Beckham

Odell Beckham is Still the NFL’s Best Receiver…and Its Most Interesting

[Commentary] People may want to blame the Giants star wideout for their wild card game loss, but he's still who he is and that's a good thing.

by Marcus Lamar, January 10, 2017

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Beckham

New York Giants' Odell Beckham (13) during the NFC wild-card game against Green Bay. AP / Matt Ludtke

Trust me, as tired as you are about hearing about Odell Beckham Jr., I’m equally tired of writing about him.

And if Beckham isn’t careful he’s going to find himself in the same boat (pun intended) as some of his wide receiver predecessors, where we have to look at his career through two lenses: his on-the-field production versus his off-the-field antics.

But lets face facts; Beckham is the best receiver in the NFL. If you don’t believe me simply look at his production over his first three NFL seasons.

Now I know the knee-jerk reaction is to say Antonio Brown of the Pittsburgh Steelers is the best receiver in the league. He played great on Sunday, Beckham didn’t.

We can argue statistics and talent ad nauseam. What separates Brown and even Atlanta’s Julio Jones from Beckham is emotional stability. I’ll be the first to admit that since Beckham entered the league he has religiously struggled with emotional stability.

But in Beckham’s defense, he did step to the podium after an emotional loss to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday and handled his postgame conference rather professionally.

However, it couldn’t end there as that emotional stability, or in this case lack thereof, reared its ugly head (literally).

Beckham reportedly punched a hole in the wall in the stadium and was seen banging his head against the locker room door. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen this behavior from Beckham.

You can attribute his problems to his age, the fact that he plays in the media conglomerate that is New York, or just the fact that he has so many things and people pulling on him at once.

When push comes to shove Beckham is going to do whatever Beckham wants to do (insert Miami trip). I’m on record saying that I had no problem with the NY Giants receivers, led by Beckham, going to Miami a week before the biggest game of their season.

I was a firm believer that the trip would have no bearing on the actual outcome of the game or how Beckham and his teammates performed.

But when I saw Beckham lead his teammates out onto a frigid Lambeau Field, shirtless, I immediately knew it was an omen of bad things to come for Beckham, and subsequently the New York Giants.

Then he dropped a pass. Then he dropped another pass, only this time it was for a potential touchdown. This was when I really began to worry about the star receiver and his psyche.

With each dropped pass, the noise around the Miami trip, the boat picture, the shirtless pregame parade surely intensified in his head.

Vintage Beckham suddenly didn’t look so vintage. All the attention and spotlight was on him, and he crumbled under it in front of our very own eyes.

The Miami trip, the R&B album cover that never was and the shirtless parade before the game came full circle. Then for his teammates to offer some lame excuse that they wanted to get a feel for the cold to mentally prepare them for the game was beneath them.

Maybe that was their reason. Maybe it wasn’t. We’ll never know the true reason. But perception is greater than reality and the reality is they were walking around shirtless to be defiant, rehashing the boat picture controversy and further reinforcing that “hey, look at me,” culture that Beckham has fostered.


Related: Odell Beckham Catching Heat…for Being Odell Beckham


We often confuse passion with immaturity. The two aren’t interchangeable. Of course you want your superstar to be visibly upset after an emotional loss, in the playoffs at that. But when it becomes available for public consumption and dissection is when it becomes an issue.

Beckham is not helping his brand; he’s hurting it.

New York Giants fans may love him. NFL hall of famers might love him. But if he continues down this road that love and adulation will turn to blame, especially if they feel he’s impeding team success or disrespecting the game.

Then what? What will Beckham do then?

Only time will tell.

When Beckham’s career is over I vehemently believe that he is going to be up for the Hall of Fame nod.

But will his numbers and impact on the game speak for itself, like it did in the case of Jerry Rice, or will we have to publicly campaign for him to be voted in like we’re doing for Terrell Owens?

For all the flack that Beckham is catching, he’s even better at catching actual passes.

And even though he came up short on Sunday and his team lost, we’re still talking about him. Just the way he prefers it.


Marcus Lamar is a Washington D.C.-based sports journalist. You can check out his podcast “Marc My Words” on Soundcloud, YouTube and coming to iTunes soon. Follow him on Twitter @iam_marcuslamar.

 
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