Ocho? Oh No! … Thursday Cup O’Blarney

We pause here on Day No. 6 of America’s pro football fans held hostage to bring you a laugh …

Chad Ochocinco Johnson is coming to town.

No joke. OK, it is a joke, but supposedly he’s really headed to K.C. to take part in a four-day tryout with the Kansas City Wizards Sporting Kansas City. Yes, Ochocinco in short pants and right here in River City.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day and grab another green beer for this story!

How, did we get so lucky?

This news became the biggest part of the Kansas City sporting landscape on Wednesday, artfully timed for a window where the Royals are still in Arizona and off the radar, the NFL labor situation is quiet and it’s the day before the start of March and all its madness. Soccer? Why not grab a few crumbs from the already sliced up sporting pie.

When you are Sporting Kansas City, any chance for a headline is worth the time and effort. They are about to begin their season and they’ll christen a brand new stadium this season. But they have the same old problem – a limited connection with the sports fans of Kansas City.

And here is Chad Johnson, the Bengals wide receiver with the additional name that matches his uniform number. He’s obviously bored out of his mind, sitting at home in Cincinnati, or Los Angeles, or Miami – whatever zip code is tops with No. 85 these days. With the lockout shutting down the NFL, he’s a promotional genius cut adrift.

That’s when Sporting Kansas City threw him a life vest. Actually, it wasn’t a life vest, it was a tweet – that’s the 21st Century. The idea was simple – come to Kansas City for a four-day tryout and a chance to stay with the MLS team. Amazingly, Johnson said yes, things got worked out with his advisors and so here comes Ochocinco.

Johnson is said to have always been a soccer fan, going back to his days growing up in Miami. Supposedly he would have played the ball you kick rather than the one you catch if there had been any future in soccer. But at that time there wasn’t much pro upside in the sport; some would say the publicity stunt involving Ochocinco is an indication there still isn’t.

But these are two parties looking for attention. It’s a marriage made in sports PR heaven.

Sporting Kansas City wants to put their name out there. Forget the part about selling tickets. If Ochocinco really does show up next Tuesday, March 22nd, there’s not a home game he could play in until June 9th. Quite obviously this was about more than selling tickets for SKC.

Ochocinco has his reality show, his constant life on Twitter and heaven knows what else because he’s intent on keeping his name in the news. He has to do that because football isn’t going to provide that attention anymore.

You see, when it comes to being a wide receiver, Johnson is all but washed up. For your consideration:

  • Last season, he caught 67 passes for 831 yards, a 12.4-yard average in 14 games.
  • Over the last three seasons he’s averaged 14 games, 64 catches, 806 yards and 5.6 TDs per season. Those are well below the averages he put up in the previous six seasons.
  • Over his career he’s 28th in league history for catches (751), 27th for yards (10,783) and 40th for TD catches (66).
  • With the Bengals, he’s played in two post-season games over his career, catching a total of six passes for 87 yards and no scores.

Right now, Chad Ochocinco is an average receiver. He’s 33 years old, the arrow is pointing down and the elevator is moving pretty fast.

Maybe he feels there’s a real chance in soccer. Of course, it’s hard to figure how his skills as a declining receiver are going to translate into anything more than a declining and inexperienced soccer player. Maybe he’ll play in goal, where he can use his hands.

More than likely, this is all about Chad being Chad. He’ll roll into Kansas City for some time, maybe just those four days, maybe a week or longer. But then Chad will get bored because he will find out he’s not a professional soccer player.

Right now, Chad Ochocinco is a professional attention-getter and Sporting Kansas City is desperate for attention.

2 Responses to “Ocho? Oh No! … Thursday Cup O’Blarney”

  • March 17, 2011  - bhive01 says:

    It’s a shame soccer really hasn’t taken off as a professional sport in the US. It shares many of the same issues as Hockey though. Low scoring, little to no time for commercials for TV (less sponsorship money), seemingly little action, Diving (god I hate diving). There are tons of kids that play it in the KC area though. I played from kindergarten through my junior year at LSHS. You’d think there’d be more of a market in KC, but I think the league just needs time to build up the userbase like the NFL did. When I was still in KC I went to quite a few Wizards games when they were just starting out and they were really good.

    I don’t care if this is a shameless attempt at promotion for 85 or SKC (what was wrong with Wizards anyway?), soccer could use a boost of any kind.

  • March 18, 2011  - cychief24 says:

    I remember some people saying soccer would overtake football in ten years when I was in High School. I am now 54 and all I hear is that soccer just needs some time. A lot of kids play soccer in elementary school. Then they get bored and want to use their upper body and hands. They want some mental stimulation.
    Soccer is what it is, a play ground activity…

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