Mike Pettine might be a rookie head coach, but he's got plenty of experience in dealing with the circus. As Rex Ryan's defensive coordinator in 2012, Pettine saw first hand what life is like under the big top thanks to the presence of Tim Tebow.
"The circumstances are different," Pettine said. "Tebow was an established NFL player, he wasn't coming in as a rookie, unproven. It's a little easier for us with Manziel because he understands he earned Johnny Football as a college player and nobody understands it more than him. It's like, 'Listen, I don't want to be named starter coming out of the draft.'"
Pettine pointed out any criticism over Manziel not being named the starter is unfounded, mainly because of the "process" he needs to go through in order to win the job.
Johnny Manziel's circus is 'easier' than the one surrounding Tim Tebow.
"People criticize us for referring to him as a backup. That's what he is," Pettine said. "It would have been a disservice to the other 80-some players in the locker room and it would have been a disservice to him carrying that burden of 'What have you done to deserve this?' We all want him to be successful but there is a process that has to occur and he has to go through it."
No word on whether that process includes diving on inflatable swans or having the gall to get drafted by the San Diego Padres.
Obviously I kid: I'm with my colleague Jason La Canfora in believing we'd all sleep a little easier at night if we would just embrace Manziel's off-field antics and live vicariously through the kid.
The biggest problem for Manziel amid all the hype will be whether he struggles to succeed early on. If he does, people will point (quickly I might add) to whatever he did this offseason as the reason why.
In that respect he's no different than Tebow. But the rabid, arguing fanbase on either side of the Manziel argument is probably a touch more sane than the one Pettine saw in New York.