The eyes of the football world was on Johnny Manziel as he hit the field for this pro day late Thursday morning. NFL Network had live coverage. ESPN had live coverage. Everyone was on their Twitter trying to get all the updates. It was a major event for one of the most talked about draft prospects in recent years.
Manziel came out to a playlist of current rap and hip hop tracks which included Rick Ross and Drake. The music blared over the the practice facility as George Bush, Sr. and his wife Barbara watched on. Manziel had a very good showing and the overall individual pro day was a success.
Out of all that, Nike ended up as the winner for the entire event.
Normally on pro days, players will wear a shirt and shorts and just do their normal workout. But for Manziel, he opted to go with the helmet and shoulder pads for the workout. And camouflage shorts. While scouts marveled at the bold decision (and reporters tweeting about it), Nike saw that as the opportunity to market their own product.
Nike recently signed Manziel to their team and this was the first public appearance in which Manziel was seen doing football activities wearing Nike. Texas A&M football is outfitted by Adidas and for the past couple years, we’ve seen Manziel wear Adidas. But now that Manziel is no longer obligated to wear Adidas, he trots out wearing a black nike jersey with Nike socks and Nike cleats. The rest of the receivers he threw to remained in their Aggies Adidas gear. Manziel stood out as the only one in Nike.
Was it Nike’s decision to have Manziel wear the pads so he can put on that Nike jersey? If it was, it was a great marketing decision. The pads drew attention to what Manziel was wearing from head to toe. People noticed Nike in the sea of Adidas. It was perfect.
Manziel performed well and even during the post-practice interviews, Nike was front and center. All eyes were on Manziel. All eyes were on what he was wearing. All eyes were on Nike.
And right as the workout ended, Nike these updates on social media. Nike wins.