NFL: Who Won Between Chad Ochocinco and Tedy Bruschi?

Richard O'HaganCorrespondent IISeptember 19, 2011

Ochocinco in full flight against San Diego
Ochocinco in full flight against San DiegoElsa/Getty Images

Last week, I wrote about the fall out between the Patriots' new veteran receiver Chad Ochocinco and their former star linebacker, Tedy Bruschi.

Well, I say fall out—what happened was that Bruschi ripped Ocho for tweeting the morning after a game, and Ocho, to his credit, pretty much ignored him. But with the Pats playing at Gillette Stadium yesterday, it occurred to me that the best way of judging who won the debate might be to see how the fans reacted to their first proper look at Ocho.

What made me think this was that the debate about Bruschi's comments appeared to be pretty evenly split between those who thought that he was right and those who thought that he was a throwback to the neolithic age who didn't understand the modern game or indeed Twitter. In which case, who better to decide the victor in this debate than the people who pay their hard earned dollars to watch New England?

On the evidence of yesterday, the overwhelming winner was Ochocinco. He may only have caught two balls in the game, which tells you nothing—Julian Edelmann didn't have a reception at all—but he used them to pick up a total of 45 yards. Every one of those yards was cheered to the echo by the home crowd in a reaction which I haven't heard in Foxboro for many a long year. They may not like stars in New England, but it seems that whatever Bruschi says, the fans are pretty happy with Ochocinco the way he is.

More importantly from a playing perspective, 30 of those yards came when the Chargers opted not to double team Ochocinco and load the coverage onto Wes Welker instead. The man might not be getting as much game time as he is used to, but he proved that you still have to respect him when he is out there.