Any and all hype leading up to the showdown between Carolina Panthers cornerback Josh Norman and New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. was exceeded on Sunday. The two routinely engaged in extra-curricular activities after plays, with the Giants receiver committing three penalties on the day.
Beckham Jr. was clearly caught up in the moment, and will have a tough time losing his newfound reputation as a prima donna. Claiming he was flagged for retaliating during each of the scuffles, the game film appears to suggest otherwise.
There were many dust-ups between Beckham Jr. and Norman, but the worst one came on a simple running play by the Giants. Norman dodged a thrown punch by Beckham Jr., who then intentionally charged into Norman with the crown of his helmet. It was a brutal helmet-to-helmet collision and one many feel should have resulted in an ejection. However, the former LSU Tiger went unpenalized and was able to stay on the field.
The dirty play actually refocused Beckham Jr., as he helped the Giants erase a 35-7 third quarter deficit and tie the game with 1:46 remaining. Much to Beckham Jr.’s dismay though, MVP frontrunner Cam Newton and the Panthers responded. Newton led his offense down the field and had their game-winning drive capped off by a Graham Gano field goal as time expired.
Of course, the Norman-Beckham Jr. drama didn’t end when the players shook hands after the game. In his post-game interview, Norman called the Giants wide receiver a “ballerina,” and said “the maturity level on him is just as a little kid. I think he needs to grow.”
Certainly harsh words by the Defensive Player of the Year candidate, but based on Beckham Jr.’s behavior throughout the game, Norman seems to have a point.