The reaction, not the boat trip, created the distraction for the Giants

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The sports media abhors a vacuum. Which could be one of the reason why athletes abhor the sports media.

Even when nothing is going on, something must be going on, because all those hours of TV and radio and podcast content must be filled. Last week, they were filled by an obsession with Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and others going to Miami on Monday, their day off one day after the end of the regular season.

It’s impossible to know whether and to what extent the trip was a distraction without knowing what other players on other teams do on their days off. It’s also impossible to know whether the trip became a distraction without knowing whether and to what extent the trip constituted a departure from the normal routines of the players involved. (That’s a point that Falcons coach Dan Quinn made on Monday’s PFT Live.)

In this specific case, the problem arose not from the trip but from the media’s over-the-top reaction to it. It was an issue all week long, low-hanging fruit on which bloviators happily gorged because it was easy and it was simple and it was conducive to get-off-my-lawn hot takery. The players heard it (how couldn’t they?), and it became part of the baggage that Beckham and others carried in to the game.

And so, in addition to the motivation to win a big game on the sizable stage of the postseason, Beckham and his teammates knew that failure would be traced immediately back to events from six days earlier. Events that had nothing to do with the game. Events that, for all anyone knows, may have been not all that much different from the things that players do on their own time every week of the season.

“Fair or not, when you do that, you’re gonna put a spotlight and a target right on your back, and say, ‘Look at me.’ And now when the team needs you, he’s got to step up,” FOX’s Joe Buck said after an arguably overthrown pass from Eli Manning wasn’t caught by Beckham in the second half of Sunday’s loss to the Packers.

Fair it’s not. But that didn’t stop Buck or Troy Aikman from banging that drum to millions, plenty of whom may not have known anything about the South Beach boating brouhaha before it was wedged into the broadcast of the game.

“It is what it is,” Aikman said. “You gave the public, you gave teammates, gave people in the locker room, you gave everybody here at this game and everybody watching an opportunity to weigh in on it and say whether or not it impacted the performance.”

Without more information about what Beckham routinely does on his days off and what other players in the game did on their day off preceding it, it’s impossible to even begin to know whether it impacted the performance. But the incessant discussion about whether it did or didn’t or would or wouldn’t or could or couldn’t impact the performance took on a life of its own, necessarily creeping into the brain of a 24-year-old who has done more than enough in three NFL seasons to earn the benefit of the doubt regarding his ability to balance free time and work time in the same way he presumably did when he entered the NFL as a 21-year-old.

The broader lesson to be learned by Beckham and others is that, even if they know that whatever they choose to do on their own time won’t be an issue, they need to factor in the potential reaction by folks who will be looking for something to get riled up about. If the week is sufficiently slow and the market sufficiently large, it can morph into a distraction even if, initially, it wasn’t.

62 responses to “The reaction, not the boat trip, created the distraction for the Giants

  1. Everyone was telling OBJ and the WR’s to use common sense.

    I would like the media to use common sense and realize that trip on the Giants off day when they would not have been together anyways did not make them lose the game. Its time we all just use our heads and think for a second.

  2. Sorry but no. You party after your season is done, not just a few days before the first playoff game.

    The time and energy they spent going to Miami and back could have been far better spent studying any gameplan materials, game film of the Packers etc.

    Going to Miami to party smacks of just assuming you’re going to win without putting in the work. And what portion of the game I watched last night the Giants did not seem as well prepared as the Packers.

  3. Tony Romo got ripped when he went on a bye week vacation to Mexico. It’s all about the optics.

  4. There were many reasons the Giants lost that game, not the least of which was Aaron Rodgers’ brilliance. Beckham had his share of drops and certainly didn’t help the cause, but he was far from the main reason.

  5. But what started the reaction? The boat trip. So the boat trip was a distraction. I don’t know what Aaron Rodgers, Big Ben, AB, Randall Cobb, Russ Wilson, or any other playing this weekend did on their day off. But that’s the point, isn’t? Whatever they did, they made sure it wasn’t a distraction.

    Professional athletes have to understand that everything they do will be under a microscope, especially during the playoffs. I don’t care what the media’s role in this is. This starts and ends with OBJ and the others. They have to take care of their business. They didn’t.

  6. Shouldn’t the focus instead be on the fact that Beckham is so emotional that he chokes under pressure?

  7. You control what you can control. Reactions are not controllable but not going to Miami during wildcard week and not posting your every step on social media are very much within control.

  8. The boat trip created the media coverage. no boat trip = no distraction. Enjoy the offseason OBJ and pay for the hole you punched in the wall cry baby

  9. So … the boat trip didn’t impact the performance but the media coverage did. Makes perfect sense. On the other hand, maybe they got clobbered yesterday by the Pack.

  10. “The broader lesson to be learned by Beckham and others is that, even if they know that whatever they choose to do on their own time won’t be an issue, they need to factor in the potential reaction by folks who will be looking for something to get riled up about.”

