NFL news: Around the league in 32 plays

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Happy Red Friday, and Merry Christmas, Addicts!  Well this was certainly a packed week of NFL news and rumors.  So much so that I’m not even going to waste any more time with the introduction.  You all know what the lead story is…

Lead Story: Josh Norman defeats Odell Beckham Jr for the NFL Middleweight Title

There was clearly no love lost here. Mandatory Credit: Jim O

That just got flat out ugly…which is exactly what Josh Norman and the Panthers wanted.  I don’t think that could have been any more masterfully conducted than what Carolina did to Odell Beckham Jr.  Forgetting the cheap helmet to helmet shot for a second (and I do mean a second, because we will certainly come back to that), outside of some key grabs late in the game, Beckham was a complete and total mess on the field.  He was clearly more interested in proving his manhood to Josh Norman than he was in proving his skills.  And yes, you can attribute that loss for the Giants directly to the fact that Odell Beckham Jr was clearly not in his right mind.  Of course, the story doesn’t end there…

NFL officiating has got to do something.  I mean, how was something like that allowed to carry on for so long?  How was it allowed to get to that point?  It wasn’t like the officials didn’t see what was going on.  They were constantly separating Norman and Beckham all night long.  Those refs (and the league as a whole) are very lucky that Norman wasn’t hurt by the OBJ spear attempt.  Had he suffered a concussion, you can guarantee there would have been some kind of legal recourse taken.  Now, after the game, I can find no real fault with the actions of the NFL itself.  Beckham absolutely deserved to be suspended, and Norman deserved to be fined.

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Yes, Josh Norman (though I credited him earlier) is not an innocent victim in all of this, and he deserved the fine he got.  And, yes, you could certainly make a strong argument that he deserved to be suspended as well.  However, whatever punishment Norman got, Beckham HAD to get something one level higher.  Regardless of anything else, he is the one that ultimately crossed the line in the most clear and egregious manner.  Nothing that Josh Norman did warranted that blind side, helmet to helmet, cheap shot.  Norman certainly got physical as well, but nothing to that level.  And that’s why I think just the fine for Norman will suffice.  Of course, there are those who think that Beckham was somehow justified in his blatant attempt to injure another player.  Lemme take a second to explain why that is just wrong…

The Panthers found an answer for slowing OBJ. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

  1. They were threatening him with a bat! – First off…bullshit.  Nevermind the fact that the Panthers have carried bats onto the field every game this year as a motivational tool, we’ll stick to something just a tad bit more obvious…there is 0% chance that the Panthers would openly assault Beckham with a weapon in a public setting right before an NFL game.  I mean…how can anybody buy that for even a second?!!  First off, it’s a felony.  Second, I’m pretty sure that would be grounds for a forfeit.  And third, that’s not something you’re going to keep quiet.  Whether a guy “threatened to do it” or not…it never happened.  Beckham was never actually attacked, so it’s a moot point anyways.
  2. They used homophobic slurs! – Well then, God help Odell Beckham Jr if he’s ever in a pickup game with a bunch of 15 year olds.  The guy’s head might explode.  Listen, we cannot just sit here and pretend like we don’t know these guys are talking all sorts of trash that is not suitable for the ears of children.  Racial slurs, remarks about someone’s mother/wife/sister, and yes, homophobic remarks are thrown around all over the field during the course of the game.  It happens.  And Beckham had better get used to it.

And let’s not forget that Beckham essentially handed this tactic to his opponents.  He stated, in an interview, that the way to stop him was to get under his skin.  He put that out there for every single person who faced him this year.  Josh Norman and the Panthers were just smart enough to follow through on it.  And it worked.  If you’re going to give the enemy a blueprint for stopping you, it’s pretty foolish to be taken by surprise when they utilize it.

Now, some credit where it is due.  First off, a tip of the cap to Tom Coughlin who admitted that he didn’t pull his star receiver because he was simply trying to win the game.  A lot of coaches would have tried to sweep things under the rug, but Coughlin came clean with it.  Second, and more importantly, credit to Odell Beckham Jr and his people for issuing not just an apology, but a statement of reason for the appeal.  Not trying to play the victim anymore is the right move on his part.

I know it seems like I’m letting the Panthers off easy here…I am.  Ultimately, Carolina chose the strategy they thought would win the game, and they were right.  They exploited the weakness of the opponent and secured the victory.  It might not have been the gentleman’s way, but it was the victorious way.  And that’s all we’ll remember five to ten years from now.