As a football matchup, Josh Norman v. Odell Beckham Jr. was great theater on its own. Norman largely bottled up the wideout, until late when Beckham beat the Defensive Player of the Year candidate for a touchdown that completed a 28-point comeback for the Giants.
The budding rivalry wasn't contained to their talent Sunday, however. After Norman diminished Beckham's ability during the week, the two frequently spent Sunday's game fighting. Norman and several of his Panthers teammates were upset with Beckham for a helmet-to-helmet that blindsided Norman. Beckham arguably should have been ejected for the play, but officials left him in the game.
Here's video of the helmet-to-helmet hit:
Norman went off on Beckham after the game, calling the hit "malicious" and advocating for the NFL to take action against the wideout. In an on-field interview with Steve Overmyer of CBS 2 in New York shortly after the game ended, he had heated words for Beckham.
Josh Norman on Odell "F--- him. He's a B***! Screw him and his whole set up"#NYGvsCAR— Steve Overmyer (@OvermyerTV) December 20, 2015
Norman composed himself for his locker room interview in front of reporters, but held little back.
Norman says Beckham's true nature was exposed today. As his "layers were peeled back."— Joe Person (@josephperson) December 20, 2015
Norman says fine if Beckham wants to "dance and prance around like a ballerina," but he shouldn't try to be something he's not. ie, tough.— Joe Person (@josephperson) December 20, 2015
"If he wants to be Michael Jackson and dance all over the place and not be a football player...I hope I pulled back his mask." -Norman— Jonathan Jones (@jjones9) December 20, 2015
According to Norman, not only was Beckham "hunting" on the field, but he also highlighted what he believes is a double standard applied to cornerbacks and wide receivers by NFL officials.
Josh Norman still nearly foaming at mouth re:what transpired btwn him and Beckham. Said "110%" a defensive player would have been ejected.— Jenny Vrentas (@JennyVrentas) December 20, 2015
Norman's teammate Cortland Finnegan, who was burned by Beckham for a 40-yard gain on the Giants' final offensive possession, stuck up for Norman with some comments he may like to take back.
Cortland Finnegan on Beckham Jr.: "He may have something in his blood...Maybe it's female related."— Kevin Armstrong (@KevinGArmstrong) December 20, 2015
Beckham defended himself and the two personal fouls he committed, saying that "the second man always gets caught." On the play in question, however, it'd be hard to argue that he didn't initiate contact. Even Giants head Tom Coughlin admitted that Beckham lost his composure, but felt that leaving him in the game would be more beneficial to the young receiver.
Asked if he considered benching Odell Beckham at any point, Tom Coughlin said "You want me to take him out of the game?"— Ralph Vacchiano (@RVacchianoNYDN) December 20, 2015
Coughlin later said he gave "strong consideration" to pulling Beckham, but "He’s got to learn at some point to deal w/things on the field."— Ralph Vacchiano (@RVacchianoNYDN) December 20, 2015
It'd be surprising if Beckham did not incur some form of punishment from the NFL. And if you're looking forward to more trash talk, Norman was mic'd up during the game.