The New York Giants have a problem with their team, but believe it or not, it actually isn’t Odell Beckham Jr.
Before the Giants lost 33-31 on a record-tying 63-yard kick by Panthers kicker, Graham Gano, the Giants superstar wide receiver garnered a lot of negative backlash Sunday morning for his Sunday NFL Countdown interview with ESPN personality Josina Anderson with multi-platinum selling artist Lil’ Wayne by his side.
The 7 minute interview captured Beckham’s current frustrations with: his team’s inability to score; the Giants then 1-3 record; his thoughts on Eli Manning not passing him the ball how he wants; and teams with high-powered offenses, such as the currently 5-0 Los Angeles Rams. Anderson even asked about Beckham’s happiness with the team currently.
Beckham answered every question truthfully, and this drove media personalities, and Giants head coach, Pat Shurmur, into a frenzy. Before the interview aired, the Giants Head Coach actually confronted Beckham about his comments, which lead to the disgruntled wide receiver publicly apologizing to his teammates before their Sunday afternoon matchup in Carolina.
As for the game itself, the Giants still lost, but the offense was able to score 31 points; the most the team has scored since January 3rd, 2016 in a 35-30 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Beckham led all players with 8 catches on 131 yards and a receiving touchdown. Ironically, he even threw a touchdown pass for 57 yards to Saquon Barkley, which is the longest pass play the Giants have had in since Week 5 in 2017. Beckham also graded out as the highest rated player on the Giants with 90.7.
After the loss, Beckham addressed the media and said he doesn’t regret his ESPN interview and believed his words were a positive influence. Based on his and the team’s numbers for the game, one has to wonder why Beckham continues to receive such criticism for his comments (and basically everything else he does on and off the field.)
What makes this situation even more concerning, is that Beckham straightforwardly expressed his opinion publicly, and the team, especially their offense, responded in a way the team hasn’t in nearly two years. Despite this, the general consensus appears to be that Beckham was wrong for what he said.
It is understandable that Beckham’s past behavior earned him the reputation of being a disruptive player, and many said he made a fool of himself. Who can forget him attacking a kicking net, throwing tantrums on the sideline, and getting into an on-field fight with Redskins corner Josh Norman? However, all of this is behind him.
Ever since the Giants re-signed Beckham to a five-year, 90 million dollar extension to make him the highest paid player in his position, he has also been the leader of the team. In every game this season, he congratulated his teammates when they scored or made big plays and consoled them in stressful situations. Yet, the majority of mass media continue to make him out as a bad guy.
The Giants organization on the other hand, hasn’t lived up to their expectations like Beckham has. Back in 2016, New York finally cut ties with long-term head coach Tom Coughlin after 12 seasons, 5 playoff berths, 3 divisional championships, and 2 Super Bowl Championships. Since then, the Giants fired Ben McAdoo in 2017 after a disastrous 3-13 season, following their 11-5 season in 2016.
So far, things look the same with Shurmur, as the team is 1-4 and currently has the highest chance of earning the first overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.
As a fan of the Giants, I can honestly say that the team has failed Beckham, not the other way around. He is playing in his fifth season, and, though regarded as one of the league's most polarizing athletes, he continues to produce at a superstar level. His 39 catches for 462 yards is fourth in the NFL among receivers. His team on the other hand, makes you scoff at the fact that they once won two Super Bowls in a five year span.
With an upcoming Primetime matchup against the defending Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday, Beckham and the New York Giants either need to come together to produce a win or they will continue to be the media circus have been so far in 2018.
All Stats and info was used from Pro Football Reference and Giants.com