Chad Johnson Is a Better Football Player Than Chad Ochocinco

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What's in a name? Everything.

Chad Ochocinco now wants to change his name back to Chad Johnson, after legally switching it before the start of the 2008 NFL season. This could be a wise career choice: Since his metamorphosis into a Spanglish compound, the Bengals #85 hasn't played as well, statistically.

In other words: Chad Johnson is a better NFL wideout than Chad Ochocinco.

Comparing the two can be tricky. For one down year (2008), the two men coexisted before the transformation was complete: Johnson legally became Ochocinco in August 2008, but he continued to wear "Johnson" for the 2008 season. He didn't wear "Ochocinco" until the 2009 season, after the NFL gave him permission. Out of fairness to the two, we can probably throw out the 2008 season.

By nearly every statistical measure, Chad Johnson outperformed Chad Ochocinco, even counting Johnson's rookie 2001 season, in which his stats were low. Johnson played eight NFL seasons; Ochocinco has played two. Neither man has played for any team other than the Cincinnati Bengals.

Johnson outperformed Ochocinco, per season on average, by .4 games played, 10.4 catches, 256 yards, 1.2 yards per catch, 13.3 yards per game, and .5 TDS. His season-longest catches went for 18.1 more yards. If he switches back, maybe #85 will return to form.

Career stats for Chad Johnson:

Year     G    Rec       Yds      Avg   Yds/G       Lng     TD
2007    16     93     1,440     15.5    90.0       70T      8
2006    16     87     1,369     15.7    85.6       74T      7
2005    16     97     1,432     14.8    89.5       70T      9
2004    16     95     1,274     13.4    79.6       53T      9
2003    16     90     1,355     15.1    84.7       82T     10
2002    16     69     1,166     16.9    72.9       72T      5
2001    12     28       329     11.8    27.4        28      1
Avg   15.4   79.9     1,195     14.7    75.7      64.1      7


Career stats for Chad Ochocinco, while wearing "Johnson" on his jersey:

Year     G    Rec       Yds      Avg   Yds/G       Lng     TD
2008    13     53       540     10.2    41.5        26      4

Career stats for the full-fledged Chad Ochocinco:

Year    G     Rec     Yds      Avg    Yds/G       Lng     TD
2010   14     67      831     12.4    59.4        42      4
2009   16     72    1,047     14.5    65.4        50      9
Avg    15   69.5      939     13.5    62.4        46    6.5

Maybe it's the added pressure of drawing attention to oneself. Maybe it's the added weight of the two extra letters on the back of his jersey. But #85 was better when his last name was Johnson.

All stats taken from NFL.com.

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Chris Good is a political reporter for ABC News. He was previously an associate editor at The Atlantic and a reporter for The Hill.

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