The 2000 Oregon State University Beavers wide receiving duo of TJ Houshmandzadeh and Chad Ochocinco Johnson would eventually become the star pass catching core of the NFL franchise the Cincinnati Bengals. Exactly how these two young men from opposite ends of the country (California and Florida) would find themselves playing on the same football teams at the college and professional levels is a completely random coincidence.
Oregon State, located in Carvallis, OR, has a respectable football program that from time to time places players onto NFL teams. In the case of Pro Bowl wide receivers Johnson and Houshmandzadeh who played together on the Oregon State Beavers squad in the fall of 2000 having two NFL all-star wide receivers in the same huddle on a college team is exceptionally rare for any school – even the most well established powerhouses. The shear unlikelihood of having so much talent on one offense is especially rare for a mid-tier level organization like the Oregon State Beavers.
While playing together for the Beavers in 2000 it was largely Chad Johnson who dominated the spotlight during a prolific season in which the two future NFL stars led their team to a very impressive 11-1 finish that included a victory over Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl held in Phoenix. After successfully catching the attention of NFL scouts while playing alongside each other in Carvallis for a season the duo of wide receiver greats very randomly landed on the same professional team at the conclusion of the April 2001 NFL Draft.
The Cincinnati Bengals chose Chad Johnson (who would later change his name to Chad Ochocinco in 2008) with the 36th overall pick in the second round and TJ Houshmandzadeh with the 204th overall pick in the seventh round. Despite a significant amount of offensive success over the next eight seasons with quarterback Carson Palmer the wide receiving duo of Ochocinco (Johnson) and Houshmandzadeh was broken up on March 2, 2009 when TJ signed a contract to leave Cincinnati to play for the Seattle Seahawks. The March, 2009 signing marked the first time in nearly a decade that Chad (from Miami, FL) and TJ (from Barstow, CA)were not on the same team.
To give readers who are not very familiar with college or professional football proper perspective as to just how unusual the situation with Chad Ochocico Johnson and TJ Houshmandzadeh was it should be noted that a repeat occurrence of similar circumstances has not occurred anywhere else in professional football since Chad and TJ were united from opposites sides of the country (Florida and California) on the Oregon State campus in 2000. The two standout players are arguably the best combination of wide receivers to take their collective play making ability from college to the pros together.