Johnny Manziel’s football career is remembered in part for the non-football activities with which it interacted. Manziel is perhaps a better partier than he was a football player, which is impressive, considering he is part of the elite group who can call themselves both Heisman Trophy winners and first-round NFL draft picks.
Perhaps the most infamous example of Manziel’s off-field hijinks came in 2016, when “Johnny Football” got busted at a Las Vegas casino less than 12 hours before his team was scheduled to play in an NFL game in Cleveland, Ohio.
On this week’s episode of GOLF’s Subpar, Manziel dove into the story of his Sin City unraveling with Colt Knost and Drew Stoltz, including the rudimentary disguise he wore in vain.
“It’s really easy to get a private plane when you need to be back somewhere and not just flying coach,” Manziel said. “I had this whole thing planned out, fly out in the morning fly back at like 11:00 at night.”
In theory, Manziel’s plan was foolproof. In practice, not so much.
“At that point, I’d already spent seven hours in Vegas,” he said. “There was zero chance I was getting back in that plane and going back.”
Rather than plan his escape, Manziel tossed his phone aside, threw on a wig and went back out to the casino. He even gave himself a pseudonym, “Billy.”
Things were going swimmingly for Billy Football, right up until he sat down at the $500 blackjack table at the Hard Rock.
“I sit down and this guy next to me sees me throw my ID out to get ID’d,” Manziel said. “He didn’t even say anything to me. He walked over to all his buddies at a roulette table. From there, I knew it. At this point in time, I could feel when something’s going awry.”
Soon after, the story leaked, sending sports media ablaze. In an attempt to douse the flames and nix the story, Manziel posted a photo of his dog from his apartment in Cleveland.
“Your first instinct is like, ‘No, I’m not there, what are you talking about?’ ” “The dog picture, on the carpet, Cleveland, Ohio geotag. Needless to say that didn’t work.”
Today, the story is ancient history for Manziel, whose football career has given way to his passion for golf (he even played in last week’s Scottsdale Open). While he can laugh about it today, it’s a story he wishes he could have back.
“In the moment, yes. 10:30 the next day, Sunday, gameday in the NFL, no I didn’t.”
Watch Subpar’s whole interview with Manziel below, or subscribe to hear every episode with hosts Colt Knost and Drew Stoltz HERE.