Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A Fine Line

Is there actually a difference between Terrell Owens and Chad Johnson? Except for the fact that one is much more likely Hall of Fame bound than a celebration prop indicates.

I was struck by Tony Kornheiser's contrast of Terrell Owens and Chad Johnson. He declared on Monday Night Football that Owens was a narcissist, but Johnson was all about fun. There was no substantive proof offered. Just as there is no ready explanation for why Johnson is embraced by the league, practically starring in all the commercials on NFL Network, while Owens does his promotions for free. Owens is certainly no less appealing. He seems to lead or tease various sports broadcasts during the season. ESPN recently saw fit to milk one interview he did with Jim Gray for over a week. And as creative as Chad Johnson is, Owens is a showmanship pioneer.

But to infer that Chad Johnson is not a narcissist? That is preposterous. Chad Johnson doesn't want to be seen? He has become increasingly desperate in his plies for attention. He is overwhelmed by the pressure and restrictions of coming up with a creative celebration in the endzone. Consequently, he has taken his antics to the sidelines - which is just desperate. He is changing first down markers and altering jerseys. As much as I love a good endzone celebration, I find it disturbing that Chad Johnson is frequently making the whole Bengals sideline his accomplice in horseplay. He has had his quarterback playing his straightman in his "Ocho Cinco" skit. And, on Monday, it seemed the whole Bengals staff were tripping over themselves to fetch Chad's black plastic bag and pat him on the back and mug for the cameras over his Hall of Fame craft project.

Of course, Terrell Owens is less "fun" than Chad Johnson because he talks back. Flash your golds and do your dance, but nobody wants to hear a surly malcontent talking back. Chad Johnson hardly says anything of consequence except for delivering football versions of "yo momma" jokes. He is excellent, but untested as far as professional adversity. He is not yet battling injuries and able to have free reign on a team that has misdemeanors and felonies to worry about moreso than excessive celebration fines. Johnson has been able to coast on his natural talent and on a winning team, even if it is a team mired in the mediocrity of success. Owens is not a narcissist, but perhaps a reflection of the adversity (even self-created) that a mature player has had to overcome. Owens fought uphill to join the NFL with a University of Tennessee-Chatanooga pedigree. He was forced to develop his skills in the shadow of Jerry Rice. He's been on losing teams. He's endured quarterbacks of varying skill levels. Owens has battled injury. T.O. works hard to keep himself in superior shape (Johnson prefers fast food). Owens knows labor strife and has had to speak up to get what he deserved. On some level, Terrell had to be noticed in order to survive. What's Chad's excuse?

I don't deny that Owens and Johnson both enjoy attention. For sure, they are both narcissists. And they have both put the "fun" in the NFL. But opening weekend may have put forth the tale of the tape on who's more of the self-promoter. One guy dedicated his offseason to rehabbing an injured hand coming off a year full of drops. He debuted with a startlingly efficient 2 touchdowns on 3 receptions, one of those receptions being a spectacular one handed catch on an overthrown pass. The other guy "prepared" by commissioning a craft project. Which guy was more attuned to the substantive task at hand and which guy was attuned to self-promotion? Think about it before you distinguish one as a greater narcissist than the other.

12 comments:

laurice said...

Well, we know it's all about if the media likes you. How comfortable do you make the media when they come around.

You're analysis is correct, Owens talks back. Once the media has it in for you, they will do everything they can to portray you in he most negative light possible.

Miranda said...

You danced around it....but come'on HCIC....you know what the deal is....JUST entertain us...don't try and talk TO us....Knee-grows are to be seen and not heard - unless its a damn song.

MCBias said...

Ooh, SOMEONE's excited her man is back on TV! ha. :-) That said, you remember how I told you that I thought Terrell Owens was a teenager? Chad Johnson is his younger pre-puberty brother. When "11-year-old" Chad does his routine, he's still young enough to be cute. But when "16-year-old" TO does his routine, it's weird, or people get mad. I think that's what it is; we prefer our athletes to be child-like rather than remind us of teenagers (hat tip to my colleague, Miranda, who seems to have a similar idea in mind).

Gangsta D said...

Chad smiles and isn't seen as a threat. I wanna gag every time I hear Berman give that rationale. As long as the darkies are smiling and shuffling, it's all good. Don't get me wrong, I like Chad. But the commentariot like him for different reasons.

The HCIC said...

See? I don't have to be the bad guy when my commenters will do it for me. One day I will rewrite this post with some liquor in me. Okay... more liquor in me.

Ted said...

I take your point but Kornheiser annoys me for a diffeent reason. His obsession with endzone dances...I don't get it. And that whiny accent too.

Just to get it straight -is Owens a narcissist or not? Or was it the liquor?

The HCIC said...

Both, Ted. It's always both.

Sportsbruh said...

Chad Johnson is a Buffoon. To me he's nasty lookin and totally unwatchable. I find him boring and he tries TOO HARD.

All T.O. gotta do is show up.

chancelot said...

Ditto, ditto, and ditto. I dig Chad but T.O. is THE MAN.

Anonymous said...

They are both narcissists and boring, as narcissism usually is. I don't know whether Johnson has backstabbed teammates in the manner Owens has, which is what I always disliked about Owens.

Anonymous said...

T.O. is a freak of nature. He is also a freak in his own head. Calling out your QB on national TV was a huge mistake. He did it in SF, he did it in Philly. That instantly makes you the bad guy. Add to that the disrespectful Dallas star trample the Bonds like way he handles the media. What do you expect them to write about?

I like TO and I feel bad for him for the way he is portrayed. But honestly he brought most of it on him self.

I like 85 for the same reasons I like TO. They are both very entertaining to watch. I have mixed feelings about the end zone celebrations. I like TD celebrations but I hate all the other celebrations everybody does on normal plays. I get so sick of guys freaking out because they rushed for 2 yards and got the first down. Or on 1st down caught a hitch pass for 6 yards and they get all excited like they did something. IT WAS 6 YARDS!

I'm off topic.

Carry on.

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