Ickey Woods shares origins of the Ickey Shuffle
Little known fact: The Cincinnati Bengals used to be my favorite NFL team and it all originated with Boomer Esiason, the Ickey Shuffle, and the ’88 team’s Super Bowl run. I was only five years old at the time, so having a quarterback named Boomer and running back who did a cool shuffle after his touchdowns was all that was needed to get me hooked. Note: I stopped being a fan of the team about five years ago when I got so disgusted with their team philosophy of repeatedly bringing in criminals on the cheap. Don’t forget there was a time when every arrested player who was cut by another team found a second home with the Bengals. Who wants to support that and a frugal owner like Paul Brown? Not me.
Anyway, Ickey Woods’ “Ickey Shuffle” has undergone a complete rebirth thanks to the Geico commercials that have run throughout the NFL season. Even Bengals running back Jeremy Hill did the Ickey Shuffle after scoring a touchdown last weekend.
Now that his popularity is surging, Ickey joined his ex-teammate Esiason and the cast of “Inside the NFL” on Showtime this week and shared the origins of the Ickey Shuffle.
It turns out that Ickey didn’t really know what he was doing at first.
“I just kind of made it up,” Woods told the hosts. “I flew my mom in for a game against the Cleveland Browns. I just kind of took my hands in between my legs at first. Rickey Dixon came to me and he was like, ‘Woods, what was that?’ I said, ‘Rick, that was my celebration dance.’
Dixon, a safety on the Bengals, did not approve.
“He was like, ‘man, that thing was whack!’ ” Woods recalled.
“I said, ‘what you think I should do, Rick? Throw some steps into it?’ He was like, ‘yeah!'”
Woods said he thought about a new dance and busted out the shuffle for the first time in a game against the Jets.
“So just before the Jets game I was thinking of what I could do and I couldn’t think of anything, so five minutes before it was time to go out, I said, ‘Rick, check this thing out.'”
Woods then demonstrated the present day “Ickey Shuffle” for his teammate, and Dixon approved.
“That’s gonna be live!” Dixon exclaimed to Woods.
And that’s how the Ickey Shuffle was born.
Woods rushed for 1,066 yards and 15 touchdowns during that rookie season in ’88. He tore his ACL in the second game of the ’89 season and became a backup to Harold Green after returning in 1990. Woods hurt his right knee in 1991 and was out of football after that season. During his brief career, Ickey rushed for 1,525 yards and 27 touchdowns.
Based on his timeline, Woods’ first experiment with a touchdown dance came on Sept. 25, 1988, when he rushed for two touchdowns in a 24-17 win over the Browns. The Ickey Shuffle was born on Oct. 10, 1988, when he rushed for 139 yards and two touchdowns in a 36-19 win over the Jets. That means he did the famous shuffle on 24 of his 27 career touchdowns. Atta boy, Ickey!