“Odell and I, we know the truth,” Norman wrote in The Players’ Tribune. “Anybody who makes it to this level knows it. The truth is that on the football field, he’s trying to steal my bologna, and I’m trying to steal his. See you twice a year, bro.”
Last year’s bologna battle was one of the most bizarre of the NFL season, with Norman and Beckham going at each other so aggressively throughout the Carolina Panthers’ Week 15 victory over the New York Giants that both got fined and Beckham ended up suspended for the Giants' next game.
But it gets better. This offseason, Norman signed with Washington -- a division rival that the Giants will play twice a year. The cornerback-receiver matchups between Norman and Beckham will be among the most closely watched individual rivalries in the NFL this season, and likely in seasons to come.
Part of what makes it great is that, since the volatile Week 15 game, neither has made a move to make up with the other or really let it go. Norman talks about Beckham as an adversary and makes it clear he’s not a friend. Beckham refuses every opportunity to discuss Norman at all. They don’t like each other, and it’s obviously not something the media or fans are making up.
In that game, Beckham had six catches for 76 yards and a touchdown as the Giants erased a 28-point second-half deficit to tie the game before losing it at the end, and he had Norman beaten for a 52-yard touchdown early in the game but couldn’t make the catch. While Beckham got the better of the football matchup, Norman obviously got into his head in a way no one else had all season. As a result of the way Beckham responded, he wasn’t allowed to play the next week.
So what we’ve learned about Norman-Beckham is that it might be all about bologna, but that in this case bologna is serious business. What makes this rivalry one to look forward to in 2016 is that the business between these two players is so clearly unfinished.