“The Harder I Partied, The Better I Played” – Johnny Manziel Explains How He Smelled Like A Liquor Store At College Practice

Johnny Manziel
Club Shay Shay Podcast

Johnny Manziel recently did a long-spanning interview with Shannon Sharpe, and Club Shay Shay is conveniently releasing clips for those who don’t have time to sit through the whole two-plus-hour interview.

Before he dropped 40 pounds on a “strict diet of blow” (Johnny Football’s own words) and flamed out of the NFL, he was arguably the biggest superstar in the history of college football. Nobody got more famous than Manziel faster once he beat Alabama on the road, dominated the SEC as a freshman and won the Heisman Trophy at Texas A&M. The crazy thing was, he was ripping up the best conference in the country while partying his face off.

Listening to Manziel break down his typical week at college, you wonder just how good he could’ve been if he’d fully committed to bettering himself as a player and a person. Instead, he was content to party with the baseball boys on Tuesday night, hit the town and get hammered on Thursday evenings, and attend walk-through practice “smelling like a liquor store.” Manziel would sweat out all the booze, crash out after practice, crash out after team meetings on Fridays, and be ready to ball out every Saturday without fail.

“The harder I partied, the better I played. My freshman year, Tuesdays and Thursdays…Tuesdays were beer with the baseball boys at the house playing games, and Thursdays were hitting Northgate, going to the town. Drunk as you could get with all the dogs.

Friday was the walk-through. I go the walk-through at 10:00 AM in the morning. Dying. [Smelling] like a liquor store… You can ask anybody that was on that team. I hit those walk-throughs hard. Handing the fake, I’m taking off down the sideline for 20-30 yards running. I’m sweating it out. We get on the plane, get to the hotel, meetings. [*mimics crashing out, sleeping*] This is the system — we’re winning.

“Now we’re 11-2, we beat Bama, and this whole year is Tuesday-Thursday, bang-bang, all week, every time like clockwork — every game of the season that year. And I’m getting better as it goes on! I ain’t losing a step!

Until that first offseason in 2013, that’s what I’m starting to smoke more weed. That’s when I’m partying a lot more, and then from there, I’m not taking care of myself in the way that I did the year before to go be special. My numbers in my second year were better!”

Throughout the interview with Sharpe, Manziel owns how much of an idiot he was back in the day, but in this clip in particular, he explains how he essentially felt invincible. Manziel’s sophomore season was even better than his first, and he was partying harder. He wasn’t putting in the time in the weight room anymore, nor was he really grinding to improve as a quarterback. And yet, he’d just keep producing on game days, which only enabled his fast-lane lifestyle.

Once Manziel landed in the NFL as a first-round pick of the Cleveland Browns, he couldn’t get away with all those shenanigans anymore. It’s a shame, because in the brief window during his second year as a pro, he did lock in to some degree. And he played pretty damn well, thanks in large part to the mentoring of journeyman QB Josh McCown. As Manziel says elsewhere in the Sharpe interview, though, his commitment then was never over the top, and he realized he didn’t love the game enough to be a successful QB in the pros.

To me, one of the greatest sports-related what-if’s will always be, “What if Johnny Manziel actually tried and wanted to be great in the NFL?” I really think he could’ve done it if he fully dedicated himself. We’ll never know for sure.

That said, had Manziel been more of a Boy Scout, we probably wouldn’t have had all these legendary stories that he continues to tell.

It’s commendable for Manziel to reflect on his failures and take accountability for pissing away his NFL career. I’d still call bull on that “not loving the game enough” front, though. I think Manziel did love the game. He was ultra competitive at Texas A&M and relished the big stage. However, he let his demons get the best of him, and realized that he couldn’t put in anywhere near the work that it’d take to succeed at the highest level of football. Or maybe he just didn’t want to at a certain point.

If I were Johnny Football, and I was partying all through college, dominating the SEC, and then got to the league and realized how out of my depth I was? Oof. That had to be such a rude awakening. Yes, he did it all to himself, but not a single person was keeping this dude in check. He was saying yes to everything. Eventually, it caught up to him in the worst way.

PS here’s the full Manziel-Sharpe interview.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock