MikeDrop: Julian Edelman is Not a Hall of Famer

Recently retired wide receiver Julian Edelman is a legend. This is a guy who played quarterback in college at Kent State and was drafted by the Patriots in the 7th round of the 2009 Draft.

In typical Bill Belichick/Tom Brady/Patriots fashion, Edelman evolved into a GREAT football player.

However, not all great football players and not all legends are Hall of Fame worthy.

Julian Edelman and the Hall of Fame has been a hot take conversation for the last couple of years, ever since Edelman won Super Bowl LIII MVP in 2019. The conversation has really heated up since he announced his retirement.

I am here to drop the mic on why Edelman is NOT a Hall of Famer.

Super Bowl MVP Means Nothing

It’s true. Remember Bucs safety Dexter Jackson? Seahawks LB Malcolm Smith? Those guys quickly became footnotes after their MVP award wins. Is Steelers WR Santonio Holmes Hall of Fame worthy? (more on him below)

Typically, the MVP goes to the quarterback (except in a few rare cases like the above). Super Bowl MVP is not criteria for Hall of Fame, especially in this case. Edelman caught 10 passes for 141 yards, which was nearly half of Brady’s production. He didn’t score a touchdown in he lowest scoring Super Bowl ever (13-3 final score).

How much weight does an MVP award really carry if it goes to a touchdown-less offensive player, whose team only scored 13 points?

Historically great in postseason doesn’t matter

There is zero argument that Edelman is one of the greatest postseason receivers (maybe players) in NFL history. He is second all-time in receiving yards and receptions (behind only Jerry Rice). If he only played in the playoffs, he probably would be a Hall of Famer. But if we’re judging him solely on his playoff greatness, why aren’t we putting Joe Flacco on a similar pedestal?

Flacco had the greatest postseason run of a QB ever in 2012, throwing 11 touchdowns and 0 interceptions en route to 4 wins including the Super Bowl in 2013. Overall, Flacco is ranked 17th on the all-time playoffs passing yards list, putting him ahead of Hall of Famers Roger Staubach, Warren Moon, Ken Stabler, Otto Graham, among others. His 25 total touchdown passes ranks 12th, right behind John Elway and right above Staubach, Troy Aikman, Jim Kelly, and Steve Young. Is Joe Flacco a Hall of Famer based on his postseason resume?

Flacco is not a Hall of Famer because his regular season numbers are good, not special. Just like Edelman.

Edelman vs Hall of Famers

Edelman has 36 regular season touchdown receptions, plus 5 in the postseason, giving him 41 career touchdowns.

For context, here are the regular season touchdown receptions totals of the last 10 wide receivers inducted into the Hall of Fame:

  • Isaac Bruce – 91
  • Harold Carmichael – 79
  • Randy Moss – 156
  • Terrell Owens – 153
  • Marvin Harrison – 128
  • Tim Brown – 100
  • Andre Reed – 87
  • Cris Carter – 130
  • Jerry Rice – 197
  • Art Monk – 68

The most comparable current Hall of Famer to Edelman is Lynn Swann. Swann has the fewest touchdown receptions of any wide receiver in the Hall of Fame – 51 in the regular season, plus another 9 in the playoffs. It’s worth noting that like Edelman, Swann won Super Bowl MVP, but his numbers were a bit more exciting (4 catches, 161 yards, TD). Swann is a 4x Super Bowl Champion with the Steelers.

Edelman vs Mediocre

To repeat, Edelman has 36 touchdowns and including the playoffs he has 41. That’s three less than Dwayne Bowe has in his regular season career. Dwayne Bowe!!! Remember him? Hard to justify a Hall of Fame case for someone with less touchdowns than Dwayne Bowe. Former Saints WR Lance Moore also has 44 career touchdowns catches.

Other WRs with 36 TDs include Kenny Stills and Brandon Lloyd. Former Cowboys WR Miles Austin has 37 career TD receptions.

I mentioned Santonio Holmes earlier, who is comparable to Edelman in that he also has a Super Bowl MVP. The difference between their MVPs is Holmes’ was earned, with 131 yards and the game winning touchdown in the final minute. Holmes, like Edelman, has 36 career touchdowns.

Julian EdelmanSantonio Holmes
Yards per catch11.015.5
Playoff TDs (games)5 (19)5 (5)

Verdict – Not a Hall of Famer

I love Edelman as a player. I think he is outstanding and has played a huge role in 3 Super Bowl wins for the Patriots. But not all great players can be Hall of Famers. The numbers have to justify it and when you compare Edelman to others, he just doesn’t have it.

Mike is an alum of the University of Cincinnati and the ultimate sports nerd.


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