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Is Kyle Field really “The House That Johnny Built,” or “The House the SEC Built?”

Johnny Manziel

Texas A&M’s entrance to the SEC and the birth of Johnny Football hysteria happened to meet at an intersection at the best possible time in 2012. As the Aggies ditched the Big 12 in search of an escape from the shadows of a controlling program in Austin and a more lucrative opportunity to receive a bigger slice of conference revenue, Johnny Manziel gave te football program a new energy that could not have come at a better time. Manziel helped lead Texas A&M through a successful debut season in the SEC, knocking off top-ranked Alabama in Tuscaloosa, winning a Heisman Trophy and leading the Aggies to a Cotton Bowl victory over former Big 12 foe Oklahoma.

For everything Manziel has done for the Texas A&M football program, recognition for years to come in College Station is warranted. One Texas A&M regent wants Kyle Field, the home of the Texas A&M Aggies football team, to now be referred to as The House That Johnny Built in an official capacity. He’s actually serious about this.

There is no denying the impact Manziel had in putting Texas A&M on the map, but the biggest reason Kyle Field is being expanded is because of the move the school made to the SEC and the larger paychecks that come with the move.

Texas A&M announced the comprehensive stadium renovation plans for Kyle Field in May 2013, the spring after Manziel’s Heisman season. The plans are well underway, leading to the cancellation of the spring game and should be completed in full in time for the start of the 2015 season. Stadium expansion likely would have come in time whether Manziel was in College Station or not, because the support for the school is plentiful and a move to the SEC came with plenty of support and enthusiasm.

So is the renovated Kyle Field a result of Manziel mania? Or is the future SEC money coming in more of a factor? Given that few knew who Manziel was when the school announced a move to the SEC to thunderous applause, Manziel’s impact may be slightly exaggerated when it comes to this issue.

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24 Responses to “Is Kyle Field really “The House That Johnny Built,” or “The House the SEC Built?””
  1. manik56 says: May 12, 2014 9:33 PM

    Ohio Stadium is UNOFFICIALLY known as the “House that (Chic) Harley built.” The moniker seemed to have disappeared over the years until the local media (Bob Hunter) brought it back in recent years (They also retired Harley’s #47).

    If Aggies really want to honor Johnny Manziel that way fine, but officially call it “Kyle Field: The House that Johnny Built” is embarrassing. Has Schwertner ever heard the term “act like you have been there before”? This is as bad as retiring a players number on senior day.

  2. bender4700 says: May 12, 2014 9:54 PM

    Seriously. He played two seasons. He didn’t stay long enough to know how to spell Kyle Field.

    I’d say it’s the house that the BIG XII built.

    The SEC? Seriously. TWO seasons? TWO!!!!!!! Did A&M go from Wake Forest level to where they are now in TWO years? NOOOO. A&M was banking money while in the Big XII as one of the 4 big schools making a lot of cash.

    TEXAS helped build A&M. Helped bring them back into the national spotlight, and Texas stepping back, not by choice, allowed A&M to take the lead in the state. Had Mack Brown recruited Manziel we aren’t even talking about A&M in this degree, they still expand the stadium, and are still in the SEC. But Manziel would have been a Longhorn.

    Does everyone’s memory only go back 2 or 3 years?

    Had the Big XII not allowed Texas to do their own network, but create the Big XII Network, they too would have increased dramatically in value. Texas made it clear, they were going to use their position, and the conference to maximize their profits. So Mizz, Colorado, Nebraska, and A&M all said see ya later. Despite A&M being amongst Oklahoma, Nebraska, and Texas as a school making a lot. They are increasing that by going to the SEC, but they would have probably made more in the natural growth they would have gotten in the Big XII. Bigger slice, and two fewer schools to split (SEC does it equally if I’m not mistaken, the Big XII does not).

    Nebraska just built a whole new addition to the stadium. Is that “House that Taylor Martinez” Built? Or the “House that years of a solid program improving and college football money increasingly by a large margin in recent years” built.

    Texas A&M is a very happy recipient of an major increase in college sports. As is nearly every member of the “Big 5/6” mostly. Manziel helped, sure, but this was already going that way. A&M isn’t a full member of the SEC yet right? They would have made more, in the Big XII. Nebraska did the same thing, actually missed out on some money but the long term growth is too good.

