A Word on #85

by Ryan

A few weeks ago a rumor floated around that Chad Johnson was changing his name to Ocho Cinco. If you heard it, well, you probably weren’t all that surprised. You see, Chad Johnson sort of has that reputation, and well, it was just a rumor.

Well, yesterday it was reported on a few blogs that he actually went through with it. Okay, your old school pragmatism kicked in and thought “well, it’s not on a major news site, so it’s probably just a rumor.”

Today the Associated Press picked it up.

Now.

I think it’s safe to say that Chad Johnson is one of the best wide outs in the league, and he certainly does perform on the field. However, I think at this point it’s also safe to say that he is absolutely crazy. Like, completely, absolutely, over the moon out of his mind.

However, that’s why we love him so much. I mean, he says he’s going to go out there and have fun, but he’s making it just as fun for the rest of us. Just take a look at his Wiki page and tell me you can keep a straight face while reading it.

On June 9, 2007, Ocho Cinco raced a thoroughbred racehorse over a furlong (220 yards) for charity. Ocho Cinco, given a 110-yard head start, beat the horse by twelve lengths.

Hilarious.

Now I know what some of you may be thinking: just another troubled NFL wide receiver. Sure, Ocho Cinco has caused some problems with Marvin Lewis and asking to be traded, but when you look at the other problems on that team, I think he’s a minor concern at best. If Lewis was as stern a coach as people think he is, Chris Henry would not be on that team. Again.

Compared to the other jumpsuit Bengals, Chad is great. Even when he’s playing against you he’s hard to hate. His “antics”, while detrimental at times, still make you want him on your team. Before his injuries, tell me you weren’t secretly hoping Russ could swing a trade for him over the summer. Even as a pipe dream it was fun to think about.

I think from a team perspective, Chad Ocho Cinco may not be the best of options. However, when you look at it as a fan he is the ultimate in entertainment. Football is an entertainment vehicle, and no person is more entertaining than Ocho Cinco. He makes you want to draft him in your fantasy league, and even if you don’t have him you can’t wait for his name to change.

For all the “problems” he may cause, he still puts up big numbers and plays when he’s hurt. Most of all, he’s fun. Even with all the fines and off season talk, he is at the top of the list when it comes to making football fun. Only Sheriff Gonnagetcha comes close to Chad, and we love them both for the effort.

I think a big reason Chad sees some backlash is because the media hypes his antics up so much. Every fine is discussed at length, every prime time game is hyped as “what’s Chad going to do next?” People in the media develop opinions on him and beat them to death, and we as viewers get sick of the whole thing.

Yet however tiring all that talk is, we still watch. Why? Because the talking isn’t enjoyable, but watching is. The conversations about Ocho Cinco aren’t nearly as fun as the product he puts out on the field, and when it comes time for him to play we take notice. Not everyone enjoys it, but you know the Bengals get an extra look from most fans because of it.

In a league trying so hard to crack down on celebrations and antics and anything outside of the status quo, Chad Ocho Cinco still hasn’t backed down. While Adam Pacman Jones shed his nickname in an attempt to turn the corner in his life, Chad became his nickname because, quite frankly, there’s nothing wrong with it.

In a league where fun is even cracked down upon in the stands, Chad Ocho Cinco exists. Better yet, he thrives.

Like him or not, you have to admit that’s pretty amazing.