Last night continued the nauseating saga of over-analyzing Giants wide-receiver Odell Beckham Jr. His turn to the NFL’s top on the field villain reached a peak in the new U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.
Beckham has been held to zero touchdowns this season with 303 reception yards off of 22 catches. He has shown flashes of brilliance in the four games this year, but what has overshadowed the 2016 Giants season has been his actions on and off the field.
Up until the infamous game against the Carolina Panthers last year, Beckham was the hottest thing in sports. Women loved his looks and men loved his performances on the field. After the Panthers game, the inner anger got to Beckham and his public perception changed.
We have seen it time and time again where the skeptical articles and scrutiny start to pop up and change public perception. In the world of social media and meme’s, they can make-or-break anyone. The same people who revered Beckham’s catch against the Dallas Cowboys, are now calling him a “crybaby” and questioning his sexuality. Twitter is a cutthroat place for anyone let alone a celebrity.
The emotion he has shown during games has not helped his cause. It is not surprising to see the level of attention he has received from referees following the suspension last season, but he has not helped his case with the decisions he makes sometimes. Some of the calls have been unfair, but what Beckham has failed to realize is that he plays for a team in the media capital of the world, and that the hype surrounded around him has created a target on his back the size of New York. Other players around the league either resent him for the attention he receives, or they realize that they can get him off his game by saying certain malicious things to him.
Last night, Eli Manning failed to target his best receiver until halfway through the second quarter. A wide receiver is only as potent as the amount of touches he receives during the game. The failure to even throw the ball his way until the second quarter is flat out frustrating for any football fan. The coaching staff needs to find ways to get him involved earlier instead of keeping him on the outside as a primary deep threat.
ESPN made sure to focus in on his facial expressions throughout the night. Whether he had his face down in his hands or if he exchanged words with a player on the Vikings, the world watched his every action.
He finished with only 23 reception yards, mostly due to the stout Vikings defense, and Xavier Rhodes. Rhodes took a part from the Josh Norman book and got in Beckham Jr’s head early, and proved valuable throughout the game. Beckham received one unsportsmanlike penalty after getting in the face of Rhodes after a play. What has been loss in that moment was the fact that Rhodes intentionally hit Beckham after he ran out of bounds. The refs only saw the anger after the play which resulted in the penalty.
There were several other instances of Beckham chirping away at the Vikings sideline. This is a natural part of the game that seems to be forgotten when discussing him. Players talk, and they show emotion. The scrutiny has been unfair to an extent. But he has to realize that all eyes are on him and because of that he has to control his emotions. The opposing team has fed off of his sensitivity and he can not seem to get out of his own way.
After the game, the obvious topic was Beckham becoming a distraction. Eli Manning seemed fed up when asked about him. Manning’s comments are problematic because of his failure to defend his teammate. Beckham is passionate and human, and has been targeted unfairly yet despite Beckham’s own immaturity, Manning failed to defend him. Manning needs to realize that his one to one TD:INT ratio has greatly affected the team this year. There were numerous occasions when the play could of been extended and he threw the ball out of bounds or into the turf. A receiver can only go as far as his quarterback takes him and Manning hasn’t held up his part of the deal.
No one cares what you say or do as long as you’re winning. Since being drafted in 2013, the Giants are 12-19. Albeit some of it has to do with coaching and personnel issues, there is always a scapegoat. Beckham Jr. has become the symbol of everything that is wrong with the New York Giants. If the Giants can put together a winning streak, the spotlight will dwindle slightly.
If he can channel his emotions into positivity for the team, that will be one less distraction for a poorly guided team.
In an interview after the game Beckham did not hold back when asked about how he was feeling:”Football is my sanctuary,” Beckham said. “It’s where I go to escape. It’s where I’m most happy. I’m not having fun anymore.” For someone who has been all smiles and dancing for most of the career, he must find that happiness to be himself again. Somewhere along the line he went from care-free to hyper sensitive.
Beckham has yet to cross the endzone, but that will surely change. Hopefully for the Giants sake, they reach an understanding and move past the non-story. The coaching has to get Beckham the ball more often, and Beckham has to realize that he is his own worst enemy. His mood swings have hurt the team. There have been other emotional wide receivers who have been successful in their careers, and Beckham should take a page out of their book. Hopefully for Giants fans and fans of Beckham, he returns to dancing and ends the senseless distraction for his team.