This holiday season, as we enjoy the Flem File's annual list of Turkey of the Year nominees, let's all first give thanks for Johnny Manziel, a truly changed man.
Yes, sure, Cleveland police say at 2:36 a.m. on Saturday (a work night in the NFL) the most famous backup quarterback in the world and his hangers-on were involved in a fight in the lobby of the Metropolitan at The 9 hotel in downtown Cleveland. Normally, professional clipboard caddies are happy to get any kind of attention at all from fans. But the important thing to focus on here is not Manziel's odd demeanor, his numerous social media gaffes -- the swan, the money phone or the rolled-up bills -- how he flipped off the Redskins' bench in the preseason or the fact that a guy who trademarked the name "Johnny Football" couldn't beat out a backup quarterback with one good leg.
What's important is how much Manziel has grown up since 2012, the last time he was involved in one of these late-night donnybrooks. Back then, at Texas A&M, a shirtless Manziel was arrested and charged with three misdemeanors at 3:24 a.m. -- 48 entire minutes later than this latest incident.
That's what passes for personal growth in the NFL these days.
According to Manziel's agent, the brawl occurred after the quarterback had been out to dinner with his mom when an overzealous Browns fan approached Manziel in the hotel lobby.
And you thought your family's Thanksgiving dinner was a bizarre, exhausting, passive-aggressive masterpiece?
One thing's for sure, this latest incident made Manziel a front-runner for this year's T.O.Y. Award.
Here are the other nominees.
JOHN BOYETT -- Police say the now former Broncos practice squad safety got into a drunken squabble with a cab driver and then tried to elude arrest by burying himself in mulch. After the Super Bowl, though, Denver fans were just glad to see a defender cover something.
JOSEPH FAURIA -- Lions tight end injured his ankle while potty training his puppy. It was a stupid, immature act by the dog that could have seriously injured a player. Is the dog's name Dominic Raiola?
JON BON JOVI -- Soundly rejected by Bills fans as a possible owner, the needy New Jersey singer immediately retaliated against fans by going back into the studio to record a new album.
DEE FORD -- Instead of tackling Frank Gore, Chiefs defender turns around, plays dumb and runs in the opposite direction of the challenge. It's called the Roger Goodell defense.
T.O.Y. RING OF HONOR (2008): FRISKY BILLS FANS -- During a game against the Jets, Buffalo law-enforcement officials arrested a couple having sex in a restroom of Ralph Wilson Stadium. I'm supposed to provide a wholesome punch line here suitable for all audiences, but everything I came up with includes the phrase "wide right."
CHARLIE WEIS -- Fired after going 6-22 at Kansas, Weis is now being paid nearly $25 million not to coach by the Jayhawks and Notre Dame. Responded Jay Cutler: "That seems fair."
T.O.Y. RING OF HONOR (1999): DION RAYFORD -- Still my absolute favorite turkey during the past 15 years. The Kansas football player wedged himself, Winnie the Pooh style, into the drive-thru window of a Taco Bell after becoming enraged that workers had left a chalupa out of his order.
BEARS DEFENSE -- Became first team in 91 years to give up 50 points in back-to-back games. Ya know, instead of disciplining tight end Martellus Bennett after he tackled a teammate in camp, the Bears should have named him their defensive captain.
WES WELKER -- Owns a horse called Undrafted. Wes, let it go, little buddy. Let. It. Go.
MIKE SMITH -- If only the Falcons' coach explored the intricacies of clock management as passionately and thoroughly as his nostrils.
T.O.Y. RING OF HONOR (2006): MITCH COZAD -- Cozad (pronounced: Gillooly), the backup punter at Northern Colorado, was convicted of second-degree assault after police accused him of stabbing the team's starting punter.
NFL OWNERS -- The Bills, who haven't had a winning record in a decade and haven't been to the playoffs in 15 years, were just sold for $1.4 billion. So, yes, of course the NFL owners are going to consider disciplining Roger Goodell for botching just about everything this season -- just as soon as they stop laughing.
T.O.Y. RING OF HONOR (2002): PETER FILANDIA -- This Australian Rules footballer was suspended 10 days for biting an opponent's testicles during a match. Just 10 days? That's nuts.
DREW BREES -- Saints QB, who got a megacontract in 2012 after threatening to hold out, immediately sided with front office when teammate Jimmy Graham tried to do the same thing. Gee, I wonder where the Saints' lack of chemistry comes from?
NFC SOUTH -- The 2-9 Bucs are still in the running to win the worst division in NFL history, unless the NFL decides to go with a more competitive replacement -- like the Washington Generals.
GENO SMITH -- If the Jets quarterback really can't decipher two different time zones, maybe he thinks this is all still the preseason.
PEYTON MANNING -- Calls out the Broncos' scoreboard operator for disrupting the game with silly antics. Now he knows what we feel like having to sit through all those Papa John's commercials.
T.O.Y. RING OF HONOR (2012): MATT SHANER -- Owner of the AFL's Pittsburgh Power fired his entire team during a pregame meal at an Olive Garden. I've been covering pro football on a national level for 17 years and I have to say that's the most vile, lowdown disgusting thing I've heard in a long time. A pregame meal at Olive Garden?
WASHINGTON REDSKINS -- Or, as I like to call them, the East Coast Raiders.
NORTH CAROLINA -- Tar Heels caused extensive damage with spray paint inside Duke's visiting locker room after a rare win over the Blue Devils. I normally try to limit T.O.Y. nominees to the NFL but decided to make an exception, just like the Tar Heels do with academic integrity.
LAMARR HOUSTON -- Both he and Detroit's Stephen Tulloch injured knees while celebrating sacks, but our judges are giving the nod to Houston because his Bears were down 25 points when he did it.
DWAYNE GRATZ -- Jags cornerback arrested for disorderly intoxication and trespassing after allegedly trying to make grocery store purchases with bubble gum. The Jags are paying players with gum? This actually explains a lot.
T.O.Y. RING OF HONOR (2013): NATE BURLESON -- Lions receiver breaks arm after sliding pizza causes him to crash his car. The rest of the world calls this completely nuts and bizarre. Lions fans call it Tuesday.
JOSEPH RANDLE -- Dallas running back arrested for stealing underwear and perfume. I am in no way condoning what he did, but 40 bucks for boxers? Who's robbing whom again?
BUSY COACHES -- Albert Einstein worked as a patent clerk while simultaneously reinventing physics, but some NFL coaches want you to believe football is so complicated and time-consuming they can't possibly be bothered to answer a few questions from the media.
ARROWHEAD CONCESSIONS -- A recent investigation found mouse feces on the same trays as pizza dough inside the Chiefs' stadium. At least I now know where to ship leftovers from my aunt's green bean and oyster Thanksgiving casserole.
LIONS KICKERS -- Have now missed an NFL-high 12 field goals. These guys make the Tigers' bullpen seem clutch.
SAMMY WATKINS -- Bills wideout blows touchdown by celebrating too early. There are people who don't see anything remotely funny about this mistake. Their names are Danny Trevathan, DeSean Jackson and Leon Lett.
SIO MOORE AND KHALIL MACK -- Their ill-timed celebration almost cost the Raiders a rare win. How rare? German scientists built, launched and sent a probe 300 million miles into space where they landed it on a comet traveling 85,000 mph in less time than the Raiders have needed to build a competitive football team.
YOUR NOMINEE HERE -- Who did I miss? Feel free to tweet me (@FlemESPN) your nominees. Yes, of course, you can nominate me.
Have a great Thanksgiving and remember, dear Flem Filers, you're all Turkeys of the Year to me.