Odell Beckham Jr. had lost before the New York Giants even took the field on Sunday. The Giants dared to enjoy their day off last Monday before preparing for their Wild Card game against the Green Bay Packers, which armed trolls and detractors looking for any reason to get their pitchforks out.
The now-infamous boat photo was talked about more than it should have been during the week. But hey, multi-million dollar athletes have the bandwidth and coin to go ahead and do that on their off-day. I think we all would!
Come Sunday, Odell Beckham Jr. was dropping more passes than usual. Some of the passes were short, across-the-middle throws like this one:
Or this one, which was a good throw under the circumstances, but still fairly difficult since it’s coming over his head, with his arms fully outstretched:
These plays led many people on social media — and even Joe Buck and Troy Aikman in the announcer’s booth -- to suggest that the boat trip might have had something to do with all of the drops in the Giants’ 38-13 loss. He wasn’t focused enough! He needs to be studying film instead of relaxing! Why isn’t he wearing a shirt!
This is where my eyes roll straight out of my head.
The idea is pretty ridiculous — and lazy at best — but Beckham expected it.
“It started before the game,” Beckham said of the criticism. “It happened early, and it did a great job of putting it in people’s minds that, ‘Okay now if the Giants lose, it’s because you went to Miami.’”
Beckham added, “There was nothing that could connect seven days ago to today and how we came out and played and executed. There’s just nothing in the world, it’s not realistic.
“I went throughout the entire week of practice fully locked in,” Beckham said, “you can ask anybody. I didn’t expect the game to go this way today.” As far as the drops go, Beckham said that on the first two, he was in position to make catches when he didn’t expect to be, which happens.
The Giants wrapped up their regular season on New Year’s Day against rival Washington on the road. It was the Giants’ 11th win of the season, giving them their best win total since 2008.
With a day off following one of the best regular seasons in recent memory, Beckham and his teammates took a trip for that day. Even head coach Ben McAdoo had absolutely no problem with his players going.
“Players are off until tomorrow morning,” McAdoo said via the New York Daily News. “We will see them tomorrow morning and they’ll get their workout in, and we’ll get ready for Green Bay.”
McAdoo was questioned on if he was going to discipline his players, and he reiterated, “The players are off. They are not working.”
After the game, McAdoo was asked if he felt his team was ready, to which he confidently responded, “Absolutely, I think the guys were dialed in. I think they played with tremendous effort.”
On Beckham specifically, he said, “I think he played with tremendous effort, we just have to handle the football better.”
Prior to the matchup against the Packers, Beckham had played in just one other game in temperatures below 32 degrees. On Sunday, it was 13 degrees. He won’t use that as an excuse, but it definitely doesn’t make things easier.
As much as some like to say “real” football is played in colder conditions, it almost always makes the game worse. After all, most new stadiums aren’t built with a retractable roof “just because.”
Let’s also stop pretending OBJ’s bad game cost the Giants the whole damn thing, and go down the list of other factors.
Other reasons the Giants lost:
- Trey Songz pointed this one out — the defensive backs weren’t on the boat, and they all got torched — for 362 yards, including a Hail Mary
- The Giants had just 70 yards on the ground, with their starter, Paul Perkins, only contributing 30
- Other players like Sterling Shepard, and even some Green Bay Packers, had drops
- Aaron Rodgers has been playing out of his mind: 22 touchdowns and zero interceptions in the last eight games
- They were on the road, against a team that had won six consecutive games
- I jinxed Odell by writing about him
It’s fair to say that Beckham dropped some passes that he would typically have caught. To say that’s it’s because he had a little bit more fun than the average person does on their off-day is pretty lame.
It’s not like this guy is going to forget how to catch a football because he went on a boat in Miami for a day.
We all do different things on our off-days. Speaking on behalf of myself — a writer — my off-days almost never have anything to do with my work. They’re typically spent by sleeping in a little bit, working out later than usual, seeing what we’re all obsessing over on Twitter, and could include a variety of activities including reading, playing video games, or going out for dinner and drinks.
But please — don’t tell my bosses, it might make them think that my off-days are hurting my performance six days later. That Bojangles I ate on Wednesday could really ruin my creative process the following Tuesday.
Football is Odell Beckham Jr.’s job. He’s damn good at it, but we all have bad days at work. It’s not because he went to Miami.