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Memphis Express Acquire Johnny Manziel; Is There Reason to Bet Their 150-1 Championship Odds?

Robert Duff

by Robert Duff in AAF

Updated Apr 7, 2020 · 8:09 PM PDT

Johnny Manziel throwing
Johnny Manziel has begun practicing with the Memphis Express of the AAF. Photo from @aafexpress (Twitter)
  • QB Johnny Manziel has signed with the AAF’s Memphis Express
  • At 1-5, the Express are the worst team in the fledgling league
  • Manziel has already failed stints in the NFL and CFL

The good news for Johnny Manziel is that he’s back in pro football. The bad news is that Manziel is back with the worst team in the first-year Alliance of American Football, the Memphis Express.


Memphis is 1-5 so far this season and is given the longest odds to win the AAF championsip.

2019 AAF Championship Odds

Team Odds
Orlando Apollos +120
Arizona Hotshots +400
Birmingham Iron +450
San Antonio Commanders +500
San Diego Fleet +750
Salt Lake Stallions +2000
Atlanta Legends +4000
Memphis Express +15000

*Odds taken on March 19

The Express are last in the AAF in scoring offense, putting up more than 20 points just once in six games. They’re averaging 15 points per game and putting up a paltry 143.1 yards per game in passing offense.

Manziel’s (Final) Opportunity Knocking?

If you’re Manziel, are you an optimist or a pessimist at this point? In fact, the same rationale would apply were you thinking about betting Manziel.

The 2012 Heisman Trophy winner signed with his third pro football league when he inked a deal with the Express. Manziel has already failed stints in the NFL with the Cleveland Browns and the CFL with both the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Montreal Alouettes.

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If you’re Manziel, are you viewing this opportunity from the point of view of the third time being a charm? Or should he be digging in and take a baseball player’s approach to the situation, recognizing that three strikes and you’re out?

Johnny Football’s Express Lane To Success?

Memphis has already experimented with one failed former NFL QB. Ex-New York Jet Christian Hackenberg was benched after going 0-3 and gave way to Zach Mettenberger.

But Mettenberger – who played college ball against Manziel when he was at LSU and Johnny Football was at Texas A&M – suffered an ankle injury in last week’s 22-9 loss to the Salt Lake Stallions.

Brandon Silvers replaced Mettenberger under center. In six games, Express QBs have thrown more interceptions (five) than touchdown passes. And they’ve also been the victims of a weak offensive line, suffering 10 sacks the past two weeks.

A mobile QB like Manziel could help alleviate some of the latter issues.

Is He Johnny On The Spot?

Hardly. Let’s be honest here: Manziel hasn’t exactly fulfilled the hero’s role since he went to the Cleveland Browns with the 22nd pick of the NFL Draft.

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In two seasons with the Browns – 15 games and eight starts – he threw as many TD passes as interceptions (seven each), posting a 79.4 passer rating.

With the Alouettes, in eight games he was picked off seven times, threw for five TDs and finished with a passer rating of 80.6.

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Manziel won’t be taking Memphis to an AAF title. The odds on the Express winning it all jumped from +7500 to +15000.

On the other hand, he may not be down to his last chance.

The XFL plans a second coming in 2020.

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