Billy “White Shoes” Johnson: Widener Player’s “Funky Chicken” Dance Inspired NFL CelebrationsOctober 8, 2010
I grew up in rural Georgia watching the Atlanta Falcons on Sundays, so when I started at Widener more than a year ago it sparked memories to see the red helmet and jersey of Billy “White Shoes” Johnson displayed in the university’s Wellness Center. Johnson, a lightning fast receiver and return man extraordinaire, starred for the Falcons from 1982-1987, and ultimately served 14 seasons in pro football. The ESPN video below ranks him as the third greatest returner of all time. I vividly remember his touchdown celebration known as the Funky Chicken — one commentator called it “The greatest celebratory dance in the history of the NFL.” The dance, in fact, originated in a Widener uniform. The Sacramento Bee wrote that his first performance followed a touchdown against Drexel in 1971.
If any alumni or other Widener fans from Johnson’s years at Widener recall his touchdown celebrations, please post your memories below in the comments field. And enjoy the video — it includes the Funky Chicken at the 2:35 mark. – Sam Starnes, Editor