    Or, just don’t post pictures of whatever it is you’re doing. Keep your private time….private.

  11. More interested in the report he punched a wall after the loss. WRs don’t need hands, do they?

  12. ariani1985 says:
    Jan 9, 2017 12:08 PM
    Dont worry giant fans, my Cowboys will destroy the hapless packers.

    If there were such a thing as football gods any team you adopt after the queens perform their annual choke job would get shut out in their next game.

  13. The media is “the” distraction. BB knows this.

    Anything you say can and will be held against you in the “media’s” court of public opinion.

    It’s best to say nothing at all.

  14. Aikman harped on it all game long….my theory as to why is that the Giants are the last team he wants to see going to Dallas this weekend. No matter how bad the Giants looked yesterday, they have the Cowboy’s number, as well as the Patriot’s.

  15. If players know the media is going to react this way — and of course they do know this — then that’s all the more reason for them not to do stupid things like what Beckham and co. did last weekend.

    I’m a college professor in a small town. Part of the bargain one accepts in being a professor is that one must behave a certain way. Always. I stay out of the bars and don’t socialize with the students. I also don’t cop heroin on street corners. Period.

    Professional athletes are in the public sphere. Was it THAT important for those guys to go to Miami? Of course not. They could’ve laid low and had fun. To be in public like that is putting a target on your back. Blaming the media is stupid.

    I blame nobody but Beckham. He wants to be called the most talented WR in the game, right? Well, he didn’t look like it with his shirt off in Miami, and he didn’t look like it in Green Bay last night either. The two go hand in hand. He needs to wise up and grow up. Look in the mirror, Odell. That’s the guy you need to blame.

  16. There are a boat load of reasons they lost. You can’t just anchor down one thing. It’s time for the coaching staff to not bow to the players but rather be stern. This is an op for O.B.J. to be a bulkhead for this team and make everyone a belieber.

  17. Wow the media calling the pot black. Hey you live by the sword die by the sword. What did he expect to happen when he went down there. Exactly what happened. The hey look at me egomaniac got what he deserved. You can’t have it both ways. Maybe he will learn from this but I doubt it. I liked that those 2 piled on him. Good old OBJ the media darling. To the media who has a Supoerbowl ring they didn’t like it. The other media who needs him for their jobs, you have to defend him. Your job might depends on it.

  18. His shirtless Lambeau appearance was great, it clearly improved his ball catching ability.

    I’d like to see these receivers catch balls without sticky gloves. He definitely wouldn’t have made that ridiculous catch last year and may not have caught any balls yesterday if he didn’t have them. How you’re a NFL WR, with sticky gloves, and still drop balls is beyond me. It’s the 1 thing your paid, very well, to do.

  19. Buck and Aikman are the worst tandem.

    All they do is gush all over the Packers and Cowboys.

    God help us all if the Cowboys make the Super Bowl and Aikman is the color analyst.

    It’ll be even more insufferable if its Cowboys vs Patriots.

    I’ll be turning down the volume on my TV faster than I can saw Aikman is a homer.

  20. troy43mvp says:
    Jan 9, 2017 12:33 PM
    There are a boat load of reasons they lost. You can’t just anchor down one thing. It’s time for the coaching staff to not bow to the players but rather be stern. This is an op for O.B.J. to be a bulkhead for this team and make everyone a belieber.

    You are correct. If they don’t right the ship next year it will sink any more chances at the postseason.

  21. First thing to remember: life isn’t fair, no matter how much the liberals want to regulate everything. The NFL doesn’t give participation trophies.

    Second, when you’re an athlete, especially OBJ you are in the spotlight and when you do things to get in the spotlight you are more like to be in the spotlight more (see Kim Kardashian). Whether it was wrong or not, it opened them up to possible scrutiny. Why couldn’t they have waited until after the season to do that? It just has a bad look to it. In this day and age, there are cameras everywhere so somebody is likely to see these guys do anything.

  22. OBJ played awful. However, how can you overlook the fact the Cobb got behind every Giants defender for a TD at the end of the half? That is simply inexcusable and really was the turning point of the game. That, my friends, is on the defense and coaching, not OBJ.

  23. .
    Stop asking, ” What would Jesus do? ”

    Start asking, ” What would Skip Bayless talk about? ”

  24. Can we stop yet with the “Giants have Dallas’ number” garbage yet? Seeing that crap makes me wonder how long some of y’all have actually been fans of NFL football. Did Dallas have the Giants number in ’07? No. Did the Pats have the Giants number in ’07 since they beat em in the regular season? Apparently not. By that logic Dallas should be heavily favored against Green Bay this Sunday because they beat em once right? Yep Dallas totally has Green Bays number. You people sound ridiculous and stupid.

  25. Oh, Florio. Your Giants lose badly and you are suddenly pragmatic about the boat trip. Had this been the Cowboys, the media circus would have been ten times as large, and you would be calling for ownership and the coaches heads to roll.

