Johnny Manziel wasted no time in proving that he can move the needle for television networks.
Saturday night’s preseason game between the Cleveland Browns and the Detroit Lions drew the highest ratings ever for a preseason game on the NFL Network, according to the Sports Business Journal, surpassing the 2007 Hall of Fame Game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New Orleans Saints.
The game reportedly drew 2.82 million viewers, 36 percent higher than the previous record of 2.07 million. The high ratings can be attributed to the much-anticipated debut of Manziel, who is currently competing with Brian Hoyer to be Cleveland’s starting quarterback.
In the game, Manziel completed seven of 11 passes for 63 yards and added 27 rushing yards on six carries. Meanwhile, Hoyer, who started the game, completed 6-of-14 passes for 92 yards. Neither quarterback threw a touchdown as the Browns lost, 13-12.
The two gunslingers are neck-and-neck at the moment, and Browns coach Mike Pettine has not indicated who will start opening week. That said, Manziel is reportedly in the lead after the first preseason game.
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