Former LSU standout and current New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. is already in the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a rookie. After making that miraculous backwards-diving, one-handed, 43-yard touchdown catch last year in Week 12 against the Dallas Cowboys, Canton called and asked for his game jersey — and replicas of Beckham’s No. 13 jersey became the number one selling non-quarterback NFL jersey on NFL.com. It also didn’t hurt that he wrapped up a monster rookie season in which he could 91 receptions for 1,305 yards and 12 touchdowns. He became the first rookie in NFL history to record at least 90 receiving yards in six consecutive games.
Before the Giants start their season on Sunday against those same Dallas Cowboys, we caught up with the 22-year-old Beckham about the so-called curse that comes with being on the cover of EA Sports’ Madden NFL, the great expectations his rookie season established for Giants fans, and “petty fines” in this exclusive interview.
Do you ever get tired of watching that Dallas catch replay?
Sometimes, but I don’t mind watching it. I just wouldn’t put it on myself and just go watch it every now and then, you know?
Does it ever feel like you’re in a Madden video game when you’re out there on the field and everything is clicking with Eli Manning?
That’s tough to say because I just feel as if this is what I was put here to do, and you’re out there to make plays. That’s what you’re there for, so I feel it’s not so much Madden to me when I’m on the field as much as it is a lot of hard work and preparation paying off.
What are your thoughts on the Madden curse?
I just want to go out there and do the best that I can. I truly believe in God and a curse is something people wish upon someone, so anybody who wishes something upon me or anything like that is where the curse comes into play. I don’t believe that there is such thing as a Madden curse. Larry [Fitzgerald] came off and had one of his best seasons and Calvin [Johnson] came in and broke Jerry Rice’s single season receiving record, so there’s a lot of good from this.
What’s the first memory you have of encountering Playboy Magazine?
Honestly, I never really had any Playboy magazines. I’ve always heard about them and seen the covers and everything, but never really looked through them. But if you want to send me a few I’d be very happy to check them out.
What was the first big purchase you made after you signed your rookie deal?
I actually grabbed a car, a Mercedes CLS 63 AMG — that was the first thing I bought. That, and the place that I’m living in now, which I’m renting. But other than that it wasn’t too many big, big purchases. Just a bunch of small purchases adding up.
Do you have any pregame superstitions or rituals that you go through?
No, I’m just out there having fun really in the beginning of the game. I don’t have anything specific that I’m doing.
Why did you choose your jersey number? Is there any story behind that?
It’s the closest thing to 3, which is the number I wore in high school and college. I wish you could wear single digits in the league, but you can’t.
If you could change one NFL rule, what would it be and why?
I don’t know what rule I would change. I would just change things like fines and stuff like that…the little petty stuff.
What was the first team you fell in love with growing up?
The Rams, back when they were the greatest show on turf.