    Everyone seems to forget the Big XII was a VERY strong conference before the split, TV deals, own network, all that stuff would have rivaled any conference. But because of the split, that stuff didn’t come to be, and the Big XII struggles with it’s 10 member league. Well 8 of the members struggle.

  3. Deb says: May 12, 2014 10:19 PM

    bender4700 …

    The writer isn’t trying to suggest the SEC played any role in building the historic program at A&M. He’s just suggesting the influx of money from aligning with the SEC is more responsible for the school being able to expand Kyle field than two years of Manziel Mania. And he’s right. A&M always had a loyal fan following. But while Manziel certainly attracted more national attention to the football program, I doubt he significantly increased revenues. The SEC, on the other hand, did.

  4. justanobserver says: May 12, 2014 10:32 PM

    Fanciful constructs aside, I think it’s a far simpler matter. The “new” Kyle Field is the house that Texas A&M and its administrators built and credit should be given where credit is due. Indeed, the oft-maligned in such matters — the university’s admins — made the right decisions for A&M when the opportunities arose. Johnny Football and the SEC are merely ancillary players.

    More succinctly:

    1. Texas Aggie administrators correctly did what good administrators do. They recognized that to be the best A&M could be in any competitive environment it needed the best, most modern facilities it could construct. It rightly chose to do so.

    2. To be in the most competitive arena for its athletic program A&M needed to avail itself of the opportunity being offered to it through affiliation with the SEC. It chose to do so, casting aside the self-serving, faux-emotionalism coming out of Austin and elsewhere.

    3. They, along with the rest of Aggieland, embraced Johnny Football; treated him well — as he did Aggie fans. But A&M football was here before JF and will be long afterwards because the people who were in position to make the best decisions for the Aggies did so when the time was right.

    justanobsever — notanaggiefan

  5. justanobserver says: May 12, 2014 11:06 PM


    “Everyone seems to forget the Big XII was a VERY strong conference before the split, TV deals, own network, all … would have rivaled any conference. But because of the split …”


    You had it right earlier in your comment. It wasn’t the split involving NU, A&M, Colorado and Mizz that weakened the Big XII, it was the greed and arrogance of Texas — plain and simple. I admired the Aggie’s courage and smarts in joining the others in telling Texas they didn’t need them.

    If Oklahoma administrators had the same smarts and courage of the four programs that split, they too would have told Texas to go pound sand. Instead, they obviously think they need their Texas rivalry and the state’s recruits so badly they would march their program over a cliff to keep their Schooner hitched to Texas.

    Indeed, OU’s stupidity in this regard extends to such extremes, I fully expect to someday read that the other members of the Big XII have all left for other conferences — but the Longhorns and Sooners have formed the We-2.

  6. onlyoneleft says: May 12, 2014 11:15 PM

    The Aggies don’t need the SEC.

  7. amosalanzostagg says: May 12, 2014 11:35 PM


    Shoulda, coulda, woulda,

    The expansion of Kyle Field was well on the drawing board before Manziel even stepped on campus. The administration at Texas A&M recognized they opportunity
    with Manziel AND the SEC, and exploited it tho their advantage, big time.

    The Big 12 WAS a strong league. Now it’s glorified Big eight with two dominant programs ala Oklahoma and Nebraska WITH a regional TV footprint.

    Nice bit of revisionist history on Texas forming the Big 12 Network. Deloss and Texas did what they do every time and that was to do what was in their own best interests, period.

    Nebraska AD Tom Osborne asked Dodds directly in the summer AD meetings if the premise of the LHN to include all conference members or be Texas a exclusively. Dodd’s reply was succinct, direct and to the point. “The LHN was for Texas exclusively, particularly with Tier 3 broadcasts and for all other Texas sports, men and women’s.” Texas was NOT going to share and to this date, HAS not shared one
    dollar in revenue from the LHN with the Big 12 conference. Result Nebraska and Colorado said buh-bye soon to be followed by A&M and Missouri.

    Texas A&M and Missouri ARE full revenue members of the SEC from day one. Texas A&M AND Missouri more than paid for their membership in the first year of membership by the Texas and Kansas City/St Louis TV markets. The two additions gave the SEC a very strong basis for the SEC Network with Madison Avenue in very successful TV negotiations that is going to reap great long term revenue streams for ALL 14 members in the SEC.

    As Manziel being a longhorn,………..well, if my Aunt Sally had male parts, she’d be my Uncle. Using your flawed logic, Texas has had the last three Heisman Trophy winners since Mack “turned” down RGIII, Manziel, and Winston and won Texas’s FIFTH National championship.

