Tom Bogert, CBS Local Sports

You never know what you got ’till it’s gone. That well trodden abstract saying, its popularity equally split between its truth, simplicity and prime length for remembering without butchering it, rings true for the case of the artist formerly currently known (again) as Chad Johnson.

Simply put: the NFL is a better place when Chad Johnson was a bad man on that field. His combination of power and speed was dwarfed by his creativity once in the end zone. Johnson turns 39 years young today, so let’s reminisce on the fonder memories of no. 85.

Especially this season, as the state of the No Fun League is such that you’re penalized the same amount of yardage for dunking the ball over the goal post, or twerking one pump too many if you’re Antonio Brown, as you are for decapitating Matt Moore.

Did Johnson take it too far at times? Sure. I mean, the guy literally legally changed his last name to Ochocinco which is something a child does when creating a player on Madden. He also dabbled with the idea of changing his name to Hachi Go, the Japanese version of 85, but didn’t follow through. To ‘reconnect with his former self’ he legally returned to being Chad Johnson four years later.

But, man, was he fun. Irrespective of whether it was ‘Johnson’ or ‘Ochocinco’ on the back of his jersey he was an entertainer. On his birthday, let’s celebrate with the best of Chad Johnson: his top 5 touchdown celebrations.

5. Hall of Fame Jacket

Right, if the Hall of Fame Jacket celebration is only fifth on a top personal celebrations list, then you know it’s a stacked list. This is like the Golden State Warriors starting lineup if only you replaced Zaza Pachulia for prime Shaq O’Neal.

This is certainly the most polarizing of his celebrations. It irked many and it may go down as a wayward attempt at humor. But for those who weren’t annoyed, it’s gold.

Anterior questions: Who made this? Did he do it in his living room the night before the game? How did they sneak this onto the field? Did he have one of the 89 coaches conspicuously keep it in a bag from the locker room to the field before the game? WAIT. How did HE bring it into the stadium without anyone catching it? Is that something he can fold and put in a bag? Or did he treat it like a suit?

So. Many. Questions.

4. Cameraman

This edges the Hall of Fame Jacket one because he only bothers one guy rather than a lot of people. How much do you reckon that camera man was freaking out when Johnson came to commander his camera? How scared was he that Johnson would break it somehow, and the next day an executive would call him into his office showing him the film and asking why did you let this happen?

It’s great though. The guy just kind of awkwardly stood off to the side and let Johnson go through his progression and that’s a heady play. You don’t want to cross Johnson on national TV like that. Know your role, stay in your lane and that’s exactly what he did.

3. Riverdance

Could this have been the launching pad for his Dancing With The Stars nod? Maybe he doesn’t get that shot without showing off his versatility. He checks all the boxes for dancing. Get you a man who can do both, and he does.

This is perfectly executed too– 10/10 Riverdance quality.

2. Putting

The beauty is in its simplicity. Don’t focus on the quality (or lack thereof) of the literal putt. Focus on the ingenuity, the smile this (should) trigger on your face.

Also his teammates being complicit and excited really helps too. If they just kind of stood there and let him do his thing with no reaction it wouldn’t have nearly been as good, they definitely covered up the undercooked put.

Just taaaaaaaap it in. Just a little tap-tap-taperoo. 

1. CPR


What a brilliant celebration. Again– the simplicity. But go deeper. He’s trying to breathe life into football, the NFL. But instead of life he’s trying to revive it with a shot of fun, with a shot of Hey Let’s Not Take This Too Seriously.

This is peak Chad Johnson celebrating, this is him at the top of his game.

Happy birthday, Chad.