The NFL is a party pooper's organization. Due to their draconian celebration rules, the Cincinatti Bengals' Chad Johnson, who has attracted attention for his gold fronts, peppery pre-game quotes and creative two-stepping, won't be wiping pigskin asses in the end zone come September. Still, the League won't be able to stop this wide receiver's statistical boogie. Understand: Johnson is freakin' nasty. Going 6-foot-1, 192 pounds, with glue for hands and impressive speed, the 28-year-old Miami native has averaged 94 catches, 1,354 yards and 9 touchdowns over the last three seasons. Johnson hasn't accomplished this in a vacuum, either. Last season, he led the once-moribund Bengals to their best record in 16 years. Even if he can't cut a rug, he'll gladly take a trip to the League's big dance.
KING Why the overzealous celebrations?
CHAD JOHNSON I do the dancing to market myself, because since we wear helmets people don't know who we are.
Have you ever rehearsed any of your post-touchdown celebrations? Be honest.
I had always thought about doing these dances. It was just a matter of figuring out what I could do that wouldn't be degrading or offensive to the players, fans and league as well. I didn't wanna cross the line of arrogance; I want it to always be a fun thing. I tried it in pre-season at first then in the real games and everyone seemed fine with it. Now players from other teams will come up to me before games and ask what I'm going to do. The refs, even other coaches, all ask me.
You said marketing has a lot to do with it, but you're already doing that by being one of the elite at your position.
Until I outdo the competition I will not consider myself greatâ€”just the same category as everyone else. As far as I'm concerned I've always been good. I was never just okay. But I guess in my third year, that's when I was like, okay, now I can just be Chad. Chad is quite the trash talker. Does that give you a psychological edge? I do it to get inside players' heads. I love to talk trash because I know that there is nobody in the league that can cover me. It don't matter how fast you are, what technique you use, how much film you watch.
Continue reading this story in the October â€˜06 issue of KING (#36)