foot by the minuscule mark of nearly a quarter of an inch. But all of the hype about that quarter of an inch goes to show just how famous Manziel truly is. Is this really going to compromise his ability to play in the NFL and receive the opportunity the become the first overall pick of the draft? Russell Wilson, reigning Super Bowl Champion of the Seattle Seahawks is five foot and eleven inches. Nobody is questioning his ability to play and he has proven all that he is capable of.

The success of Russell Wilson, raises the question, Why is their so much backlash to a player that has performed in intense pressure filled games and still has the opportunity to evolve and mature into an elite NFL quarterback? The answer is simple. Manziel's entire collegiate career, he has been a media target and he is the only one to blame. On multiple occasions, he has proven to be somewhat immature, from his wild nights at parties being publicized, to being kicked out of Peyton Manning's camp due to sleeping through mandatory meetings. Now as he is about to be drafted (whether via the number 1 pick or not), Manziel needs to stop with the shenanigans and focus more on reaching his fullest potential as an athlete.

As the NFL draft is approaching, and sports analysts are still debating what pick Manziel should be drafted, Johnny Football is making big moves of his own. It was just announced that Johnny Football became the newest athlete to sign an endorsement deal with the athletic brand Nike. This is not only a major deal for Manziel, but it also proves just how powerful the brand of Nike is over their competitors of Adidas and Under armour. Nike knew what draft prospect they wanted and they went out and got him. Their was plenty of competition to sign Manziel to an endorsement deal but Nike was able to lure him when he went to visit the company's headquarters in Oregon.

This deal is a significant accomplishment for the marketing company LRMR, which is in conjunction with Maverick Carter. Carter is also a business partner with a member of the NBA that many sports fans may have heard of before, Lebron James, who happens to be one of Nike's most prominent clients. The off-field distractions had to raise flags not only for potential suitors in the NFL but also for any company willing to have him be one of the faces recognized with their brand. It seems as if Nike is not as concerned with his off-field antics because either way, he will most definitely be a lucrative client with the possible trademark of 'Johnny Football'. This may be one circumstance where all press is good press for Nike and their marketing team. The multi-year deal between Manziel and Nike is the first to be signed amongst this year's draft class. Manziel joins the likes of fellow quarterbacks, Drew Brees, Colin Kaepernick, and Russell Wilson, to be endorsed by Nike.
The question no longer remains of which player will be the first overall pick of the 2014 NFL Endorsement Deal Draft, but many still ponder when Manziel will be picked in the draft that matters most. We will all have to wait for May 8, 2014 to find out, but until then, I am sure we will remain immersed in all things Johnny Football due to the media's frenzy.

Alexa Fontanella is a freshman Sport Management Major at Drexel University, from Totowa, NJ. This winter she will be working with Drexel Athletics on marketing strategies and game day operations for the Drexel Dragons basketball team. Alexa is looking forward to participating in her first co-op next fall and is excited for such an amazing opportunity. She is a huge New York Sports fan, specifically the Yankees and the Nets. Follow Alexa on Twitter and connect with her on LinkedIn.


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