    The truth hurts. The Big 12 is a mere shell of WHAT it once was. National Signing
    Day showed that when the Big 12 was FIFTH out of the 5 power conferences.
    (SEC, ACC, B1g and the PAC-12) and REALLY showed this past weekend in the NFL
    draft when the Big 12 squeaked by the MWC to be FIFTH in players selected with a mere 17 players, NONE from Texas.

    Cold hard fact is that Texas GAVE us the best Texas team and Missouri, GAVE us
    their TV markets, and the most important aspect, GAVE us unfettered access to ALL
    their High School athletes, boys and girls. For that we thank the University of Texas.


  8. coltzfan166 says: May 12, 2014 11:53 PM

    I go to A&M. We were planning to renovate the stadium as soon as we planned to move to the SEC three years ago.

  9. jc327 says: May 13, 2014 12:04 AM

    Cold hard facts… going to the SEC had a major hand in this. Manziel helped accelerate the process.

  10. gfj7000 says: May 13, 2014 12:47 AM

    The (2) year Manziel era is over. Thank goodness! We’ve been hearing his name TOO MUCH & TOO LONG. Now they’re thinking a secondary name to the A&M stadium should be named after him, ugh! (2) years and he’s a National Icon? you must be joking. So, was he overrated or not? Most definitely. Now we see the true picture with what the NFL teams think of him – Ha, Ha!! – Didn’t get picked til late in the 1st round – to LOWLY Cleveland? What a put-down to his ego. With his era over, are we STILL going to publicize his name after he’s out of CFB? Ugh! How many of the rest of the CFB cattle picked through 7 Draft rounds will the press be publicizing?

  11. longborer69 says: May 13, 2014 7:03 AM

    Heh. Those whose livelihood depends on serious evaluation (NFL draft decision makers) decided that one of his linemen and one of his receivers are both more important to the success of a football team than Johnny.

    So if the history of A&M is only two years old, Johnny still comes third (and that just counts this year’s drafted players).

    But sure, he built the house. Whatever.

  12. coolhorn46 says: May 13, 2014 9:25 AM

    …no dog in this hunt, as you can tell by my user name, but hey, if enough people over at the agricultural college want Manziel’s name associated with the rejiggered stadium, let it happen. Schools recognize their best players all the time, and Manziel was a once-in-a-lifetime player for them.

    Just a quick note on the Longhorn Network…when the idea was first floated for some kind of network, DeLoss Dodds approached Bill Byrnes, then the TAMU athletic director, to see if there was any interest in that school participating in the network. UT wanted TAMU to help out with the startup costs, and Dodds was virtually laughed out of Byrnes’ office. At the time, UT had no idea that they’d be partnering up with ESPN. It was ONLY after the ESPN deal that TAMU came back to UT to say that yeah, now they’d be interested in being part of the network. THAT was when Dodds said thanks, but no thanks. It was disingenuous, at best, for TAMU to later cite the LHN as a reason for moving to the SEC.

    I don’t disagree that during the Big XII’s troubles with the four departing schools, Dodds could have handled things with a lot more tact. Maybe that contributes to the fact that Dodds is no longer the UT athletic director. That being said, I’d like to see any school out there that would turn down a 15 million dollar plus deal with ESPN. The original idea was that the network would just serve as a small revenue-maker for UT and maybe one or more other schools. It’s not UT’s fault that ESPN came into the deal…but UT was certainly glad to do the deal with ESPN.

  13. Romulus says: May 13, 2014 9:33 AM

    @Amos ….
    Nebraska is not in the big 12 anymore. Might want to revisit that.


  14. tgaustin says: May 13, 2014 9:48 AM

    Ahhhhhhh, thank you AMOS the JACKASS for bringing up, as you put it, “that TEXAS gave “us” unfettered access to all their High School athletes, boys and girls”! Here are some interesting facts for you to choke on you ignorant fool:

    National Championships all time = 50 (Bama has 23)
    BIG 12 titles(since 1996) = 40
    Olympic Medals = 117…68 of them GOLD.

    Another little tidbit for you AMOS, Texas just landed Zack Gentry (QB) out of New Mexico…he chose Texas over Alabama!

    I love how people have crowned the Aggies since going to the SEC…they haven’t even finished better than 4th in conference play!!!

    I think you said it best with, “the truth hurts”…and “cold hard facts”!

