Smack talk. A sure fire sign that football season is about to start.
Recently, Carson "Where's Kimo?" Palmer proclaimed that the Bengals were the team to beat in the AFC North this season. Now, Ocho-Cinco is taking his turn.
"Let (Troy) Polamalu and those boys know I'm not having it this year."
I'm sure Troy knows, Chad.
He then went on to call out several other players in the secondary.
"Tell Ike (Taylor) I love him. Tell Deshea (Townsend) I love him. It's going to be a good year, man. I can't wait. I'm really looking forward to (those games)."
It is wise to know that despite leading the league with 1,369 receiving yards last season, Johnson hasn't caught a touchdown against the Steelers in the past two seasons. The last time Chad caught a touchdown against Pittsburgh was 2004, before Ike Taylor became the starter (and was primarily responsible for covering Ocho-Cinco).
Don't get it twisted, though. I like Chad Johnson. He might be my favorite player on a team that I really can't stand. In this league, there are two extremes. At one end sits the power-mad Roger Goodell with his quest to create a bland NFL with no true characters. The other end houses the Pacman Joneses, who push the envelope just a bit too much. Chad Johnson sits somewhere in the middle, but far enough away from the Goodell end. All his "smack talk" and endzone dances are a way to get people talking about the NFL, in a good way. His near-fights with Joey Porter were perfectly staged to grab your attention. They weren't really going to fight, because they were good friends. It was all to make the NFL fun and interesting.
The end of his interview showed how down-to-earth his comments were.
"It is (a good rivalry). Everyone's really looking forward to the Pittsburgh game and the Baltimore game,'' Johnson said. "Really, Cleveland has been downplayed when it comes to playing those two opponents. We're always sitting at 1-1 with those two. We need to come out on top this year in order to get to where we want to."
Key word - rivalry. Without the Chad Johnsons of the NFL, rivalries aren't all that interesting. Do we really want the grayscale, politically correct-type players blandly discussing next week's opponent and how respected they are? Hell no! We look forward to the Pittsburgh-Cincinnati games because Chad Johnson makes them interesting. I'm all fired up for October 28th, when the Steelers play the Bungles for the first time in 2007. Do I hate Chad Johnson for calling out Troy, Ike and Deshea? Not at all.
However, I can't say the same for the rest of the team. The Palmers and Hoos-your-mamas take the rivalry too serious. Palmer's recent comments and T.J.'s wiping of the shoes with the Terrible Towel don't have that same energy as a Chad Johnson comment. I mean, the guy raced a horse. Is is possible to take him seriously at all?
Plus, if we're talking about Chad Johnson, then it means its football season.
And despite last night's 15-1 drubbing of the Cards, its still better than Pirate season.