Review: Ocho Cinco: What Football and Life Have Thrown My Way


Ocho Cinco: What Football and Life Have Thrown My Way. By Chad Ochocinco and Jason Cole. 261 pages. $25, Crown Publishers 2009.

Seeing as how USA Today’s Sean Leahy has broken the seal, I may as well chime in. Yes, has also been advanced a complimentary copy of Ocho Cinco: What Football and Life Have Thrown My Way — meaning that the things are probably available in used bookstores by now — and the verdict in this humble scribe’s opinion is: meh.

Leahy’s blurb saves me the trouble of commenting on Chad’s GM skills. Everyone who thinks the Bengals are a better team today with T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Levi Jones and Stacy “watch me make $40 million as a backup guard in Philly” Andrews, please raise their hand.

Yeah, that’s what I thought. Just for added emphasis, he later adds his reasons for the New England Patriots’ success: Tedi Bruschi, Mike Vrabel, Junior Seau, Richard Seymour.


So…is there any reason to buy this (ahem) book? Well, yes, there is. Ocho Cinco doesn’t really read like a book, it’s more like a dead tree version of a blog rant, in which Chad proclaims that he’s great because he says so. Interspersed between his stream-of-consciousness prose (likely transcribed straight from tape by Cole, so there’s that) are various copy/pasted e-mails/transcripts from Marvin Lewis, Bob Bratkowski, Willie Anderson, Bill Belicheck and many other talking about Chad.

Ironically, there’s a whole (mercifully short) chapter extolling the virtues of the guy who just got fined $25,000 for nearly knocking his head off.

But Ray Lewis says lots of nice things about Chad in this book. That shouldn’t be surprising, as Chad reveals that his whole 2008 “trade me” strategy was concocted in conjunction with his division rival.

Yeah, you better keep buying the fans lots of free tickets this year, Chad. LOTS of them.

But…back to the point. All the folks Jason Cole got to talk about Chad for the book make it worth a read. Hue Jackson’s comments on how Chad and T.J. Houshmandzadeh helped him understand the psyche of wide receivers is good stuff, as just one example.

Speaking of T.J., Chad also gives us a glimpse of Housh in the locker room, telling WR Andre Caldwell, and everyone else within earshot, how he’s going to get screwed by the front office in a couple of years when they won’t pay him because he’s just a “posession receiver.”

Well, y’know, T.J., possession receivers can make good coin these days, right?

What About Chad?
If you’re looking for insight into Chad Ochocinco in Ocho Cinco, well, I would advise looking elsewhere. I don’t want to get into the business of playing dimestore psychologist from a distance of many miles. But what to make of a Chad who admits he has little interest in a relationship with his mother — and then responds to her refusal to write something for his book with “whatever?”

What do you make of a guy who opens his book with a tour of his Scarface-esque mansion, seven cars, and room full of giant plasma screen TVs — and then proceeds to say if he hadn’t been a successful NFL player, he would still have all this stuff because he would be a successful drug dealer?

Me? Whatever.

Y’know, Dhani Jones may take a lot of crap, and even sluggos up the bum, but hey, at least he gets out of his game room. I would like to think that if I had Chad’s money, I would do more than buy cars and plasmas.

Of course, we do know that Chad does get out, meets interesting people, and even wears interesting pants. But we learn nothing about that Chad in this book. It’s just him in a big defensive crouch, firing back at his critics with “I’m awesome and here are a whole bunch of people who think I’m awesome, too.” Fair enough. He’s a hell of a baller. The most interesting baller in the world? Esteban, I’m still waiting for evidence of that.