Julian Edelman already would be preparing his Pro Football Hall of Fame induction speech if everyone shared Boomer Esiason’s opinion.
The CBS Sports NFL analyst talked up the New England Patriots wide receiver’s Hall of Fame credentials Tuesday during his appearance on WEEI’s “Mutt and Callahan Show.” Edelman’s shining performance Sunday in Super Bowl LIII earned him MVP honors, cemented his postseason legacy and sparked debate over whether he belongs in Canton, Ohio, alongside NFL legends.
Detractors such as FOX Sports’ Nick Wright dismiss talk of Edelman as a Hall of Famer as ludicrous, but Esiason considers his play in the biggest games to be a better reflection of his stature in the sport than his career statistics.
“… I go by what I see and what I see is in the big games he comes up with so many big plays,” Esiason said. “Quite frankly he could have had 20 catches on Sunday (in Super Bowl LIII)… .
“… And to dismiss his performance in the playoffs as, ‘Oh, he will never make it to the Hall of Fame,’ is really disrespectful, quite frankly. I’ve seen him in a lot of big games make a lot of big plays, and not just in the playoffs. I’ve seen him do it in the regular season.”
Esiason blames the Patriots’ offensive philosophy for Edelman’s relatively modest career statistics.
“They play in an offense where he’s not going to get 110 balls thrown to him. That’s just the way it is,” Esiason said. “This offense is an offense that spreads the wealth. You have to do your role, you have to ‘do your job,’ as Bill Belichick likes to say. And doing your job in the biggest moment and doing it seamlessly and doing it with what seems like a lot of effort because of how good he is and what he’s become, to me it shows a Hall of Fame performance.”
Having led the led the Cincinnati Bengals to Super Bowl XXIII, where they lost to the San Francisco 49ers, Esiason based his conclusion about Edelman’s potential Hall of Fame candidacy on his personal experience.
“I’m sorry. I’ve played the game. I’ve been on the field. I know what it takes to be what he is in the big spot. In my eyes, he’s grown over the last four or five years and his postseason effort speaks to that. The Super Bowl wins. The performance in the biggest games. I don’t want to disparage anybody in the Hall of Fame. If you’re in, you belong in and you’ve got the yellow jacket. All I did was bring up a fact that this guy continues to play at a very high level in the biggest games. I hope someday he’s recognized for that in the halls of Canton and if I had a vote I would certainly vote for him.”
Esiason’s argument undoubtedly will persuade Edelman’s supporters in Patriots nation but time will tell whether it will sway Hall of Fame voters.
Thumbnail photo via Kevin Jairaj/USA TODAY Sports Images