    It is one thing to be a Homer as a fan. It is unequivocally another thing to be part of a media source with a very noticeable bias.

    Well, there is always next season for that close to a quarter billion dollar defensive investment (you read that right) to play commensurate with that amount in the playoffs. The experiment failed, and it failed miserably. The Giants choked away the division, and certainly choked in the playoffs in a very disappointing fashion.

  26. This is like, for people who cannot figure out which came first, the chicken or the egg.

    The REACTION would not of occurred if there were no BOAT TRIP.

    So, YES, it was the BOAT TRIP – dummy.

  27. His first playoff game, he had the nips….and stickum doesn’t work well in the cold. He’ll be better next time in the playoffs…maybe in five years.

  28. Playoff Eli needs receivers who can catch in the playoffs.

    If Coughlin was there, they would be going on a trip to Houston, instead of a boat trip.

  29. ariani1985 says:
    Jan 9, 2017 12:08 PM
    Dont worry giant fans, my Cowboys will destroy the hapless packers.

    This doesn’t surprise me one bit.
    After all, almost every Barney fan dives from one bandwagon to another.

  30. Antonio Brown did not go on a boat trip in the week before his team’s playoff game; in fact, he, Big Ben and Leveon did extra work together on the side on pass routes.

    As controversial and as camera-hungry as Terrell Owens was, I don’t ever recall him taking a trip in the week before a playoff game.

    The great ones, even the good ones, would never take days off from making themselves as prepared as they can be while the season was still going, especially if they were in the playoffs.

    What else would anyone have expected the media’s reaction to be? It was a distraction, and Odell earned the backlash.

  31. gbbvan says:
    Jan 9, 2017 12:19 PM

    Did the Giants lose by a little or a yacht?


    That comment doesn’t deserve a thumbs up. It deserves a thumbs up and a standing ovation. Well done.

  32. Still waiting for someone to make a sensible, direct connection between dropped balls and boat trips a week before a game. Would staying in NJ have enabled him to catch those balls?

    And Eli was apparently home in NJ on the off day. What is his excuse for launching balls all over the place while Roadgers was threading needles?

  33. ariani1985 says:
    Jan 9, 2017 12:08 PM

    Dont worry giant fans, my Cowboys will destroy the hapless packers.

    Yep as a fan of the Packers I am headed to Green Bay right now to beg and plead to them to not even get on the plane to Texas to save us all the misery that is coming from the best team to ever play football this current Cowboys team.

    As for the boat thing I really have no problem with it but what I do have a problem with is that they put their teammates in a position to have to answer questions about it all week. And of course we don’t need to mention Bieber do we?

  34. It’s impossible really to pinpoint any one thing as to why the Giants loss.
    Even if they hadn’t taken the trip, maybe the game would have still gone the exact same way.
    It’s anyone’s guess so I dunno why this obsession over something that may not have affected the outcome.

  35. Gotta catch the ball better in a big game. Odell did not come through.

    Let the media and anti Giants/Odell fans say what they want.

  36. I can’t speak for a professional athlete, however, it isn’t just the trip to Miami. Two flights can take a lot out of you, then add in the late night hours they likely had, and this appear to show in the picture. Can’t imagine they were 100% Tuesday morning.
    Then there’s the mental aspect of it after all the drama. You drop one and then you start thinking about the drama. Then it’s in your head

  37. Bingo. You think a veteran like Cruz would have been the leader of the group and explained it to these guys. Not that OD Me would have listened anyway.

  38. Vikings still haven’t recovered from their “boat” trip.
    By the way Vike fans, how’s that “New” stadium holding up? Any more walls falling down?

  39. Funny article. The non-stop, first to report, argue one side to get hits, then argue the other side to get other hits, all for ad $$$$ is what this site is built on. So write an article that this whole story/no story might be more of a problem than the actual action? Ha isn’t that what you live off of?

  40. What do you expect from Odell Beckham? Someone who for whatever reason, needs attention so bad, that after a good play in one game, proposes to a kicking net? Sorry, but that behavior is representative of something. I have no idea what, but he’s certainly not the average person.

    And the decision to go to Miami in playoff week, to party, was lacking in good judgement and the coach of the team, should not have allowed it. These players are making tons of money and the fans are invested in the team doing their best to win. That’s not doing your best and the fact that an most of the Giants team didn’t know that….is pretty funny actually.

    I hope they make it an annual trip. [g]

  41. The big time Giants receivers were outplayed by the Packers receivers, the Packers Defense played better than the vaunted Giants Defense. OBJ has to decide if he wants to be a celebrity or a football player….All the talent in the world makes no difference if your brain is constantly in the wrong place….

  42. lmao cry me a river. The entire sports world was turned upside down when Romo and Witten went to Cabo on the off-weekend, this joint included. You wanted attention and you got attention. Congrats.

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