History all a Twitter


Would Corey Dillon have been a "tweeter" back in the day? (Bengals photo)

Posted: 2:35 p.m.

Good try, Ocho.

But no one in his right mind thinks Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis or commissioner Roger Goodell (in that order) is going to allow Chad Ochocinco to tweet during games. On the field or in the locker room at halftime.

We salute the Ocho's instincts but industry pundits like ProFootballTalk.com's Mike Florio have already said forget it and when Florio asked NFL spokesman Greg Aiello on Tuesday he was told the league office has to look into it.

On Wednesday Aiello e-mailed Bengals.com that while the NFL is looking into the matter, "There already is a rule that prohibits the use of cell phones or other handheld devices in the bench area."

That ought to end it. So, as they say, it is what it is. Besides, it sounds like The Ocho is just having some fun in pursuit of what Jim Bouton called "the entertainment dollar" in Ball Four, which, by the way, is merely the greatest book ever written.

Yet it does get us to thinking what would have happened during seminal moments in Bengaldom if there had been Twitter.

For instance, take Jan. 1, 1976, when Bengals founder Paul Brown abruptly resigned as head coach with a press release and disappeared for a few days after naming Tiger Johnson as his replacement. He just could have tweeted amid all the bowl games:

pbhof67: Tiger da man. Im done. Enoyed it. Inventd twit in 70 but NFL wouldn't let us use it btwn plays.

Or what about Dec. 10, 1989?

As snowballs descended at Riverfront Stadium in the second half of a playoff-crippling loss to Seattle, Bengals head coach Sam Wyche grabbed public address announcer Tom Kinder's microphone to famously proclaim, "Will the next person who sees anybody throw anything on that field, point him out and get him out of here? You don't live in Cleveland, you live in Cincinnati."

If he had Twitter, Wyche wouldn't have had to run down Kinder on the sidelines. He could have gone down in NFL Films history in 140 characters or less with a nod to another jungle king in Jim Rome:

samiam88: quit throwing or get tossed u don't liv in ctown U LIV IN THE NATTI!!!!

What about Oct. 22, 2000 when Bengals running back Corey Dillon broke Walter Payton's rushing record against Denver at Paul Brown Stadium? He did by rushing for 108 yards on his last four carries late in the game as he stiff-armed the poor Broncos DBs to smithereens. Dillon could have tweeted/twitted to the coaches in the press box as the teams changed sides at the end of the third quarter:

cd278: keep me running 2 tbuckleys side!!!! & i ll get walter's record

We think Dillon belongs in the Pro Football Hall of Fame when his number comes up. But we also know a cell phone in the hands of the combustible one during a game would have turned Blackberrys into Frakenberries. Even right after a game. Remember after the 2003 finale when he shed his uniform and threw it to fans piece by piece in his last defiant gesture to get out of town?

ratherflipburgers28: 2 guy with hip pads - need back - trade off til equip handed in

And, who knows, maybe a well-placed tweet or two could have changed Super Bowl history?

What if that day in Detroit in Super Bowl XVI left tackle Anthony Muñoz had an iPhone in front of him instead of the I formation between third and fourth down on San Francisco's goal-line stand and he sent an urgent message to head coach Forrest Gregg?

Maybe they wouldn't have sent running back Pete Johnson to the right side with Muñoz and left guard Dave Lapham doing analysis worthy of a broadcast. They went left on second down for no gain when rookie wide receiver David Verser missed the block after going in motion.

runleftwherelse78: me pete lap almost 1000 lbs DEEP 6 MOTION!!!! just go 4 it!!!!  

Or, what about 49ers receiver John Taylor's only catch of Super Bowl XXIII that beat the Bengals with 34 seconds left? Safety David Fulcher wondered after the game, "Maybe we paid too much attention to (Jerry) Rice."

But after one of the timeouts maybe Bengals defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau had time to tweet:

shouldbinhof62: keep i on taylor as te in slot

(The understated LeBeau not exactly an exclamation point guy.)

Of course, Twitter would have sapped the drama out of many moments.

Imagine if Bengals quarterback Boomer Esiason had Twitter during the 1987 strike? Maybe he wouldn't have sat down lined up in front of a bus of strikebreakers. Maybe he just would have laid down the law to management in one line on the Blackberry:

nflmvp7: u can sign jim brown, otto graham, ken anderson bt we're still NOT xing

If there had been Twitter, would there have been an Ickey Shuffle in the magical fall of 1988? Maybe after he scored he just would have tweeted from the sidelines:

Ickster1066: c my latest dance @ shuffle30@whatmighthavebeen.com

Then again, maybe not.

But it makes you wonder.

Because, you would think, we'll never know after the coaches and commissioner get done with it all.

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