Columns & Blogs

On Johnny Football, unbeaten football and forgetting football to remember Hornets

Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel hasn’t yet learned to live in a world of adults who expect him to grow up, too.
Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel hasn’t yet learned to live in a world of adults who expect him to grow up, too. AP

Welcome to Tom Talks, the sports talk show of the printed page. You know the drill. You ask and I answer. Let’s go to the telephones.

Tom, Cathy from Carthage. What do you think of Cleveland quarterback Johnny Football Manziel?

I think Johnny has trouble functioning in a world made up of adults, who expect him to join them.

Tom, Cal from Carolina Shores. I noticed that you have picked the Carolina Panthers to win every game they played this season. Why is that?

I thought the Panthers would beat Jacksonville, Houston, New Orleans, Tampa Bay, Seattle and Philadelphia. I was wary when I picked them to beat Seattle and am wary of Philadelphia, which I also picked them to beat. There are people who, based on their feedback, depend on my picks. I would be kind of dumb to pick the team I don’t think will win.

Do you think you’ll pick against the Panthers this season?

I had them going 10-6. So, yes I do.

Tom, Amanda from Altamahaw-Ossipee.

Altamahaw-Ossipee sounds like something you’d do. It’s not a place.

Then why do I live there? Why don’t you rip NBC studio analyst Rodney Harrison for his constant criticism of the Panthers?

I like Harrison. Unlike some former players, his emphasis is not on how he delivers an opinion but on his opinion. He’s not a showman, and he has something to say. He might be right about the Panthers and their perceived absence of offensive weapons. But I think he, and almost everybody else, fails to appreciate Ted Ginn Jr. Ginn might not have been appreciated by his other employers. But Carolina appreciates him. Ginn and Carolina receivers’ coach Ricky Proehl have a bond, and it shows. Proehl will be an NFL head coach someday.

Tom, Walt from Whispering Pines.

Speak up, I can’t hear you.

Aren’t you funny? You guys write so much about the Panthers do you even realize the Charlotte Hornets are about to open their season?

I even do. The Hornets open the season Wednesday in Miami and play their home opener Sunday Nov. 1 at 2 p.m. It’s a Panther-free Sunday; Carolina plays the Indianapolis Colts Monday night. Nice weekend to be a sports fan in Charlotte.

Tom, Nicole from Navassa. Can you give us any inside tips on the Carolina-Philadelphia game Sunday night?

Under Chip Kelly, the Eagles are 9-3 versus the spread in road games. Under Cam Newton, the Panthers are 15-8 versus the spread at home.

What’s it mean?

Not much, but it’s all I have.

Tom, Tim from Tobaccoville.

Did you know that I’ve never smoked a cigarette?

I hope you take pride in ruining the state crop. What do you think of Appalachian State football this season?

The Mountaineers handled a good Georgia Southern team Thursday. In the days of Armanti Edwards the Mountaineers added so much to football season in the Carolinas. Love to see them do it again. That’s a good school with a good program and a good tradition.

Tom, Helen from Hays. Do you think Rick Pitino knew what was going on at Louisville?

I don’t know. Did North Carolina basketball coach Roy Williams know what was going on with the shadow classes at North Carolina? Evidence never proved that he did. I have no idea what Pitino knew. I don’t like to guess on matters such as these because we’re talking about a man’s career and his legacy.