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Sports: Ocho-Cinco

Chad Ocho-Cinco

You know you’ve heard of him: The notorious wide-receiver; “Dancing with the Stars” contestant; reality-dating-show feature; published author; breakfast cereal cover model… you know, the guy who changed his last name to a number?

You know you’ve seen him: Whether it’s through his TV appearances; brand name sneaker ads, Sportscenter highlights; or via his buzz-worthy Twitter account. The first time I saw him was years ago on the big screen in a bar. I was watching a game between the Chicago Bears and the Cincinnati Bengals. The first thing I noticed was that the Bengals had this swagger about them. Furthermore, this swagger seemed to emanate from a single player; from #85, Chad Johnson. The announcers blatantly despised him and they seemed to believe that his on-going antics were a distraction to the team.  At one point Chad caught this amazing touchdown pass that made me rise to my feet… but then I was quickly swept off them! The infamous Riverdance! Did this guy just do that?  He did, and he has since followed this up with several other celebratory spectacles.

From that point on I was hooked. I became a fan of a man that experts claimed didn’t deserve any.  His detractors were many, but I instantly developed a kinship with a man so vilified that it bordered on the offensive; and for what?  He was not only one the greatest receivers I’d ever seen, (leading the league in numerous offensive categories), he also had the swagger to sell it. There’s that word again, “swagger”; something the NFL has tried for years to get rid of. However, thanks to guys like “Mr. 85” it will be awhile yet before that happens.

In this day and age many athletes are willingly micromanaged. Not Ochocinco! He is the model of a man in control of his own image, (he legally changed his name to prove it). This is a man who cares more about his Twitter updates than about being fined by the NFL. He can be cocky (sure), but what’s wrong with being cocky when he can back it up?

Being a perennial underdog myself, Ocho is an inspiration to me. He’s made it evident that swagger is something that lives in all of us. If I just be myself, do my job well… and add just a little attitude, I’ve found I too can make it to the top on my own terms. For those of you interested in following suit keep this mantra in mind, (an inquiry Ochocinco asks himself everyday): “I’ve got a trivia question, new year same old question.  How do you stop number 85?”

You ready?


  • Chris

    Unbelievable post man. That was really interesting. He might be the new NFL version of Dennis Rodman. One time.

  • Sharlene

    Well put JG! You and Ochocinco are inspiration for us all! You really can be successful without selling out. Hard work is important but as you said JG, it also takes a bit of personal flavour or your efforts may just get lost in the shuffle. Great article, keep ‘em coming!

  • Jonathan-Lee

    Thanks for taking me to school on Ochocinco, John! Curious as to who or what you will break down for us next? Keep ‘em coming and I’ll keep reading! Much love.

  • Ryan Hancock

    Too bad he sucks now and has never won a championship…

  • sabrina

    loved the links to his touchdown celebrations, thanks!

  • John Gerontzos

    Thanks everyone! Stay tuned, there’s more on the way. Next piece hits a little closer to home!

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