Beckham Jr. Catch LSWA's 'Headliner of the Year'
By John Marcase
Louisiana Sports Writers Association
It was possibly the most spectacular catch in NFL history.
To those who watched him every day during his career at LSU, and even during his time at Isidore Newman School in New Orleans, it was not surprising.
They had seen Odell Beckham Jr. make the spectacular appear routine.
The catch, a one-handed grab of an Eli Manning pass in which Beckham reached behind as far as he could while being interfered with, resulted in a 43-yard touchdown against the Cowboys. That it occurred on Sunday Night Football only added to the social media frenzy.
As amazing as the grab was, it may not have been Beckham’s most impressive feat of the 2014 NFL season.
No, his most amazing feat may be the fact he caught 91 passes for 1,305 yards and 12 touchdowns despite missing the first four games of the season with hamstring issues.
Beckham’s spectacular rookie season not only netted him four Rookie of the Week awards, two Offensive Rookie of the Month awards and a Pro Bowl selection, it also makes him the Louisiana Sports Writers Association’s 2014 Headliner of the Year.
In voting from media around the state, Beckham received 122 points and 11 first-place votes to edge New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis, who received 107 points and 14 first-place votes. The Louisiana-Lafayette baseball team that set school records and spent most of the 2014 season ranked No. 1 finished a distant third in the voting with 61½ points and 2 first-place votes. In all, 10 teams or individuals received a first-place vote.
“I felt the year went well,” Beckham said following the Giants’ last game of the season. “There is still so much I can look back on, and I wish I could’ve done that and I wish I could’ve done this, but it was great to get here and be able to learn and experience things, to get a year of experience underneath my belt, and I am looking forward to next year with a smile.”
So are the Giants.
Beckham finished the season with four consecutive games of 130 receiving yards and a touchdown. The last time a rookie receiver had four consecutive games of 100 yards receiving came in the 1950s.
He also set numerous franchise and NFL rookie records for receiving yards, but more impressively, Beckham tied Hall of Famer Michael Irvin’s record of nine straight games with 90 or more receiving yards.
“Anytime you get put in a category with a great like that and a Hall of Famer, it is an accomplishment and an honor and a privilege to be on the same boat as him.”
Giants general manager Jerry Reese, in an interview on New York radio station WFAN, admitted the team was targeting Clemson’s Sammie Watkins in last year’s NFL Draft before Buffalo traded up to select Watkins.
That led to the Giants eventually taking Beckham with the 12th overall pick. The Bills’ decision paid off for the Giants.
“He has a gifted skill set,” said Reese. “I have been around a long time, and really the hands and the ball skills, I don’t know I have seen anybody with the ball skills that this kid has.”
And Reese and the Giants learned what LSU coach Les Miles and Beckham’s Tiger teammates have known for some time.
“He makes catches in practice way more spectacular than some of the ones you see on Sunday,” said Reese.
Beckham’s honors and awards figure to grow in the coming days when the NFL’s Rookie of the Year is announced on the eve of the Super Bowl.
2014 HEADLINER OF THE YEAR VOTING
(First-place votes in parentheses)
1, Odell Beckham Jr. 122 (11)
2, Anthony Davis 107 (14)
3, UL-Lafayette Baseball 61½ (2)
4, Dak Prescott 48 (2)
5, Sam Burns 39 (2)
6, Patrick Reed 34
7, Barbe Baseball 27 (2)
8, Elfrid Payton 20
9, LSU Gymnastics 19 (1)
10, UL-Lafayette Softball 10½
Others Receiving Votes: Prep Sports 7 (1), Tyler Summitt 6, Nour Abbes 5 (1), Aaron Nola 5 (1), Broderick Fobbs 5, Vicar’s In Trouble 2, Acadiana Football 2, Northwestern State women’s basketball 1, Delgado Community College Baseball 1, Kenny Henderson fired as LHSAA Commissioner 1, LSU Eunice Softball 1.
PREVIOUS HEADLINERS OF THE YEAR
2013 – Peyton Manning
2012 – Tom Benson
2011 – Drew Brees
2010 — New Orleans Saints
2009 — Drew Brees
2008 — Chris Paul
2007 — LSU football team
2006 — New Orleans Saints
2005 — New Orleans Saints
2004 — Nick Saban
2003 — LSU football team
2002 — New Orleans Hornets
2001 — David Toms
2000 — Jim Haslett, Randy Mueller
1999 — Peyton Manning