It really must be one of those types of news days when this sparks relevancy, but word out of the Cincinnati Bengals camp is that… get this… Chad Ochocinco has begun the long and arduous process of changing his name back to Chad Johnson.
Now that the shock and awe of that statement has settled in let’s look at this a little more in depth. Is this simply another publicity stunt? Is this a psychological move on OchoJohnson’s part to get back to his serious playing days? Or is he simply keeping his word? Let me address each of these mind-boggling quandaries one at a time…
First thing’s first, I really do not see this as a publicity stunt. I mean, let’s be honest, he’s no Situation, DJ Pauly D, or even a Justin Bieber at this point in time. He simply does not have the same draw that he used to. This social downturn could be caused by the fact that he has had to compete for attention on the field, off the field, and even during his reality show ever since Terrell Owens rolled into town. It could be that, or it could simply be that his whole act is tired and played out. Either way he’s simply not the star of the show (like that pun?) anymore.
Second question: Was it a psychological move? I’d say, potentially. Since Chad Johnson legally changed his name, in the eyes of the NFL, to Ochocinco at the beginning of the 2009 season, he has recorded only 5 100+ yard receiving games, scored 13 TDs, and missed 3+ games due to injury, total. With the exception of the 2008 season (where Carson Palmer missed the entire season) and his rookie campaign, these past two years have been the worst of his career. Besides those aforementioned two seasons, the 67 receptions for 831 yards and 4 touchdowns in 2010 was the worst single season stat line that Ochocinco has recorded. From 2002 to 2007, Chad Johnson never had less than 69 catches, 1136 receiving yards, or 5 TDs in a single season.
Lastly: Is he simply keeping his word? Probably not, but before the regular season matchup between the Cincinnati Bengals and New York Jets, Ochocinco was quoted as saying that if Jets stud corner Darrelle Revis could shut him down; he would in fact change his name back to Johnson. Well, Ochocinco managed to injure himself during warm ups and failed to play a single down in that regular season matchup. How did he fair the next the next time they faced each other? One didn’t have to wait long, the Bengals played the Jets in the Wild Card round of the playoffs and Ochocinco was a relative non-factor, with 2 catches for 28 yards and no touchdowns. Based upon those numbers and the Bengals subsequent loss, I would say Revis was successful in shutting him down.
Could this be a publicity stunt? Yes. Could this be a smart psychological move on Johnsons’ part? Also yes. Could this simply be a long overdue testament to Darrelle Revis’s dominance? Probably not, and even if it was, you know he would never admit it. To be honest I have no idea why he would go through all of this trouble again, but let’s remember this is Chad Johnson/Ochocinco we are talking about and only he truly knows what goes through that bleach blonde bearded head of his.