When HBO Films agreed to feature the Miami Dolphins on its latest installment of Hard Knocks, I’m sure documenting the antics of Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson was part of the appeal.Â His big, showy, and unpredictable personality makes for good TV.Â However, considering the unfortunate events that took place over the weekend, they received a whole lot more than hoped.
Thanks to the nimbleness of the HBO Films crew to shoot, cut, and edit compelling footage virtually overnight, viewers had a front row seat to witness Miami Dolphins head coach, Joe Philbin, verbally administer a lethal injection to Johnson, just two days after Johnson was dismissed from the team.Â If you missed last night’s episode, like me, fear not.Â I swiped the footage from YouTube.Â The video below, almost five minutes in length, includes footage from one of the most highly anticipated and memorable moments in Hard Knocks history.
Although we’ve seen players get released on Hard Knocks before, I’ll venture to say no other moment packed as much drama.Â Be it the starpower of Ochocinco or the severity of the situation and the media circus surrounding it, watching Johnson deliver a halfhearted and untruthful plea to Philbin was, simply put, sad.Â In that moment, you get the sense he fears the world of unknowns that await him — career, marriage, endorsements, etc.Â The overly cocky Ochocinco that we either love to love, or love to hate, was unusually quiet and at a loss for words. While somewhat expected, watching it play out was palpable.
Also, I must say, from the perspective of a Jets fan, I admire the way Philbin works. His no nonsense approach, straight out the gate, is building a team culture of discipline and focus.Â If I were a Dolphins fan, I’d be happy to have him at the helm.Â How and if that translates to winning games remains to be seen, but his decisive approach to address and mitigate distractions head on is respected.
Philbin was also very thoughtful during his conversation with Johnson.Â Instead of taking the egomaniacal Donald Trump “You’re Fired” route, Philbin expressed they didn’t “mesh”.Â Although Philbin didn’t explicitly say Johnson’s personality and poor physical performance on the field (earlier in the episode we see him struggle often) led to Johnson’s demise, had the events over the weekend not transpired, I truly believe it would’ve been a matter of time before the Dolphins dismissed him.Â Based on last week’s conversation between Philbin and Johnson, it seemed that Philbin was gently warning Johnson, one false move and you’re done, kid.Â Johnson unwittingly tested him and got clipped.
While Ochocinco’s stint on HBO’s Hard Knocks has concluded, his place in the real world of hard knocks is beginning.Â But let’s hope he can recover. It would really be a huge disappointment for his actions from the past few days to be the final footnote on his career resume.