Some of the biggest rivalries in the NFL are between teams in the NFC East, and the Giants-Redskins is one of them. As with all division rivals, they play each other twice every season, so players on the teams become familiar with one another, which can lead to beefs developing between them.
That was the case with Josh Norman and Odell Beckham Jr., when they were on the Redskins and Giants, respectively. The players had a very public — and media-friendly — feud. Here’s what happened.
The players’ careers
Through the first half of this season, he has 14 career interceptions, with two of them having been returned for touchdowns. He has 12 forced fumbles, five fumble recoveries, and 418 tackles, including 312 solos. Norman was a Pro Bowl selection in the 2015 season, when he had a career-high four interceptions, including both of his pick-6s.
Beckham had higher expectations coming out of LSU, when the Giants made him a first-round pick (No. 12 overall) in the 2014 draft. The receiver came out of the gate strong, catching 91 balls for 1,305 yards and 11 touchdowns in just 12 games as a rookie.
He has had difficulty staying on the field, though, as 2014 was the only season to date that he has played in all 16 games. That year, he had 101 receptions for 1,367 yards, and 10 scores. In his first five-and-a-half seasons in the league (through Week 9 of this season), Beckham has accounted for 429 catches for 6,051 yards and 45 touchdowns.
He is a three-time Pro Bowler and was named the Offensive Rookie of the Year by the Associated Press in 2014.
The Josh Norman-Odell Beckham Jr. rivalry
The two combined for five personal-foul penalties. The physicality between Norman and Beckham culminated when the receiver launched himself at Norman, delivering a helmet-to-helmet hit, which Norman called “ridiculous” after the game.
He also said Beckham has “maturity of a little kid.” The feud grew that offseason, with the players talking about each other in the media and on social media.
In an interview with the Charlotte Observer in April 2016, Norman said he “doesn’t care for [Beckham] at all.” He also alluded to Beckham being overrated because of the media attention he received for his famous one-handed catch his rookie year.
In an interview with GQ that July, Beckham said that the reason Norman has “become so relevant” is because of his him and the media attention over their rivalry, which continues when their teams play each other.
Where are they now?
Norman now plays for the Redskins; he is in the penultimate year of the five-year, $75 million contract he signed with the team in 2016. He has an interception, a forced fumble, and 38 tackles in his first eight games of 2019.
At the beginning of this season, Norman reflected on the rivalry now that Beckham would be in Cleveland. Norman revealed the truth behind the rivalry, and behind most other rivalries. The two made each other better. At the end of the day, they’re both just trying to help their teams win. Norman suggested the two players respect each other.
Beckham is in his first season with the Browns, after being traded to the team in March. He is in the first year of a five-year, $90 million extension he signed with the Giants in August 2018. The contract takes him through 2023, but he has an out clause that he can exercise after the 2020 season.
He has 39 receptions through eight games this season, totaling 575 yards with just one touchdown. He has played in each of the Browns’ first eight games of the season, putting him on pace for just the second 16-game season of his career.