No single player has challenged the No Fun League more than Chad ‘Ochocinco’ Johnson. Now, for the first time in a long time, “Ocho” has opened up—not just about how he played the game, but about how the NFL tries to rob players of their “personality.”
Speaking on Thursday to Shannon Sharpe and Skip Bayless on FS1’s Undisputed, Johnson described how the NFL “stifles” its players:
— UNDISPUTED (@undisputed) October 25, 2016
Johnson nails it when it comes to two things in particular, the entertainment factor in the league and the fact that he made the game fun. To my knowledge, Johnson remains the only player in NFL history to perform CPR on a football.
However, the word “stifling” may understate what the league has actually done to on-field celebrations. To recap, this year the league has flagged and/or fined players for flexing his bicep, jump-shooting a ball over a goal post, and for pulling imaginary arrows from imaginary quivers and pretending to fire them.
Through the first six weeks of the year, officials threw the flag for taunting 19 times—eight more than at that exact same point last year. Weirdly, roughing the passer and unnecessary roughness calls reduced dramatically from last year.
This means the same NFL that constantly talks about player safety, actually called more penalties not pertaining to player safety than penalties designed to protect players.
I guess the league finds an imaginary bow and arrow more dangerous than Vontaze Burfict. Makes sense.
Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter: @themightygwinn