Top NFL celebration artists in football historyDoes Odell Beckham Jr.'s love/hate relationship with a kicking net make the list?
Fans of OBJ extol his athletic brilliance, tenacity and competitiveness, while detractors criticize the Giants wideout for his immaturity, lack of focus and his inability to keep emotions in check.
Either way, the guy can flat-out play. After setting a new career-high with 222 receiving yards last Sunday at home against the Ravens, Beckham added another dimension to his game: master celebration artist.
Ever since Week 3, when the Giants lost by two to the division rival Redskins, Beckham has been entangled in a love-hate relationship with a kicking net, which got the better of him after an ill-advised helmet-punch.
The following week, Beckham nabbed his first touchdown of the season, and gave the same net a loving hug on the sideline. In his most recent outing, Beckham's prolific day on the gridiron inspired him to take the plunge, and offer his hand in marriage to the net, with the hopes that his on-field fortune would continue.
That remains to be seen, but the Giants now look to build off their first win in four weeks after Sunday's 27-23 victory over Baltimore.
Beckham has already proven his talent to be first-class, but his celebration acumen puts him into a completely different but equally entertaining NFL debate: who are the best celebration artists in football history?
NFL's Best Celebration Artists
Chad "OchoCinco" Johnson
First and foremost, the man who once legally changed his surname to "OchoCinco" to match his Bengals jersey number, deserves the top overall spot on this list. There are too many memorable moments to reflect back on, but in 2009, Johnson reportedly set aside $100,000 to pre-empt any fines he would eventually have to pay (which he did). "They keep jacking [the fines] up, I'll keep jacking up the celebrations." NFL fans miss you dearly, Ocho.
A player whose statistical dominance was outshone only by his off-the-field antics and unique celebrations, Owens was a one-man circus for 15 seasons in the NFL. Among his most iconic celebratory moments are when he stole pom-poms from a 49ers cheerleader, took out a Sharpie marker from his sock to autograph a football for a fan after a TD, helped himself to a box of popcorn, and audaciously opened his arms while standing on top of the Dallas Cowboys logo at midfield. None of these moments earned T.O. much support from the opposing team, but football fans watching will never forget how entertaining he made Sundays.
There's no chance the owner of the nickname "Primetime" would deliver anything less than a memorable Hall of Fame career, but throughout the 1990's and into the 2000's, no one had more fun on a football field than Sanders. "Neon Deion" was such a gifted athlete that he even played parts of nine seasons in Major League Baseball, but on the football field, he was an unparalleled showman.
The now-famous high-step dance into the endzone was championed by Sanders, as well as the practice of dangling the football out behind him to taunt defenders while he scampers to another touchdown. A 2016 version of Deion Sanders would look much different in today's NFL, but the athleticism and skill would transcend generations. He was that good.
Not only is he considered one of the two or three best wide receivers the sport has ever seen, but Randy Moss was as equally gifted in the medium of touchdown celebration throughout his career. Only Jerry Rice caught more touchdowns (197) in the history of the sport than Moss (156), but the latter takes the upper hand when it came to commemorating a score.
The most famous (or infamous) display Moss demonstrated in his career was when he pretended to "moon" fans in the first row of Green Bay's Lambeau Field. Moss was fined $10,000 for the gesture, and earned more than a handful of boos from the bitter rival supporters.
One of the lower-profile athletes on this list was former Bengals fullback Elbert "Ickey" Woods. He played only four seasons in the NFL and scored a respectable 27 touchdowns on the ground (15 as a rookie), but made his impact on modern football with the now-legendary "Ickey Shuffle," a dance routine that popularized the "choreographed celebrations" which now constitute penalties and fines. Watch Ickey demonstrate the dance in the video here, but don't expect to see anyone replicate it in 2016. The fines will be multitudinous.
Perhaps Odell Beckham Jr. picked up a few points on how to make the most of his touchdown moment from teammate Victor Cruz, who famously adopted the salsa dance after finding the endzone. Cruz has been sidelined by serious knee injuries in recent years, but has seen a resurgence in 2016 that's given Giants fans reason for optimism going forward.
Another modern-day pioneer, Brown finds new methods to express his joy after scoring touchdowns seemingly every week. He twerks, he fences, he dances in a suggestive manner, he does it all. Steelers fans, though reeling from the injury of their franchise quarterback, can always take solace in knowing that the entertainment won't stop after AB-84 crosses the barrier into the endzone; something memorable is bound to follow.