In case you missed it, Netflix just released a new documentary titled "Untold: Johnny Football," which highlights the rise and fall of Johnny Manziel, aka Johnny Football.
Manziel, his parents, sister, friends, coaches and even his former agent speak about Manziel's rise to fame and superstar status and the predictable-yet-preventable downfall of his career. But one of the most notable story lines from this documentary is found at the end, where Manziel turned to the one person he knew he could fall back on when he was at his worst.
Born on the same date, Johnny Manziel and his father, Paul Manziel, have a bond that most fathers and sons want with one another. Paul wanted nothing but the best for Johnny, and that carried into his decision to enroll Manziel in Tivy High School in Kerrville, Texas. It was a school whose football program was strict and taught discipline. But that discipline did not carry over for Manziel when he left Kerrville for College Station to play for Texas A&M, and it never resurfaced during his time with the Cleveland Browns.
Who is Johnny Manziel's Dad, Paul Manziel?
Johnny's parents are Paul and Michelle Manziel. The family reportedly has "oil money," and while wealthy, Paul told ESPN "it's not Garth Brooks money. But it's a lot of money."
Paul and Johnny were close growing up, often playing golf together. They still do, even though Paul told ESPN in 2013 he hates playing with his son because of his anger issues.
"I don't enjoy playing golf with him because I don't want to see that temper," he said. "I honestly do not. I cringe when he wants to play golf. I don't want to do it, but I know I have to do it. Because he still needs love. He still needs guidance. He still needs to see he's wrong — and how to control his temper. And if I give up on him, who's gonna take over? The school sure the hell isn't gonna do it."
Paul never gave up on Johnny, but he did give him tough love.
Paul Manziel Thought Johnny Needed to Be Held Accountable
Following one of the greatest freshman seasons of all time, capped by a Heisman Trophy and a Cotton Bowl victory, the life of partying and being famous began to consume Manziel. Before his sophomore season, Manziel was investigated by the NCAA for profiting off signing autographs, and he was all over social media partying it up.
Despite all of this, Manziel was suspended for just one half of a game. However, Paul said at the time, "What Johnny needed was to be held accountable." And he would later say, "I think all of the expectations, the partying, the NCAA stuff, all the A&M, all the pressure, I think it changed him."
Following a disappointing sophomore season, Manziel would declare for the NFL Draft with hopes of going in the first round. While draft experts debated and NFL GMs scouted Manziel, Johnny maintained a low profile leading up to the NFL Combine. While Manziel would work out from sunrise to sundown, his agent was busy getting him endorsements, most notably with Nike. But Manziel's craving for the party life would get the best of him; and just days prior to the combine, would have a night out, sparking fears of failing a drug test. Luckily for him, he didn't.
After hours of waiting backstage for his name to be called, Manziel was finally selected by the Cleveland Browns with the 22nd overall pick. Despite being drafted in the first round, Manziel said, "[It] Didn't take me very long to be in Cleveland to find out that I wasn't going to be happy there ... And when I got everything that I wanted, I think I was the most empty I've ever felt inside."
Manziel would struggle with the balance of being a franchise quarterback and his party lifestyle, leading him to enter rehab. Upon returning to the team, it was said that Manziel looked to be on the right path and was lively again. But that hope quickly faded, as Manziel could not keep himself from hanging with the wrong people and getting back into the toxic nightlife he loved so much.
When Johnny Was at His Lowest, Paul Was There For Him
Eventually, Manziel's lifestyle would catch up to him, and he was cut from the Browns following his second season. And rather than turn things around, Manziel said he went on a "$5 million bender" with the plan to "spend as much money as I possibly could ... and to take my life. I wanted it to get as bad as humanly possible to where it made sense, and it made it seem like an excuse and an out for me." Manziel said he purchased a gun knowing that he was going to use it, but that when he went to pull the trigger, the gun just "clicked."
With so many bridges burned and his relationship with his family in question, Manziel turned to the one person he felt he could fall back on the most: his dad. Manziel had previously sought out help from his dad in 2013 during the autograph investigation that took place and knew that things had gotten far worse since then and were out of control.
"We're blessed and he's still with us. And we can mend all the fences still," Paul said in the documentary.
Manziel says not everything is quite right yet, and his family agrees that it will take more time for him to overcome his demons. But Manziel also says he's "on the pursuit of happiness in a way more simplistic form than I was years ago."
Johnny Manziel was a superstar at Texas A&M and will always be remembered for what he did on and off the field. But that does not mean he isn't human, and he faces battles like the rest of us. Although it may have taken Manziel reaching rock bottom to be a wake-up call, it seems he is on the path to living a happier and healthier life.
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