Now, he will show the world just how much we will be missing, now that touchdown celebrations are illegal and he can no longer showcase his dancing expertise (without being issued a hefty fine — not that that’s ever stopped him).
The most controversial wide receiver in the NFL was recently named to the 2010 Dancing With the Stars roster, along with other legendary Hollywood royalty such as Kate Gosselin and Jake Pavelka. Ochocinco joins the likes of Michael Irvin, Lawrence Taylor, Jason Taylor and other NFL alumni who have competed for the ultimate prize of … dancing the best once a week on ABC.
Who needs Super Bowl trophies with honors like that? Surely, Marvin Lewis is thrilled that his star wideout’s pre-training camp workout regimen will consist of dancing.
Ochocinco will certainly do what he does best when the new season of DWTS kicks off on March 22. He will be outrageous and entertaining, and he’ll probably make a fool of himself, but hey, it’ll be funny and it’ll help pull in ratings.
Of course, there are plenty of other athletes out there who could give DWTS the ratings spike it so deserves. Chad Ochocinco is a good first step, but here are the top 10 athletes who should be consulted for future appearances on the reality competition.
10. Ickey Woods
At 44 years old, the man still has it. Sure, he’s a little out of shape now, but it would just be cruel to deny him the opportunity to showcase the Ickey Shuffle for prime-time TV audiences everywhere. The former Bengal is a little bit past his prime, but he knows how to market himself: After his playing career was cut short by a series of injuries, he appeared as a boxer on Thunderbox and then attempted a career as a salesman, pitching Omaha steaks and incorporating the infamous shuffle into his pitch. DWTS is right up his alley.
9. Brian Scalabrine or Zdeno Chara
It’s a toss-up between these two, but there absolutely needs to be a completely ungraceful and massively tall awkward athlete on the roster. I’m tempted to go with Scal just because his cameo at the spray tan salon paints him to be a little bit more … interactive with the camera, but then again, I could be wrong — I never would’ve expected the Bruins’ captain to shoot a nude photo spread for ESPN The Magazine. Both of them have the potential to surprise us, and isn’t that what the competition is all about — finding an underdog to root for? And who wouldn’t root for Scal? You all see the way the TD Garden goes nuts when the oafish forward even touches the ball behind the arc.
And even if neither of them surprised us, at least they’d make for good cannon fodder before getting eliminated.
8. Vince Wilfork
Yes, the comedy element would be the highlight of Big Vince’s stint on DWTS, but you cannot create a showcase of fierce determination mixed with fierce athletic ability and leave out the Patriots’ nose tackle. The mobility factor could be an issue for him, but everyone knows that NFL linemen are surprisingly and undeniably nimble. Plus, whatever Wilfork sets his mind to, he shall receive: He got the Pats to pay him after they slapped him with the hex otherwise known as the franchise tag. The man can do anything.
7. Jeff Jagodzinski
More commonly known as “the guy who got fired from Boston College for taking a job interview with the New York Jets,” the former Eagles head coach led the squad to two straight Atlantic Division titles and helped Matt Ryan solidify himself as the best quarterback in his draft class. And somewhere along the way, buried in the midst of Ryan’s epic two-touchdowns-in-two-minutes comeback against Virginia Tech to help preserve BC’s perfect record in 2007, there was the Jags Dance. Check out the 2:50 mark for a display of true talent (or just for some priceless reaction from Kirk Herbstreit).
Plus, correct me if I’m wrong, but after getting canned as the Buccaneers’ offensive coordinator during preseason, doesn’t dear Coach Jags need a job?
6. Lindsey Vonn vs. Julia Mancuso
Just like the NCAA Tournament has a play-in game, DWTS needs a play-in dance-off, and who better to compete for it than the gold and silver medal winners in Olympic catfighting? The American skiing rivals made more headlines during this year’s games for their prowess off the slopes. Their backhanded jabs at one another after Vonn’s crash in the giant slalom indirectly caused Mancuso’s 18th-place finish, as Mancuso was forced to start over and had to go last. Mancuso collapsed in a heap of tears at the end of her run while Vonn offered up little more than a shrug and a, “Gosh, I sure do feel bad about that.”
Here is a chance for Mancuso to get her payback. Here is a chance for Vonn to reassert herself as USA’s skiing golden child. And most importantly, here is a chance for TMZ to get some of its greatest material ever.
5. LeBron James
This would be the ratings mother lode — not that King James would ever agree to appear on such a show (unless Jay-Z somehow managed to buy the rights to it), but if he did, the ratings would be like a Kobe vs. LeBron NBA Finals series on steroids.
4. Gheorghe Muresan
The Romanian former basketball phenom represents yet another promising talent whose career was derailed by injuries. Muresan did stints with the Washington Bullets (who drafted him in 1993) and the New Jersey Nets, and though he led the league in field-goal percentage for two straight seasons, he is probably best known for his role in My Giant with Billy Crystal. Or for starring as a ventriloquist in Eminem‘s “My Name Is” video. Or, perhaps, for this ancient SportsCentercommercial, where he showcased his true talent: dancing. He’s got the moves, and it’s about time for his career to be resurrected, anyway.
3. Billy “White Shoes” Johnson
Before there was Chad Ochocinco, there was the originator of the touchdown celebration. The former Oiler and Falcon could outdo Forrest Gump in the touchdown-returning category, but beyond that, he could outdo the scoring celebrations of any modern-day wide receiver with his unprecedented take on the funky chicken. He’s already proven he can dance, and if he does well on the show, ABC can capitalize and help him launch his own white shoe line. Everybody wins.
2. Jonathan Papelbon
If some variation of DWTS is still on the air by the time the Red Sox’ closer retires, there is no doubt Papelbon will make an appearance. People like Papelbon were made for reality TV. He’s not afraid to say what he thinks, he’s funny, ladies like him, and most importantly, he has already proven himself on the dance floor on the world’s biggest possible stage. I’m not talking about all those championship postgame celebrations, when he steadfastly put all other Irish jiggers to shame. I’m talking about his dance-off against Dustin Pedroia during spring training in 2008. Plus, check out the outfit. Johnny Weir‘s got nothing on this guy. Speaking of which …
1. Johnny Weir
Yes, there is an Olympic figure skater on this season’s roster, but the DWTS talent people picked the wrong one. (Don’t feel bad. They’re not the first ones. I’m talking to you, Olympic judges.) The sixth-place finisher in this year’s games set one of his ice routines to Lady Gaga. What did Evan Lysacek do that was better than that? Skating to Lady Gaga trumps winning the gold. Plus, Johnny Weir wears fun things, and he always says the right things. And we all know America loves giving the underdogs a chance to come out on top.