Here's a question for you. How do you know that you've become absolutely comfortable with Chad Ochocinco? How do know when you've reached a point in which Chad does something and you either laugh, or shrug it off, whereas the rest of their world loses their mind? How do you know when you've reached a point that you've accepted Chad through the ups and downs of an eight-year marriage?
I'll tell you when.
When Chad holds onto a dollar bill to bribe the ref, after catching a 15-yard pass that was challenged and overturned, and you're actually disappointed that he didn't stuff the dollar bill in the ref's pocket. That's when.
(h/t to Shutdown Corner for screen cap)
Instead, he handed it back to someone and went about his business. And business is good. After catching five passes for 66 yards receiving, Ochocinco is on pace for 88 receptions, 1,278 yards receiving and a career-tying 10 touchdowns.
People will have a problem with this. Mostly those national media types that play off the Old School Football Religion where you have to sit boringly like a rock in the desert. Then again, I have to admit something to you, my friends, my support group. Chad has actually changed me. I was a believer of the old ways. I was a believer of someone throwing the football to the refs and jogging to the sidelines (ala Barry Sanders). And maybe that part of me will never die.
There are still things I hate. I hate it when a receiver acts tough and badass after picking up a first down. I hate it when anyone celebrates for any reason when they're losing by more than two touchdowns late in the game. I love it when an offensive lineman goes until the whistle, but hate it when the defensive player gets bent out of shape. Actually, I kind of like that too. I hate it when a defensive player makes a big tackle five yards after the offensive player gets the first down, then shouts, struts and clobbers his chest. I hate Ray Rice. Not really hatred, just glad he's out of our lives for a year.
But I've changed. I accept this Chad. He likes to have fun. Why not? The Bengals swept the Baltimore Ravens and my guess is that everyone in that lockerroom will see that tape and laugh about it. That's good team chemistry. That's Chad in 2009. Business is damn good.