Not a Fluke: Odell Beckham Jr. is Reaching for Success

The Giants star tells about how all his greatest moments have come in losses, and what his coach (and hair) means to him.


Odell Beckham Jr. has proved beyond any doubt that his internet-shattering one-handed (three fingers, really) catch last year on Sunday Night Football against the Cowboys was no fluke. He’s repeated the feat several times this year, and peeled off a few monstrous catch-and-runs for touchdowns. He’s also proved that if you get the cover of Madden and Sports Illustrated in the same year, that the fabled jinxes offset, as he continues to be a top-five NFL wideout and begins his assault on the Giants record books. He spoke to M&F after the Giants’ latest fourth-quarter collapse to the Jets at a press event hosted by his sponsor, Head & Shoulders.

M&F: You’ve had so much success and showed no signs of any sophomore slump, but is it harder to enjoy with the struggles the team has endured?

OBJ: For sure. Football isn’t just my job. It’s what I love doing. The way that the season has gone, it’s been really unfortunate. You lose sleep at night over things like this. To have some of the losses we’ve had—the way that we’ve lost, it doesn’t leave a good feeling.

M&F: Especially when you look at the greatest catches you’ve made, the greatest plays you’ve made…

OBJ: They’ve all come in losses. It’s not fun, and quite frankly, it’s hard to get over.

M&F: Tom Coughlin is on the hot seat again—I know that you can’t speculate on what might or might not happen, but what has he meant to your development being your first coach in the pros?

OBJ: It’s such an awesome experience. In college I kind of learned my lesson about having a coach that’s always on you. When you have a coach that’s always on you, you’re like, “Why am I always the one getting picked on?” Somebody could do something and not get in trouble for it and I’d do the same thing and get in trouble. I had to mature to realize that if a coach is always on you like that, he probably sees something in you. You should worry if he’s not on you. And since the minute I walked in here—it could’ve been a lot of things, the fact that I’m a wide receiver, the blonde mohawk, I could just see that things are set up where you could be misunderstood.

M&F: There are a few generations between you two.

OBJ: Right. But as we grew and developed and got to know each other, I have so much respect for Coach Coughlin, what he’s been able to do in his career and what he continues to do. He’s an amazing person. He’s taught me so much.

I’d imagine he probably had something to say to you after you kicked the ball in the Jets game.

Yeah, I talked to him and my wide receiver coach as well. While it’s happening in the moment, I’m not thinking that’s a real penalty. The kick—that was not what I was trying to do. I looked and said, “That went kind of far…” And then I see the flags and I said, “Am I really getting flagged for this?” It’s tough. I’ve got to do better and I’ve got to know better than that. You never want to put yourself in a situation to hurt the team.

M&F: It’s been a month since a win. How’s the locker room?

OBJ: We could use one, for sure. It’s not fun losing—in anything. I don’t care what it is. I don’t care if it’s a card game, a video game, I hate losing. We definitely need to get a win and it’s going to have to be this weekend.