Don’t you just hate when you begin to like someone you previously did not like?
You know what I’m talking about. You LOVED hating this person. You couldn’t wait to talk about them behind their back. You would have group chats about this person—either during your work break or a text chain. This person was all you, or anyone else around you, could think about.
Then, you got to know this person while you were both at a work convention. “‘Damn it! Doug isn’t a bad guy at all. I can’t believe he loves Rocky III just like me. You know what, guys? I think we were wrong about Doug. We should give Doug a chance.”
That’s how Steelers fans spent the past 18 months or so feeling about Odell Beckham Jr., a famed diva receiver, formerly of the New York Giants, where he fought with a kicking net, and the Cleveland Browns, where he reportedly fought with Baker Mayfield.
It wasn't always that way between Steelers fans and OBJ, even though the latter certainly never played a role in the not-so-famous (not since the 1950s, anyway) feud between the Steelers and Giants, nor did he ever play the villain in the much-more-famous rivalry between the Steelers and Browns.
But, to reiterate, OBJ was a diva receiver, and Steelers fans simply hate them by proxy.
However, something weird happened near the end of the 2021 campaign: The Browns released Beckham Jr. when it became apparent that the ongoing spat between him and Mayfield was never going to be resolved.
This came after Beckham Sr. even got involved in the feud and posted an Instagram video of Mayfield’s on-field incompetence as it related to utilizing his talented son as a weapon.
Beckham went on to sign with the Rams, where he would become a bit of a beloved figure. That’s right, no amount of Baker Mayfield Progressive commercials could make him a babyface in this feud. Instead, it was OBJ who became the Stone Cold to Mayfield’s Brett Hart. (Actually, that’s offensive to Brett Hart. Instead, let’s say that Mayfield was the Jeff Jarrett of this feud.)
OBJ was a role player in Los Angeles, as he helped the franchise win Super Bowl LVI. Beckham became an even bigger babyface in the eyes of the public when he suffered a torn ACL in the Super Bowl and then had his first child a few days later.
Beckham then sat out all of 2022.
Where would he wind up in 2023? Heck, could he even sign a deal with the Steelers and be the mature leader of the young wideouts? Would Steelers fans embrace him in much the same way they embraced Hines Ward (that seems like a dated reference, but just name a more recent receiver—and George Pickens is still too unknown to count—that Steelers fans have embraced)?
Instead, Beckham signed a one-year deal with the Ravens on Sunday.
This means that Steelers fans can go back to hating him again because it’s going to be so easy now that he’s in Baltimore.
OBJ will either be a key weapon for Lamar Jackson and help lead the Ravens to huge wins over Pittsburgh in 2023, or he’ll have many public meltdowns when his new run-happy team--with or without Lamar Jackson as the quarterback--doesn’t get him the football enough.
Either way, things feel back to normal after Sunday’s news.