Johnny Football is back…sort of. Johnny Manziel, former Heisman Trophy winner, had himself quite the introduction in his Saturday night debut for the FCF’s Zappers football club. From star QB at Texas A&M, atop the apogee of college football greatness, to one of modern day football’s biggest busts, to playing in an indoor football league run completely by fans via Twitch. What a story.
Johnny Manziel in his FCF debut completed 1 of 5 passes for 11 yards. He had 67 yards on eight carries including a TD and an opening drive 38 yard scramble on the first play of the game. This play would be the closest thing to Johnny Football the fans would see during the course of the game.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m far from a Manziel fanatic. I am glad to see he is at least trying to stay busy with activities other than playing musical chairs from cop car to cop car, however. In a world that has become almost forced to digest everything via social media, streamer football might be a hit. It also might give Johnny a little more momentum as he tries to steer clear of his wild reputation. Only time will tell.
Manziel’s Journey To The FCF
After being cut by the Browns after an abysmal two-year stint in Cleveland in 2015, Johnny Manziel would be out of football for the next three years. In 2018, Manziel decided to take his talents north of the border to play for the CFL’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats. However, Manziel would spend the first six weeks of the 2018 season on the bench for Hamilton. Despite contract negotiations regarding a two-year deal, the Tiger-Cats would trade Manziel to the Montreal Alouettes halfway through the season.
Manizel’s tenure in Montreal would also be brief. He throw for a total of 1,290 yds with 5 TD and 7 interceptions. Following the 2018 season, he was barred by the CFL for missing mandatory lithium test meetings. Manziel’s next stop would be in 2019, playing for the Memphis Express in the new Alliance of American Football (AAF). However, after eight weeks of football the AAF would file for bankruptcy and cease operations. The trails of this journeyman have led us to this point, landing a role as starting QB in the next Spring football cash grab known as the FCF.
What Is The FCF?
FCF, short for Fan Controlled Football, is branded as a new modified football league where “fans call the shots.” The FCF is a four team, 7-on-7 matchup in games that last approximately one hour. Fans have the ability to call the plays, choose their lineups and watch the games live on Twitch. The games are played on 50 yard fields and are designed for fast paced action over roughly 60 minutes.
Dollars and Cents
You may be wondering how much a player in the FCF is making? Well I can tell you that they are not signing multi-million dollar contracts that’s for sure. Players in the FCF make about $400 to $750 dollars as a weekly minimum, plus room and board. Therefore, players make an estimated $1,600 to $3,000 dollars a month off of salary. The highest paid athletes will earn around $4,500 for their salary throughout the season. Compared to similar startup football leagues such as the XFL and AAF, whose average salaries were about $55,000 and $70,000 respectively, players in the FCF are making peanuts.
The league has cut financial corners by having each team use the same practice facility. They also have one head coach for every team and one position coach for each set of players. Some famous names have jumped in on the opportunity to own an FCF team, with Marshawn Lynch, Quavo, Austin Ekeler, and AEW wrestler Miro all participating as co-owners amidst a ton of other marquee names.
Similar to the NBA bubble, games will be hosted at the same venue over the course of six weeks and said venue has been transformed into a virtual friendly television studio to enable easy accessibility and an engaging experience to viewers on Twitch. In an age where creativity has become an outlet for the struggles regarding the pandemic, it is not crazy to think that this league could very well work. Twitch has become a premier platform for gamers and streaming, therefore the idea of having active Twitch users control a league of their own sounds pretty interesting. Just hope to God the streamer calling your plays knows their football.
What Manziel Makes Of Playing In The FCF
Manziel’s thoughts on the FCF? “A big reason I’m here is I’m a little bored. I’ve been playing golf five days a week, hanging with my boys and playing cards and running around Scottsdale having a blast with a great group of friends that I’ve acquired out there. But I don’t have much of a schedule unless I create one, and I haven’t really created one,” Manziel told USA Today.
Perhaps Manziel’s journey into the FCF is a story of redemption, perhaps one forging a path back to the NFL. Manizel thinks otherwise, telling USA Today “Even if I got an opportunity to go back to the NFL, I don’t think I would take it. This isn’t me trying to be a comeback, redemption-type of tour for me to go back and play football anymore moving forward. After I play here, I probably won’t pick up a football again for another year, two, or maybe even longer than that. This is just an opportunity that got presented to me to get around a bunch of good guys who I feel like we’ll make great business connections with and I’ll have a lot of fun while I’m doing it.”
Will the Fan Controlled Football League be here to stay? Or will it be yet another unsuccessful spring football startup keeping us occupied until the return of the XFL in 2022? In the meantime I hope Johnny Manziel goes off and brings a chip back to the Zappers.