Tales From The Vault: The Good, The Chad, And The Ugly

Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, Steve Seidman, Tales from the Vault

Chad Johnson says his personality was “controlled” by the Patriots last year. Was Johnson the subject of a diabolical experiment straight out of A CLOCKWORK ORANGE? The Vault Keeper investigates this mind-bending mystery….

Now that Chad Johnson has managed to make a daring escape to Miami, he has a  shocking tale to tell about his one season in New England.  According to Johnson, “My personality was controlled last year.” And that made him afraid – very afraid. He was worried about saying the wrong thing, so he didn’t say anything at all. “When my mouth is running,” maintains Johnson, “it forces me to perform.” When his mouth is idle, Johnson is liable to have a season where he will catch under 20 passes and score only 1 touchdown. Coincidentally, that’s exactly the kind of season Johnson had with the Patriots in 2011.

According to numerous sources, Chad believed that while he was in New England, he could no longer be Chad. But to be fair, Chad is no longer Chad. Well, sure, he’s Chad, but he’s no longer Chad Ochocinco. Now he’s Chad Johnson, which is who he was before he became Chad Ochocinco. So, he’s who he was before he was when he was who he wasn’t Or something like that.

Was Johnson the subject of some kind of sinister mind control experiment? When the details of his season with the Patriots’ are finally revealed, we could have a story that ranks with the key titles of brainwashing and mind-control in literature and film: THE STEPFORD WIVES, 1984, A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI and THE BRAIN FROM PLANET AROUS?  Weird science experiments are not alien to pro football – look what happened to Rosie Greer in THE THING WITH TWO HEADS (1972).

When Chad was acquired by the Patriots, he wanted to be The Man. Instead, he became THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE. Both film versions (1962, 2004) of Richard Condon’s classic story of cold war suspense and paranoia involve the brainwashing of a military hero for sinister purposes. Is that what happened to Chad? Take a look at what Chad was like before he became a Patriot.

He was an exuberant free spirit – and an above average wide receiver. His motor was always running – and so was his imagination. Now look at what the Patriots did to him.

He was a Stepford Wide Receiver – not in possession of his real personality or the pass-catching skills that made him a 6-time Pro Bowl selection. What on earth did the Patriots do to him? I’m not sure, but it could very well have involved strapping him to a chair.  We all know that NFL head coaches are control freaks, but is Bill Belichick a mind control freak?  Recently, New England told Rob Gronkowski to “tone down” his “party on” personality. Their message was clear, “Tone it down – remember what we did to Ochocinco.” They didn’t let Chad be Chad, and they’re not going to let Gronk be Gronk.

Johnson’s New England nightmare ties into horror tales as well as well as suspense stories. Take zombies, for instance. Today, we associate the term with the popular TV series The Walking Dead (a title which could have described the Detroit Lions in 2008, when they finished 0-16). It’s also the name of one the best and most underappreciated bands of the British Invasion Era.

The original use of the term “zombie” is West Indian in origin and was used to describe an animated corpse brought back to life via witchcraft or voodoo. A traditional zombie was a being who has been hypnotized into a lack of consciousness and self-awareness, yet was able to respond to his surroundings, albeit in a somnambulant fashion. This kind of zombie appeared in the atmospheric 1943 horror gem, I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE.  According to Johnson, the Patriots simply updated the plot to I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE…. NAMED CHAD. Last season, he did seem to be running his pass routes in a sort of trance. The Patriots are undisputed masters of football-craft. It’s not really a stretch to think they could have added witchcraft to their repertoire, as well.

While on the subject of horror films, let’s not forget C.H.U.D., which was an acronym for Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dweller and was the title of the 1984 film C.H.U.D. Take it from me, these C.H.U.D.’s were scary to behold.  Is Chad a C.H.U.D.? Certainly not. He isn’t a cannibal, a humanoid, or an underground dweller. But in the 2006 film CLERKS II, “chud” was a term used to describe someone who is unattractive – or unsuccessful. I can’t comment on Chad’s attractiveness, or lack thereof, but the numbers that Chad put up as a Patriot were definitely chud.

All of this might seem like a bit of a stretch — the paranoid ravings of a mad man — but in the past I’ve seen strange beings roaming the gridiron.

Some things lie outside the realm of rational explanation. Fortunately, Chad Johnson’s ordeal is over. He’s back to normal again. He’s so confident that the Dolphins will allow “Chad to be Chad” that he has predicted he’s going to have a “monster” season.  But, but . . . what if they made him say that?

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