After yet another historic postseason performance, talk of wide receiver Julian Edelman one day being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame is gaining traction.
Let’s save that conversation for later, though it does have some merit. Instead, let’s put Edelman’s unbelievable career postseason numbers into perspective.
Edelman now has 105 career postseason receptions (second all-time) for 1,271 yards (fourth all-time) with five touchdowns. He also has eight carries for 61 yards, 37 punt returns for 441 yards, three kick returns for 73 yards and a 51-yard touchdown pass.
With 44 yards in Super Bowl LIII, Edelman will vault up to second all-time behind Jerry Rice in both postseason receptions and receiving yards.
Now, let’s do some math. Prior to becoming an integral piece of the Patriots’ offense, Edelman had nine receptions for 75 yards with two touchdowns in five postseason games. Let’s subtract those from Edelman’s playoff totals for a moment. That leaves Edelman with 96 catches for 1,196 yards with three touchdowns in 12 postseason games since becoming a full-time starter.
Extrapolate that over a 16-game season, and Edelman would have 128 receptions for 1,596 yards with four touchdowns. Only four receivers have had more than 128 catches in a single season. Only 23 receivers have had more than 1,596 yards in a single season. And Edelman’s putting up those numbers when games matter most.
So, this isn’t just about Edelman racking up a ton of receiving yards because he’s played in a lot of postseason games. Edelman actually ranks 13th among wide receivers in playoff appearances. He played in as many postseason games as former Tennessee Titans and Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Derrick Mason and has more than twice as many receptions and yards.
Former Patriots receiver Troy Brown appeared in 20 playoff games and had 58 postseason receptions for 694 yards with two touchdowns. Deion Branch appeared in 17 playoff games and had 64 catches for 948 yards with four touchdowns. Danny Amendola played in 13 postseason games and had 57 catches for 709 yards with six touchdowns. Wes Welker played in 13 postseason games and had 88 catches for 866 yards with five touchdowns.
So, Edelman also isn’t just a product of playing with Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.
Edelman also is tied for third all-time with five 100-yard postseason games. Rice is first with eight. Irvin is second with six. Edelman is tied with Antonio Brown, Larry Fitzgerald, Andre Reed and John Stallworth.
Edelman, Irvin and Rice are tied for most 80-yard postseason games with 10.
If you haven’t noticed, postseason Edelman ranks among a bunch of players already in the Hall of Fame or surefire first-ballot selections. He definitely doesn’t have the regular-season numbers usually required for entry into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but neither did Kurt Warner, Troy Aikman, Joe Namath, Terrell Davis or Lynn Swann.
There’s a case to be made for Edelman, especially if he can put together another hall-worthy performance in Super Bowl LIII, even if he’s never made a Pro Bowl or All-Pro team.
He’s unquestionably one of the greatest postseason performers in NFL history. And that should be more important than regular-season merits, right?