I know I’m late to the party. This letter was put into the public domain shortly after the opening game of the season against Rice.
However, I was doing more important things at the time such as washing my hair, arranging my toothpick collection and looking at pictures of weasels on the internet.
The letter scribbled by Beth Bates had yet to get onto my radar. Her main beef was that she was sick of having to explain Johnny Effin’ Football’s antics to her sixth-grade son.
I’ll be honest, I have no idea what age a ‘sixth-grader’ is. Back in England, we have no such things as grades. Just ‘year six, year seven, year eight’ etc.
I’m guessing he’s pretty young though.
Regardless of his age, I thought I’d even things up by writing my own open letter to Jonathan Paul Manziel.
Here it is:
I am not a mother. I do not have a sixth-grade son (that I know of). I am not from your hometown.
Instead, I am an Englishman that has clocked up over 20,000 miles since August just to watch you play each week at Kyle Field.
A couple of years ago, I didn’t even like what us Brits call ‘American Football’. I always thought there were far too many commercials, it was too stop-start and the fact games would kick off at 1.30am English time was a massive pain in the bottom.
My folks eventually moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. When I’d go and visit them, people would only talk about one thing. Football. Naturally, I started to get into it.
Watching the Steelers was great fun but something felt like it was missing. There was never one player that made me sit in awe or jump out of my seat with excitement.
Until I saw you do your thing against Florida last September. From that first play, I was hooked. Quite simply, you made me fall in love with the sport.
Everything about that game, the stadium, the fans, you scrambling, made me want to sample it first hand. I needed a piece of that pie.
I’ve just spent the last few months in College Station and it’s surreal to think that if I hadn’t watched that game, or discovered your abilities, I would never have experienced one of the most special places I’ve ever been to.
Yes, people love to bring up your mistakes. But these people forget one thing. The most important thing. You’re still just 20-years-old. I bet all the people that have a pop at you were certainly no angels when they were 20.
They will of course respond by saying ‘well, we weren’t Heisman Trophy winners’. That is the weakest argument of them all. So, just because you won a two-foot high bronze award, you have to automatically be as boring as Tim Tebow? Do me a favor.
Sorry to bring up two words you probably want to forget. Manning Camp. But this was the perfect example of how things were being totally blown out of proportion.
Half of the media thought your decision to leave the camp wasn’t the best idea, but didn’t think it was the end of the world. The other half though, were acting like you went out on the piss, started taunting Peyton about having less rings than Eli, then finished off the evening by planting a right hook on their father, Archie.
It was ridiculous. Since those dark offseason days, you have kept your nut down and stayed out of trouble and limited how many headache tablets that Coach Sumlin has had to take.
But more importantly, you’ve done yourself and Texas A&M justice. Will you win another Heisman Trophy? Only time will tell.
If you don’t though (you’ve been robbed), we can all say that we were extremely lucky to witness what you’ve achieved.
You are rare. Very rare. You are one sportsman that when you play, every single person in the room will stop what they are doing just to watch what crazy move you will pull next. There really is nothing like it.
It makes me genuinely sad that we may only have two more games of watching you play in the maroon and white.
PS. Please feel free to stay in Aggieland for another year. Or two.
Read the blog of the author = Footballosophy: The Journey of An Englishman in Aggieland
Follow the author on Twitter: @GigEmNation