Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
October 23, 2021

No, Julian Edelman doesn't deserve a spot in the Hall of Fame

By ALEX FORLENZA | April 16, 2021

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After 12 seasons with the New England Patriots, wide receiver Julian Edelman announced his retirement.

Julian Edelman, the best Patriots receiver over the last decade, retired on Monday, April 12. He has three Super Bowl rings and a Super Bowl Most Valuable Player trophy. He is probably one of the best seventh-round picks of all time, up there behind Bo Jackson and Shannon Sharpe. He deserves a lot of props. But he does not deserve to be in the Hall of Fame.

There are going to be Barstool articles advocating for his Hall of Fame candidacy and Patriots fan accounts who make a case for Edelman being in the Hall on Twitter every hour. They are wrong and have terrible arguments.

What makes a Hall of Fame receiver? Well, generally they are defined as game-changing, once-in-a-generation type players. Recent Hall of Fame receivers has been Terrell Owens, Calvin Johnson, Randy Moss and Isaac Bruce. All of these players were significantly better than Edelman was at the height of his career. 

Taking one look at the stats for Hall of Fame receivers makes it is obvious that Edelman is not in their company. In the last 20 years, the lowest career total for receiving yards was Michael Irvin, who had 11,904 yards. Edelman has 6,822 career yards. The lowest career touchdowns total was 65, again Irvin. Edelman has 36. Not even close.

Let’s look at season stats. Edelman’s best yardage in a season was 1,117. The lowest of any other modern receiver in the last 20 years was 1,300. Edelman’s touchdown high was seven in a season. Marquise Hollywood Brown had eight last year, and he’s barely considered an above-average wide receiver in today's NFL.

There is no comparison between Edelman and Hall of Fame receivers. There is also an extensive list of receivers not in the Hall of Fame that Edelman is behind. Torry Holt, a seven-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl champion, is currently not in the Hall of Fame. He also has 13,382 career yards and 74 career touchdowns, with season highs of 1,696 yards and 12 touchdowns. He is not in the Hall of Fame. How in the world is Edelman going to get in if Holt is not? Hines Ward and Sterling Sharpe both have better statistical cases than Edelman. This is not even taking into account the loaded amount of receivers that have retired recently, like Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin and Steve Smith.

The crux of the Patriots fans’ arguments for Edelman is postseason stats. Let’s look at this argument closely. Edelman played his entire career on the Patriots, who made the playoffs every year except one when Edelman played for them. This is an amazing team accomplishment. However, even though Edelman did contribute to this success, he was not the sole reason for them being in the playoffs.

He was surrounded by immense talent, including one of the best coaches of all time and the definitive best quarterback of all time. Because he played in more playoff games, his cumulative playoff stats are outstanding. However, they are still comparable to Ward (not in the Hall of Fame). Edelman has played in 19 postseason games totaling 1,442 yards and five touchdowns, and Ward played in 18 games with 1,181 yards and 10 touchdowns.

He has really good postseason stats because he played in an exorbitant amount of postseason games, not because he performed like a Hall of Famer in these games. The second part of the Patriots fans’ arguments is that Edelman made amazingly clutch plays that helped win Super Bowls. This may sound like a good argument the same way Ben Shapiro may sound intelligent: If you give it a millisecond of thought, you will realize the argument is incredibly wrong.

Jacoby Jones, David Tyree and Santonio Holmes all had stunning Super Bowl plays. They are not Hall of Famers for a handful of plays or a few games of solid play. If this were the case, Joe Flacco and Eli Manning would be first-ballot Hall of Famers. This is not the criteria for a Hall of Famer. 

Edelman had a great career, especially for an ex-quarterback seventh-round pick out of Kent State. Celebrate that. Do not fabricate reasons for him to be greater than he was.

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