In speaking with Bill O'Brien about local media, I gave my unsolicited opinion on what was about to go down with Johnny Manziel being available for the number one pick. It's the same comparison I used eight years ago when Vince Young was draft eligible. And I knew that being a New Englander, O'Brien would easily understand the regional mayhem surrounding Manziel with the mention of just one name: Doug Flutie.
Flutie to New Englanders was what Johnny Football is and what Vince Young was to many Houstonians; a profoundly effective, legendary college player who ignites wildly varying opinions on how he will turn out as a pro.
Now, before you go saying to yourself that Manziel is better than Flutie or VY, that's not what we're talking about here. We're simply addressing the fever that a 'local' legend can stir.
Not that Flutie was any slouch. He won a Heisman too and left college as the NCAA's all time leading passer (Now he's 59th on the list. How times have changed). He bolted for the USFL but the debate raged in Boston as to how good he could be. And by the time he showed up in Foxboro in 1987, he was a walking quarterback controversy. Seemingly unable to lose in his home stadium, Coach Raymond Berry was reluctant to play him.
Vince Young left college with the 3rd highest QB rating in the country in his final year. His National Championship performance was one of the great games played by a quarterback in the history of the sport. You thought so too but you might not remember. But there were plenty of doubters to go along with the passionate VY believers as the fans 'helped' the Texans ponder their decision.
Johnny Football has as many plusses and minuses as Flutie and VY did going into the draft. He might be an all time great and he might not pan out as hoped. But he's causing major commotion and sometimes heated radio and water cooler talk in Houston. The plot will continue to thicken as we get closer to the draft.