By Rob Lep
I know what you’re thinking: Who is this guy and why should I listen to what he has to say about the best wide receiver in New York Giants history? “I’M AN ANGRY GIANTS FAN GOSH DARNIT AND IF YOU DON’T AGREE ON MY ODELL TAKE, I’M NOT GOING TO LISTEN!”
Full disclosure: I’m well aware that if the New York Giants drafted Sam Darnold No. 2 overall in the 2018 NFL Draft, Odell Beckham Jr would still be a Giant too.
Darnold and Odell or Eli and Saquon. That should make you angry...
The NFL is a results driven business. During Odell’s tenure in New York, Big Blue was 25-34. Miami Boat trip or not, the Giants won just ONE playoff game with Odell. They scored an average of 22.6 points and allowed 23.8 points per game.
Without OBJ, the Giants went 6-15. Their offense scored just 18.5 points per contest when Odell was not on the field while allowing 24.8 points on defense.
Fans are scared the Giants can’t win without Odell but in reality they didn’t win all that much with him either. AND that’s far from Odell’s fault.
Beckham ends his Giants career with 5,400 receiving yards and 44 touchdowns in 59 games. The numbers are almost irrelevant. I’m a fan of the eye test.
It wasn’t just the catch versus the Dallas Cowboys on SNF. He was a superstar. In NEW YORK CITY. Transcendent talent. Box office. Must see TV. Get your popcorn ready. And he had some awesome hair…
Don’t try to convince me Odell proposing to a kicking net or going on that Miami boat are the reason the Giants have stunk up the joint for close to the last decade. We both know that’s as legit as LeBron James' come-back-from-the-dead hairline.
Odell also saved Eli Manning’s career. For five years. Without Beckham, Eli is not behind center for Big Blue in 2019.
After his second SB victory in 2011, Manning season total dropped 1000 passing yards in 2012.
The next year (2013), he had the worst season of his NFL career: 27 interceptions, 18 touchdowns and a sub .500 Giants campaign for the first time since Manning’s rookie year.
Insert Beckham and Manning had two of his best statistical seasons of his career in 2014-15, including a career high 35 touchdown passes in 2015 and just 14 interceptions each of those two years, his lowest since 2008.
I’ve often referred to Eli as MySpace: he was great, served his purpose and had a lot of success. The honeymoon was amazing. But that was in the past and it’s time to move on. Eli Manning won two Super Bowls over the greatest dynasty in sports history. No one can ever take that away from him.
Escaping the grasp of Vince Wilfork and delivering that pass to David Tyree in Super Bowl 42 is the greatest moment in Super Bowl history. It was magical. Nothing like it will ever happen again. He deserves to have his No. 10 jersey retired by the Giants forever. The farewell tour. The whole nine yards.
In 2019, Manning is not the answer for any team at quarterback. Certainly not the Giants. Patrick Mahomes, Baker Mayfield and the Kyler Murray’s of the world are the future.
Pocket passers who have the athleticism and mobility to extend plays with their legs when the play breaks down. Russell Wilson has made a living off of it. Oh yeah, he won a Super Bowl too. Mahomes throws lefty passes. That's just not fair. They are Instagram. Eli, for better or worse, is the past.
But with Beckham as well as defensive anchors Landon Collins and Olivier Vernon all gone, the Giants are forced to rebuild. That means finally Eli is out too.
Josh Rosen, Dwayne Haskins or maybe even Wilson...A man can dream can’t he?
Whether we like it or not, Beckham never really fit in with the Giants. Odell was a superstar. He was born for the spotlight just like he was to play football in the first place, as he described in his farewell Instagram Post to New York. Eli has always epitomized the "perfect Giant": he let's his play do the talking.
He gives you absolutely nothing during press conferences. Just like Derek Jeter, he never gave you anything. For better or worse, Beckham wasn't that. And he shouldn't have ever had to be.
Like trying to make it work with a relationship with no long-term future, the Giants weren't themselves with Odell. They grabbed all the headlines. The New York tabloids had a field day. The losses certainly didn't help. Meanwhile, it was the Jets who drafted the franchise quarterback. Gang Green improved week after week while the Giants had to figure out their Odell "problem".
The next thing we knew Eli and rapper Lil Wayne had beef. Beckham was calling out his quarterback on national television.
The popular term was "The Giants Way". The Mara family along with the New England Patriots and the Pittsburgh Steelers were the gold standards in NFL front offices. In recent years, they've been anything but that. We won't go back to the infamous benching of Eli Manning for Geno Smith.
I’m not looking forward to the Eli-to-Saquon Barkley checkdowns in 2019. And there will be A LOT of them. Even if he is the reincarnation of Barry Sanders and Bo Jackson with some rock hard abs.
But my hope is we’ll be thanking Dave Gettleman a few years from now. The hope that they will return to "The Giants Way", even if that means no more Odell Beckham Jr. Does Gettleman deserve the benefit of the doubt? Hell no. He claims the Giants “have a plan”. We’ll wait and see. They also didn’t “sign Odell to trade him”. Insert pitchforks here.
The Jets just signed LeVeon Bell too. That certainly doesn’t help heal the wound. Big Blue signing Golden Tate to a 4-year, $37.5 million deal is hopefully a good start. These are interesting times in Gotham City.
Lost in all of this: the Browns are the must watch team of the NFL in 2019 and its because they are supposed to win football games. NOT go 0-16… What a world we live in.