Our series on ASN’s 50 greatest NFL championship competitors of the past 50 years continues with No. 12 Julian Edelman, originally published on Jan. 31.
Since the New England Patriots drafted Julian Edelman in the seventh round in 2009, he’s helped the team reach two Super Bowls and win one, a 28-24 victory against the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX.
The two things that stand out most when it comes to Edelman in the Super Bowl are his game-winning touchdown reception and his performance aboard a duck boat back in Boston during the Patriots’ celebratory parade in January 2015.
In the victory against Seattle, at second-and-goal with 2:03 to play, Edelman beat Seahawks corner Tharold Simon, got open in the end zone and reeled in a 2-yard pass to win the game.
Back in Boston a few days later, Edelman, a Kent State grad, didn’t just ride in a duck boat during the celebration parade through Boston, he climbed up on the roof, did a little dancing, then knelt down and pointed at fans and then his heart as a way of saying “thank you.”
Beyond those individual moments, Edelman said both Super Bowl appearances were the stuff of dreams — even when the Patriots lost to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLVI.
He played quarterback at Kent State for three seasons (2006-08), setting the school record for single-season total yards (3,190) in 2008 and most career passing and rushing yards at 4,997 and 2,483, respectively. He remains a loyal KSU alum.
The Patriots selected Edelman in the final round of the 2009 NFL Draft, 232nd overall, hoping he would return punts. Head coach Bill Belichick also wanted Edelman as a backup receiver, even though he made one career reception at Kent State. But Edelman eventually filled in for an injured Wes Welker and became a staple in the Patriots’ passing game.
For “any kid who played Pop Warner or high school football, this is the ultimate stage,” Edelman said before Super Bowl XLIX. “This is when, like you said, when you’re 12 years old, you used to dream about getting this opportunity to go out and play against a really good opponent who’s the defending Super Bowl champs. It doesn’t get any better than that.”