  15. 8to80texansblog says: May 13, 2014 10:29 AM

    First and foremost… naming Kyle “The house that Johnny built” in any official capacity is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard and would NEVER happen. People at A&M, no matter how infatuated with the legend of Johnny Football, know that A&M football is much bigger than one player.

    The stadium renovation has WAY more to do with the move to the SEC than with Manziel. His Heisman season just happen to coincide and helped the A&M admins sell it to the donors. Attaching the stadium reno to Manziel is just a marketing ploy.

  16. diablos67 says: May 13, 2014 11:03 AM

    And just to add fuel to the fires….The aggies have yet to do better in the SEC as they did in the Big 12…Right in the Middle of the conference. Doesn’t matter whether its SEC or Big 12. They’re a middle of a conference player, bridesmaid never the bride.

  17. atlwmn says: May 13, 2014 11:18 AM

    How insulting to all the other players that have come through A&M, and to those who are still playing while little Johnny goes up to Cleveland. He built nothing but his own infamy, and A&M will thrive without him just fine.

  18. floridacock says: May 13, 2014 1:39 PM

    Actually the hiring of Eric Hyman as AD has more to do with it than Johnny Football. He built up South Carolina into a competitive SEC sports program, with first rate, NEW, facilities and will continue to do so at A&M. Good things are coming to the Aggies.

  19. 8to80texansblog says: May 13, 2014 4:37 PM

    I think moving to the SEC was one of the best moves that A&M could make but looking back on it now. But had A&M been in the Big 12 in 2012…. What could have been….

  20. barkleyblows says: May 13, 2014 7:54 PM

    Johnny Money!!!!

  21. amosalanzostagg says: May 13, 2014 11:21 PM



    That is all in the past. Texas owns an inferior league, big whoop.

    We ALL know of Texas stellar performance on Quarterbacks. McCoy(concussed out of the NFL), Vince Young(wunderliched out of the NFL and dropped by Cleveland for an Aggie).

    How did Gilbert work out for you? How about Ash?

    Mack passes on RGIII, Manziel and Winston and you’re seriously touting a QB out of New Mexico? Seriously? California, Ohio, Texas or Florida would be credible recruiting, but to tout the best QB out of New Mexico SHOWS how far Texas has fallen recruiting wise.

    Tgaustin, how many longhorns were drafted this past weekend out of all those magnificent
    recruiting classes by Mack?


    Keep taking your meds and exercising, that will stop the voices in your head.

    The SEC thanks you for giving us the right team from Texas, Texas gave the SEC your TV markets, and yes, you gave us unfettered access to your high school athletes. Think you own
    Thanksgiving night? LSU and A&M have their rivalry while you play your designated victim,
    WV or Iowa State or Kansas, which ever patsy Texas deems worthy to place on the schedule.


    P.S Saban is still not going to Austin even though you guaranteed it.

  22. amosalanzostagg says: May 13, 2014 11:36 PM


    and Tom Osborne isn’t AD any more. Why not do some reading on the actual subject or has Auburn not progressed beyond Cat in the Hat?


  23. amosalanzostagg says: May 13, 2014 11:41 PM


    Deloss did approach Byrnes on a joint network.
    The reason he was laughed out of Brynes office is the
    split arrangement. 60% Texas and 40% to Texas A&M
    and Texas owns the broadcast rights in perpetuity.

    Why get screwed again by Texas. Remember, Texas
    ALWAYS does what is in their best interest, ALWAYS.


  24. 8to80texansblog says: May 14, 2014 10:33 AM

    QB has been Texas’ problem since the 09 NCG. They had what I think was a really good one in Gilbert, but McCoy’s injury thrust him into a really bad spot against a really good D without any experience.

    Subsequently, his confidence is shaken, to make matters worse the longhorn faithful boo him out of the stadium and Texas doesn’t find another top flight QB. Consequently they have a very un-Macklike record for the next 4 years.

    I don’t know a whole lot about this Gentry kid, but he’s not a top 100 player. Rivals doesn’t have him ranked and 247sports has him at 187. Now Manziel was a 3 star and there are always great players that don’t get rated highly. He is solidly a 4 star guy though and Saban did want him. (BTW is this the first recruiting battle that Kiffin has lost for Bama…? might make Bama fans worried) I assume Gentry’s pretty good. The savior of Texas…. doubtful… Many Longhorn friends have told me they are hopeful Jerrod Heard is the next great UT QB.

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