At one point it might have seemed to Chad Ochocinco that the world was in the palm of his hands. A superstar professional football wide receiver with an attitude and personality that many would argue overshadowed his actual on-field contributions. Chad was a very productive member of his team, but a primary example of his flamboyant persona is Chad's 'OCNN' media outlet, a 'news network' run by Chad Ochocinco. This publicity stunt was developed near two years ago when Chad's twitter account became one of the most popular follows in all of twitter, let alone professional athletes. For those unfamiliar with Chad Ochocinco, here is a brief history. Although this is his tenth season in the NFL, it was only his third as Chad Ochocinco. Three years ago, Chad decided to legally change his last name from Johnson to Ochocinco to reflect the two numbers he has always worn on his jersey; 85. Granted, the number eighty-five is not properly translated to the Spanish language as ocho-cinco exactly, but when you say each number individually you have the origins of Chad's name change. He would joke about his Mexican heritage and once he began regularly using the term 'ochocinco' as a way of describing himself, he saw it fitting that he legally change his name to really spice his act up a notch. It wasn't sufficient enough to simply make lists of his weekly opponents that would attempt to cover him on the field, then cross them out claiming that they didn't have what it takes to cover Chad. So Chad then upped the ante and began sending his opponents care packages filled with bottles of TUMS and Pepto Bismol because their stomachs would clearly become upset trying to game plan for the one and only Chad Johnson/Ochocinco. He was also a showman on the field itself, much to the chagrin of his coaching staff, the NFL and countless fans, especially those that opposed his former team; the Cincinnati Bengals. After scoring a touchdown he would perform an elaborate, pre-meditated celebration, often using props which is a big no-no when celebrating touchdowns in the NFL.
You could see how his antics would become tiresome and even frustrating if you are a football purest or opposing fan. Chad had become a sideshow and was well known for being the preeminent self-promoter in the NFL. So with a fresh new last name, Ochocinco took to twitter to expand on his celebrity empire. Despite some of the off-putting behaviors described above, Chad Ochocinco has always had a solid group of fans and they were not necessarily fans of his team. Take me for example, most of the time I am not the biggest fan of arrogant show boaters that insult or offend their opponents, but I didn't see Ochocinco as this type of person. He was always a hard worker on and off the field, he never got into any drugs or alcohol or made the kind of poor life decisions that resulted in a ticket to jail like some of his contemporaries. The only poor decisions he made could be compared to the type of decisions a child would make in the process of trying to have some fun. Despite referring to a grown man's behavior as childish, I don't mean that in an insulting way. I mean it in terms of how we develop opinions of someone based on their actions and how comparatively, his offenses are nothing more than silly and in the eyes of many, actually comical and entertaining.
Which leads us to the OCNN. While still a member of the Bengals, Chad became frustrated over the fact that his Bengals were perpetually underachievers and hardly had the chance to compete in the playoffs, let alone compete for a Super Bowl championship. Thus, he used the power of social media and wielded his celebrity status to create a playful news network that would cover major events from his point of view, including the Super Bowl. He was even able to recruit some fellow superstar players to be his on-location reporters and in true Ochocinco fashion, he went all out and even supplied his news team with promotional embroidered caps and custom polo shirts. If you didn't know any better, they looked like an actual news network.
Equipped with their promotional apparel, microphones and camera men, the crew attended Super Bowl Media Day along with thousands of other members of the media and playfully interviewed and reported on the players and coaches from each of the participating teams. While this was mostly another tactic to gain more publicity for himself, this is the kind of thing that Chad would do that was not only fun to watch, but it didn't offend or hurt anyone. Except for maybe one person, Chad Ochocinco himself. I'd even go out on a limb and assume that he may have come up with this idea because he was so sick and tired of not being able to participate in Super Bowl festivities. Instead of simply attending the events to endorse a product or charity, or even simply just being there to enjoy the atmosphere like countless other NFL athletes do every year, Chad was determined to be a part of it.
Fast forward to January 31, 2012 when the NFL held Media Day for Super Bowl XLVI between the New York Giants and the New England Patriots. This time Chad Ochocinco would be a part of Media Day again, but this time he was not donning his 'OCNN' imprinted gear. In the most recent off-season, the Cincinnati Bengals traded the disgruntled wide receiver to the New England Patriots. The Patriots, led by soon-to-be Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady, have been known for their high-scoring passing offense despite the lack of any real big name, so-called 'superstar' wide receivers. Many Patriot and Ochocinco fans alike became excited over the potential offensive fireworks that would ensue now that the always reliable Tom Brady was the one throwing the ball to the talented and always productive Chad Ochocinco. But with this change of teams, Ochocinco knew instantly that the curtains had to close on his sideshow in order to remain a member of this notoriously strict, all-business team. Which was a welcomed change for Chad because he would have traded his act for the opportunity to play for a winning, Super Bowl contending team in a heartbeat. This made fans even more excited because the potential for greatness seemed even greater without the possibility of any antics or distractions getting in the way. Sadly for Chad, despite his hard work, best behavior and zero trash talking he just didn't mix very well with the rest of the Patriot's offensive game plans. He still remains part of the team, but his production this year was by far his lowest of his career, rendering him near obsolete. It was almost hard to watch his fall from grace, especially since he seemed to be doing everything right. The Super Bowl media day was not at all what he might have imagined it to be when he longed to be on a team that made it that far. Instead of him sitting at one of the fourteen VIP podiums reserved for the highest profile players and coaches, he was forced to stand on his own at the 13-yard line, away from the gigantic crowds of reporters that were more interested in the other players and coaches. Normally, one would have expected Chad to be the center of attention like he had always tended to be, especially on such a grand stage such as this. Then again, if you are the center of attention after going through a full season with only 15 catches and one touchdown, it's likely that the attention you are getting is mostly negative.
So Chad Ochocinco once again did everything right. Some reporters noted that he seemed miserable and out of his element because his new team and underwhelming performance this year didn't allow him to act like the fun-loving Chad we have always known. I don't necessarily agree with the miserable part, I just think Chad has grown, learned and matured as a part of this Patriot team. He must be disappointed that his season wasn't as statistically loaded as some of his past seasons, but I don't believe that it was disappointment or misery that muted him, I would rather lean towards a new all-business Chad who would rather let his game play do the talking. That being said, if Chad had hauled in 75 passes and caught 13 touchdowns this season, he might be singing a different tune. It has been an interesting run for Chad Ochocinco, and he has at least one more game left in him to help write the end of this chapter. Based on this past season, many would predict that Ochocinco will be a non-factor in the Super Bowl just as he was in the Patriots previous 18 games. However, I am personally not as quick to write him off just yet. It is by far the biggest game of his career, he has been waiting and dreaming about playing in the Super Bowl for his entire life which according to him, was since age four when he first started playing football. Maybe the emotion of the big game will get the adrenaline pumping more and he can become more of a factor, or maybe the ineffectiveness of the Patriots' injured and hobbled All-Pro tight end, pass catcher extraordinaire and receiving touchdown leader Rob Gronkowski could open up the opportunity for Chad Ochocinco to become a Super Bowl hero. Only time will tell, kickoff is at 6pm this Sunday on NBC.