By: Melissa S. Wollering
Even Bootsie Collins wouldn’t dream of walking onto Curly’s field to risk fandom, spilled beer, pocket knives, airhorns to the eardrum and angry, shirtless men painted green and gold just to do the Lambeau Leap. So is Ochocinco serious? I mean, really? Speaking in the voice of Chad, who cares when it makes national headlines, right?
Call it a death wish, a disgrace, a football player’s secret fantasy or a publicity ploy, but this week’s game preview between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Green Bay Packers is being overshadowed by the loudest, Twitterpated, numero-named wide receiver in the league.
Sunday will be the Bengals’ first appearance at Lambeau in 14 years. Back in 1995, the Lambeau Leap was in its infancy stages, resembling a toddler in a Fischer Price bouncer on your living room floor.
In 2007, the artist formerly known as Chad Johnson leapt into the Cleveland Browns’ “Dawg Pound” and was welcomed with a cold beer-drenching. Given the two teams’ rivalry, it was an understandably pompous move designed to stir love-hate feelings much like those shared by Rosie O’Donnell and Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Jennifer Aniston and Renee Zellweger or Christian Bale and Director of Photography Shane Hurlbut. Ah…I remember that one like it was yesterday.
Considering Chad’s flamboyancy in the end zone—from an Irish Jig to a marriage proposal—the Lambeau Leap might even be heralded as a slightly conservative and classy post-TD consideration.
Chad says he means no disrespect. He is actually issuing a battle cry, asking fans to embrace him. “I’m looking for the Cheeseheads to embrace Ocho, also,” said Number 85 at a press conference this week. Nice usage of third-person prose, Chad. Very nice.
He says he realizes any sort of touchdown celebration for a member of the opposing team may be ill-received. But he’s asking fans to make an exception in this case. According to Chad’s tweets, he claims he spent most of Monday night watching Packers’ film and concluded that Charles Woodson and Al Harris are great but too aggressive and will be easy to score on. Chad also agreed to come on John Jagger’s show on Milwaukee’s Newsradio 620 later this week if got the sense GB fans would be open to the idea.
“If they’re to accept one individual out of all the NFL teams to embrace if he got in the stands, I think I should be that one,” remarked Ochocinco.
Chad isn’t the only non-Packer to test the Lambeau waters. Fred Smoot tried the same thing a few years ago and was denied. Then again, Fred Smoot was in a Vikings’ uniform and doesn’t exude, shall we say, non-thuggish qualities.
For the most part, Chad Johnson stays out of trouble, tweets to identify with real people, values entertainment in an otherwise boring lineup and has kept the disrespectful comments to a minimum when possible. Is he really that bad of a dude? Would it matter more/less if the Packers were winning/losing at the time of the touchdown and said Leap? Is this more of a “Chad commentary” on the National Football League’s sketch comedy trailer policy? In other words, if TD dances are banned, shouldn’t the Lambeau Leap be considered such? Having its own name, I’m pretty sure it’s a premeditated celebration any way you slice it.
On the other hand, if Chad scored a touchdown and all fans in the end zone turned their backs to the field, would that suffice? Will someone be “that fan” and go for his “man-junk” just to spite him? OUCH-O-cinco. Would this set a bad precedent? In other words, who next? T.O.? Brett in purple on a rushing touchdown?
Or should fans allow the man, who’s simply asking nicely before he tries anything, to partake in the memorable Leap? If Chad can’t do it, does that mean the refs can’t do it either? Now that would make for some highlight reel. Former Packer Robert Brooks could make some cash if they use his song about the Leap in the background.
Packers’ WR Greg Jennings (also #85) directed his responses to reporters to the man himself. “Chad man, cut it out. Cut it out.”
Jennings says any attempt to mimic the tradition will be less-than-well received. He also argues the defense will do its job and keep Cincy’s 85 out of the end zone anyway. He seemed to take it all in good fun.
So how about you? Would you take a Lambeau Leap from Chad all in good fun? Or do you Fear da’ Tiger? If you had front-row seats, would you welcome him with open arms? Either way, get your popcorn ready. Should spice things up a bit this Sunday, unless you consider the REAL preview. The Bengals WR caught 5 passes for less than 100 yards in last week’s loss and he has not caught a touchdown in his last five games. Suddenly, the roar sounds more like a meow…Who dey! Who dey! Who dey think is gonna beat them Bengals?