As the legend of "Johnny Football" grew on Saturday night with the Aggies' 29-24 upset of top-ranked Alabama, it became clear that the family of Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel was putting itself in position to one day capitalize off his nickname.
"Texas A&M is working in concert with the Manziel family to trademark the nickname," said Shane Hinckley, who is assistant vice president of business development at the school and runs the Aggies' licensing program.
The news comes less than two weeks after an organization called Kenneth R. Reynolds Family Investments, based in College Station, Texas, filed for the "Johnny Football" trademark. The namesake of the investment company could be a former and since deceased Aggie booster of the same name. A lawyer listed on the trademark filing did not return a call seeking comment, but a university official confirmed the lawyer was not working with the school nor the Manziels.
In order to keep Manziel's eligibility intact, neither Texas A&M nor the family can sell products with Johnny Football that in any way hints of a connection to Manziel. The school can, and is expected to by the NCAA, stop vendors from doing so as well. Actually scoring a trademark often depends on using the mark in actual commerce, which means it could be years before the Manziel family actually owns it. It is also not clear at this time whether Manziel or someone else deserves to even own the trademark. The nickname has no history before Aggies players and fans started calling him that at the start of the season.
After the freshman quarterback helped the 15th-ranked Aggies beat Alabama in Tuscaloosa on Saturday, there's undoubtedly going to be demand for his jerseys.
Hinckley said his Aggie No. 2 hit the campus bookstore for the first time this season on Friday, with a bigger shipment coming on Monday. The only Aggies jersey numbers available this season have been the generic No. 1 and No. 12, a standard number available each year at Texas A&M, famous for its 12th man.
Manziel wasn't the clear starter when jersey numbers were ordered in February, so when the freshman got Heisman Trophy hot, the supply chain for the school's apparel partner, adidas, couldn't move fast enough to meet immediate demand.
Manziel now has his Aggies at 8-2 and if he continues his hot streak, don't expect those jerseys to be in stores for too long.