The absolute worst thing to ever happen to Odell Beckham Jr. and the New York Giants was “the catch” on “Sunday Night Football.”
On the night of Nov. 23, 2014, something happened that signaled instantaneous New York sports history.
Talented, amazing, absolutely breathtaking — as far as great catches are concerned, it was everything and more.
Well, not exactly everything.
As sparkling as the 24-year-old New Orleans native has been in his career, he’s yet to make the “big” catch and everything that’s happened since “the catch” suggests that night of Nov. 24, 2014, was the worst thing to happen to both Beckham and the Football Giants.
Instant stardom. He wasn’t forced to earn it. Sadly, this is our society today and thanks to “the catch,” the media has been OBJ-crazed. He was crowned. Little kids, instead of practicing the sure, two-handed game-winning touchdown instead get after it with the one-handed circus act during pregame warm-ups and even during the contest. This isn’t his fault. It’s the world we live in.
Make no mistake about it, the kid has all the talent in the world.
His hands are sure-handed (despite the drops). His route-running is splendid. His feet and hips are other-worldly. When Beckham catches the ball and has just a couple yards of space, he not only uses that superb 4.43 40-yard time to his advantage, he creates angles on the field that are pure genius. Defenders simply cannot defend such a skillset.
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When it was time to finally get the real party started in Green Bay, he disappointed.
With the majority of the oblivious football media blaming two-time champion Eli Manning for the Giants horrid 2016 offensive season, it was OBJ who failed in the tournament. From play one, the offensive line held up and Manning was slinging the ball. After all, this was a clutch situation. Eli will always have ice-water running through his veins.
Despite media idiocy, Eli Manning was a stud when it counted.
Odell Beckham Jr. and his fellow weapons failed him.
Key drops led to New York not pouncing on Green Bay early. You know the story. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie hit the sidelines and Aaron Rodgers torched Trevin Wade and company in the second half to earn the playoff victory.
Shortly thereafter, instead of getting after it hard, OBJ decides voluntary offseason training activities aren’t for him. Only he and Olivier Vernon missed Giants OTAs.
Some in this new-aged extremely apathetic media provide Beckham with a pass. After all, who among us volunteer to go to work on an off day?
The real question is, “Who would miss a day of voluntary work when 99 percent of their coworkers are attending?” I bet the answer to that one is a bit different than the former.
And that’s where Beckham still falls short. He has the goods to go down as one of the greats of all-time. He’s yet to realize “the goods” simply aren’t good enough.
We’ve touched on it already, even prior to the Josh Norman blowout. If Beckham wants to be the best, he still must change his ways.
The best shows up no matter what. The best understands he needs to be there despite not needing to be there. The best projects a feeling that he has much more to prove.
Right now, it feels as though Beckham already knows he’s made it. He feels he’s on the level, the same stage as a LeBron James.
He’s not and the Giants would be well-advised to actually tell him that. This is where the other problem comes in.
Since “the catch,” not only has Beckham gone down a misleading path, but so has the organization who’s prided itself in outstanding character decisions. Uncharacteristically, Tom Coughlin is also included in this nonsense. When he failed to remove OBJ from the Norman game against the Carolina Panthers, he contributed to the rationalization that is “pleasing the superstar known as Beckham.”
We’ve seen it too many times. The constant selfish on-the-field actions that scream “look at me” instead of look at the team. Even when OBJ came up big against those Norman-led Panthers with the game-tying touchdown, he decided to step over his arch-enemy risking a 15-yard penalty on the kickoff:
Game on the line?
Throw it to OBJ.
Beckham beats Norman.
— NFL (@NFL) December 20, 2015
To risk such a huge penalty in such a critical situation is inexcusable.
A season ago, we saw all of the field goal net stuff and the silliness that went into that. It just doesn’t end with this guy.
The defenders will bring up the classic excuse that is, “Beckham’s emotions help him succeed on the field.” Well, if the kid can’t control his emotions in between plays, he’ll never be great. The great ones are able to do the right thing in between whistles. The great ones don’t hurt their own team time and time again.
— People Over Profit (@Jiillyy) October 5, 2015
— NFL (@NFL) December 20, 2015
But then comes the defenders. Then comes those excuse-makers for the kid, including the Giants themselves.
And here lies the real problem. Beckham, a kid whose talent is unsurpassed by anybody in history, has an opportunity to go down as one of the greats of all-time. The only issue — and it’s a big one — is that he needs help. He needs his fans and his organization to not provide free passes left and right.
He needs them to hold him accountable for his actions.
If he receives that, we’re looking at the next Jerry Rice. Unfortunately, since “the catch,” he’s received the opposite of accountability. He’s received free passes and pats on the back despite hurting his own team time and time again.
When the money was on the line for the 11-5 Giants last season, the champion QB showed up. The young, cocky wide receiver did not.”The catch” crowned him entirely too early. Instead of a talented catch in a regular season loss, what should crown Odell Beckham Jr. is a sure-handed, big boy catch on the Frozen Tundra of Lambeau.
Until he and his supporters figure that out, he has a long way to go before greatness enters his career of amazing statistics.