The Johnny Manziel mothership has finally landed in the NFL (in Cleveland, Ohio to be exact), and with it has come Manziel mania. In the week since "Johnny Football" was drafted no. 22 overall by the Browns, the Texas native has been asked about hanging out with Drake, drinking champagne at a post-draft party, and bringing LeBron James back to Cleveland. There were football questions, sure, but they all took a back seat to the celebrity who is Johnny Manziel.
One topic that wasn't brought up but probably should have been, is the potential of Johnny Manziel from a marketing standpoint. The Browns announced they sold over 2,300 season tickets from the time Manziel was selected on Thursday night until 5:00 p.m. the next day. Manziel's jersey is currently the top seller on NFL.com. Even before he was drafted, Manziel's Pro Day collection was available for purchase at Nike.com.
Manziel has already signed a sponsorship deal with the Beast of Beaverton.
So the logical next question becomes, Will Johnny Manziel receive his own signature cleat from Nike? In contrast to the NBA, the NFL is relatively devoid of athletes with their own kicks. Aside from Calvin Johnson's CJ81, the new adidas RG3, and the Under Armour Highlight, a cleat that doesn't carry Cam Newton's name but is regarded as his "signature" shoe, there aren't a lot of options for rocking your favorite player's shoes out on the field.
And for good reason. According to Matt Powell, sneakerologist for Sports One Source, 5 million pairs of football cleats were sold last year. Just 100,000 of them were the UA Highlight and 40,000 were the CJ81. With so many cleat options available and with the few signatures out there getting little traction, it probably isn't smart for Nike to push out a Manziel signature cleat.
But just because it probably won't happen doesn't mean it shouldn't. Manziel has instantly become one of the most polarizing figures in the NFL, and he has already shown an affinity for kicks. He has a bigger personality than Newton and more star power than Johnson. A signature cleat would not only enhance his personal brand, it would give Nike a shot at successfully breaking into the football cleat market, which Johnson and Darrelle Revis (who has a football training shoe) have so far not allowed them to do.
People are already imagining what a Manziel cleat might look like. Artist Quintin Williams created the above orange, brown and black model as a potential option for Nike. It looks awesome.
So will Manziel get his own signature cleat? The answer is probably no. But should he? Absolutely.
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