Now that Julian Edelman's career has officially come to an end (I am in the camp that believes he's done. I don't think there's room in Tampa's offense for a 35-year-old with bad knees), naturally, in a knee-jerk internet society, career recap pieces, highlights, and debates regarding JE11 have littered the information superhighway. That happens after retirement (or death); nothing new to see here, but with an enigma like Julian Edelman, his legacy is certainly up for debate.
Despite never being named to a Pro Bowl (NFL Films recently called him the 5th greatest player never to make a Pro Bowl) or All-Pro team, which are requirements for induction according to NFL Explained, "takes" that Julian Edelman deserves a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame are nothing new.
NFL Insider Adam Schefter (I'm sure he's not the first to say it) said, "Edelman is playing himself into a spot in Canton" after winning Super Bowl LIII MVP in February 2019.
Ironically the tweet of a clip from Schefter supporting Edelman's HOF cause does not.
He's not the only person in the NFL media world who thinks so.
Liv's dad makes some fantastic points in this clip. Context matters!
I feel like the Pro Football Hall of Fame tweets this for every notable player's retirement, but even the HOF, at the very least, has acknowledged that Jules will be eligible for Canton someday. They didn't tweet, "sorry, Jules, no Pro Bowls, smell ya l8r!"
I'll be the first to admit that Jules doesn't have a textbook HOF resume with less than 40 touchdowns and 7,000 career receiving yards. Those numbers alone are not good enough. He's only 75th all-time in receptions and never even had a double-digit TD season. Anybody can go to pro-football-reference and cherry-pick guys with no chance at the Hall who have better numbers. Guys like Pierre Garcon, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, and Joe Horn have more career receiving yards. Larry Centers (a FULLBACK), Roddy White, and Golden Tate have more receptions. Shit, Santana Moss has like 3,000 more yards and 30 more touchdowns.
There are plenty of people laughing off the idea that Julian Edelman deserves a spot in the Hall, but thanks to the internet's click-based economy, many are posing the question for hashtag engagements.
I've seen debates against Jules like this:
It's textbook bringing someone down to elevate someone else. I hate but respect the Pittsburgh Steelers organization and think it's a shame Hines Ward can't even get on the ballot. He deserves a spot IMO, just like Rod Smith, Torry Holt, Cliff Branch, Reggie Wayne, and Steve Smith Sr. and a few others I'm sure I'm forgetting.
I'm not saying I think Julian Edelman deserves a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame on numbers alone, but there is a legitimate argument with his all-time impact. Like Cowherd said, context matters. None of his coaches, teammates and adversaries have a bad word to say about him as a player. Ultimate grinder type of guy. You cannot write the story of the NFL in the 2010s without Julian Edelman. He's not David Tyree with one all-time moment; he's got a handful just like his handful of rings. Look at the playoff numbers.
I've seen people saying Edelman was just on good teams, and he shouldn't be rewarded for that as if he's not a reason his teams were good. It's not like he has three rings the way Juwan Howard has two. Impact combined with numbers; that's what matters in football. Weeb Ewbank is ONE game over .500 as a head coach, but he's in the HOF for winning three championships. I know it was a different era, but Lynn Swann has 336 career receptions, and he's in mainly thanks to two catches in the Super Bowl. Terrell Davis had four full seasons of production, and he's in. Obviously, it's a little different; he's won an MVP, but the dude had four full seasons. In Edelman's six peak years, he was one of the most productive slot receivers in football. It's not his fault the Patriots get no love in the Pro Bowl because they were too busy playing in the Super Bowl. It's a subjective popularity contest.
If you don't believe Julian Edelman is a Hall of Famer, you shouldn't think Eli Manning is either because their cases are basically the same. Sure he's made four Pro Bowls, but Eli is a career .500, stat compiler QB who never led the NFL in anything except interceptions (something he's done thrice) with a couple all-time highlights. It's his two Super Bowl runs that many people want to put him in for. I know it's different for QBs, but without the postseason, Eli Manning is nowhere close to a HOFer. The dude barely completed 60% of his passes playing in the passing era.
Do you play for garbage yard stats or wins? As Herman Edwards said, "you play to win the game." Edelman was a winner who did it all on the gridiron and put up solid numbers during his 6-year prime. In a sport where championships matter more than anything individual numbers, what Belichick said about Edelman speaks volumes. He's exactly the kind of guy who represents being productive in more ways than counting numbers. ELITE NFL career.
He's the 2nd most accomplished postseason WR of all time in terms of catches and yards. If there was EVER to be a player to make the HOF without an All-Pro or Pro Bowl selection, it's Jules.
-Three-time Super Bowl champ
-Super Bowl LIII MVP
-Only WR with multiple 20+ reception postseasons (3)
-2nd all-time in playoff receptions, yards.
-2nd most 100 yard games in playoff history (6 in 19 games; Jerry Rice is first with 8 in 29 games)
-Tied for 5th most receptions in Super Bowl history (24)
If you don't think he did enough on the field to make the HOF, that's completely cool in my book, but if your biggest argument is a lack of Pro Bowls, I do not respect your opinion as a sports fan. Andy Dalton is a three-time Pro Bowler. They don't matter. Give me the guy who helps his team win when it does.
Do I think Jules will get in? No, but I do believe his postseason resume should carry significant weight. Ask what guys like Jerry Rice, Michael Irvin, and Richard Sherman have to say about him. He's a shoo-in for the Patriots team HOF, but I'm not holding my breath for Canton. FTR, I think Welker would already be in if he got to 10,000 yards and didn't drop that pass in Super Bowl XLVI. Either way, Julian Edelman is one of the best postseason performers in the history of the NFL.