Most people remember the “Ickey Shuffle” from the Bengals’ Super Bowl run in 1988. The author of that distinctive dance, Elbert “Ickey” Woods, ran for 1,066 yards that season, only to injure his left knee the following preseason, and then his right knee two years after that. Before he even turned 26, Woods was out of football.
Today, at age 45, Woods is rehabbing two reconstructed knees and coaching women’s football. He recently gave an interview to the Ft Worth Star-Telegram to raise awareness for his new foundation started in honor of his late son and to talk about, among other things, the evolution of the end zone celebration that he helped cultivate into an artform.
What is the difference between the Ickey Shuffle and today’s touchdown celebrations?
The entertainment or the things that they’re doing now is more me-oriented. They’re geared more for the player than the fans. My thing was geared toward the fans. I never did it on the road. I always did it at home. It was something for our fans to enjoy, something to keep “The Jungle” rocking. Guys now, I think they’re more into me-me with the Sharpie, the cellphone.
I know you talk to Bengals receiver Chad Ochocinco. Have you ever helped him plan one of his touchdown celebrations? Naw, naw, naw.
It’s almost a relief to see those nasty zipped-up knees and realize that his frailty might have kept Woods from becoming another post-concussion syndrome statistic. Old football players to me are a lot like ex-girlfriends: once they’re out of my life, I tend to forget that they exist. Hopefully Ickey will continue to battle, and maybe have one last dance before it’s all over.