From PEDs to MVPs : A Julian Edelman story of the 2018/2019 season

From PEDs to MVPs : A Julian Edelman story of the 2018/2019 season
Reading Time: 3 minutes.

July 2018, it all looked bleak for Kent State alum Julian Edelman as after fighting to bounce back from a torn ACL which left him unable to play the entire previous season, he was staring down the barrel of a 4 game suspension for violation of the NFL’s performance enhancing drugs policy, which split many peoples opinion. For a player of his caliber, missing the whole first quarter of the season (with games against the Texans, Jags, Lions and divisional rival Dolphins) was sure to leave a mark, but this mark was enough to motivate him to try and come back fitter, stronger and with a bigger beard than ever before. 

After serving his time, Edelman was allowed to return to his team and with it an even 2-2 record, with surprising losses to future losing record teams (Jags and Dolphins), atypical of the Patriots and sparking debate about whether the team can ever get back to the glory days of two seasons prior, which seemed so distant in the rear-view mirror. 

Fast forward a couple of months, in his 12 games played Edelman racked up a team high 850 recieving yards from 74 receptions, 6 of them being touchdowns and proving a year and a quarter out of regular season football is no big deal for a player like him. These stats, while impressive alone, look even better when coupled with the eventual record of 11-5 that saw a Pats team win the AFC East for the 10th time on the bounce, a 9-3 record in games Edelman had played. In addition to this, it also saw the Patriots somehow clinch a #2 seed first round bye in the playoffs, giving them an extra week to prepare for whoever they would go on to face…

This happened to be the Chargers, who were confident coming off of a win in the wild card round against the Ravens that they could be the ones to dethrone the Pats from the AFC kingdom. A resounding 41-28 obliteration in favour of the Patriots, helped through Julian Edelman’s team high 9 catches for 151 yards, saw them head into the AFC Championship game for the 8th straight time. However this time they would travel to Kansas City’s Arrowhead Stadium, being thrust into freezing conditions and therefore being hailed as ”underdogs”, a term they had not heard too often in reference to them but frequently in reference to their opposition. 

Nevertheless, with fuel stemming from insults that would be quoted after the game such as ”underdog”, ”too old!” to Brady and ”too small!” to 5 foot 10 Edelman, the Pats were once again able to overcome their AFC Championship opponents and hoist the Lamar Hunt trophy, with a controversial 37-31 OT win. This was spearheaded by Edelman’s 7 catches for 96 yards, a team high again that saw him inch towards the All time top 2 in terms of postseason recieving yards. But this wouldn’t be the end of the accolades for the team or Edelman himself.

The Pro Bowl flew by and around came Super Bowl week, after bigging himself and the team up throughout media day it was time for the big game itself. Atlanta was ready to see the 2019 champions crowned, but who would it be? 

Without going too deeply into the offensive bore-fest (although many great defensive plays), Edelman was the standout player, doing what he needed to do to achieve first downs left right and centre, and despite him or fellow late round draft pick Brady not being able to punch it into the endzone with the exception of one lone Michel TD, the Patriots won the game fairly convincingly, even if only by 10 points, with Edelman totalling 10 catches for 141 yards. This meant he had now surpassed Cliff Branch and Michael Irvin for 2nd on the all time postseason recieving yards list, only behind Hall of Famer and 99yards podcast guest Jerry Rice. The awards didnt stop there however, as after celebrating with his team and lifting the Lombardi for his 3rd time, it was revealed he had won the MVP of the Super Bowl.

In a feat that seemed impossible just a mere 6 months ago, Edelman had proven to all how overcoming adversity throughout life to go on and win the biggest sports prizes on Earth was possible to anyone who believes they can, an inspiring message not only for current but future generations, and a great story of the 2018 season.

By Max Hillman

(photo credits to www.clutchpoints.com)

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