The world can be loosely divided into three groups nowadays—those who get Twitter, those who don't and those who don't have a clue what Twitter is in the first place.
Patriots wideout Chad Ochocinco has always been firmly in the first camp. An almost compulsive tweeter, he has spent the last two years promoting himself, his charity, his side businesses, his friends and his teammates in almost equal weight and in 140 characters or less.
He's even used it to engage in some rather public sparring with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, and he was almost certainly in the forefront of every NFL administrator's mind when they introduced the rule banning players from tweeting immediately before and after a game (not to mention during it).
Bill Belichick, on the other hand, doesn't get Twitter. As a result, there seem to be fewer Patriots tweeting than from any other NFL side, and finding someone with something interesting to say is nigh on impossible. Even Ochocinco has throttled back his addiction to the place since his move to Foxborough. That's still not enough for former Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi, though.
After the Patriots beat the Dolphins on Monday night, Ochocinco tweeted (apropos of Tom Brady's remarkable 517-yard, four-touchdown evening) "...I've never seen a machine operate like that n person, to see video game numbers put up n person was WOW." It was enough to send Bruschi into something approaching apoplexy.
Speaking on sports radio WEEI, Bruschi told Ochocinco to "...stop tweeting and get in your playbook," before ripping into him for apparently being in awe of Brady and the way that the Patriots play and pointing out that Ochocinco only accounted for 14 of those 517 yards.
Now, there are some people who are going to say that Bruschi is entirely correct, that Ochocinco should be making the best of his unexpected chance to play for one of the NFL's premier sides, which is all very well if you take the situation at face value. But when you stop and think about it, it is the product of some muddled thinking indeed.
First of all, there are two misconceptions in what Bruschi has said. It takes no time at all to send a tweet. That message took Ochocinco maybe 30 seconds at most, the sort of thing you can do while waiting for the microwave.
And the comment about him only producing 14 yards is misleading, because anyone with half a brain knows that the truncated preseason meant that Ochocinco isn't fully integrated into the New England offense yet, either from his perspective or Brady's, and that his presence on the field is at this stage is largely to draw defenders from the other receiving threats—Brady's main targets on Monday were the two tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, after all.
As for the rest of it, well, what player doesn't publicly glorify a teammate after an exceptional performance? Carolina players were queuing up to rave about Cam Newton on Sunday, and no one thought anything of it. And you certainly don't stop being in awe of something just because you know how it works; just ask any mechanic or engineer.
There's one other thing that Bruschi failed to understand. Chad Ochocinco might be a showoff and a raving egocentric, but he's not as stupid as Bruschi thinks he is. He learned very early on—a lot more quickly than the likes of Larry Johnson, for example—that you can't just write anything on a social media site. To the extent that there is any "awe" in that tweet, it is to show just how much Ochocinco appreciates where he is now. Not even a Twitter Luddite like Belichick is going to mind that.
Bruschi also ought to know that if Ochocinco wasn't getting into the playbook as his head coach wanted, there would be no way that he would've been on the field on Monday night.
In fact, here's a prediction for you. You are going to see very little production from Ochocinco for a week or two. Then in Week 6 against the Cowboys—which is the week before the Patriots' bye week—he is going to explode. That—not the week after the bye, as some have predicted— will be the week when the Patriots decide to reveal just how much of that playbook old No. 85 really knows.