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In many ways, Johnny Manziel brings back memories of Tim Tebow

Tebow started the final three games of his rookie season. Manziel will get a chance to do the same.

Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Johnny Manziel will get his first NFL start today when his Browns take on the Bengals.

As a football enthusiast that has covered the Broncos since 2008, I can't help but think of Tim Tebow when I think about the Manziel situation. That's not a slight against Manziel, it's just what comes to mind.

Both players dominated in college and were questioned entering pros

Manziel dominated at Texas A&M, winning the Heisman Trophy as a freshman. Tebow dominated at Florida and won the Heisman as a sophomore. Both made plays with their legs. Tebow was criticized by scouts for his unorthodox throwing motion. Manziel has been criticized for his off-the-field troubles.

Both replaced struggling veterans

Where's Tebow today?

Tebow was in a very different situation than Manziel is in today. When Tebow took over, Denver was 3-10 and eliminated from the playoffs. Manziel is taking over a 7-6 Browns team fighting for a playoff berth.

But both replaced struggling veterans to provide a spark on offense.

Kyle Orton struggled mightily in 2010, throwing nine interceptions, fumbling four times (losing all of them), and being sacked 34 times. Tebow provided a spark.

This year, Brian Hoyer has thrown 12 interceptions, fumbled four times, and has been sacked 21 times. Cleveland hopes Manziel will provide a spark.

Whether you like them or not, you can't help but watch

Tebowmania was well-documented. Manzielmania will be a similar story.

Before Manziel was officially named starter, only Texas and Ohio (and surrounding areas) were scheduled to get the Browns game on FOX. Once the news became official, FOX changed their coverage plans:

Manziel, like Tebow, is exciting to watch. Manziel, like Tebow, will draw killer ratings.

Tebow ended up going 1-2 as a rookie. To earn a playoff spot, Cleveland is counting on Manziel to top that mark. We'll all be watching.