Does Julian Edelman Deserve to be a Hall of Famer?

Ian Kim, Staff Writer

On Monday April 12, 2021, Julian Edelman officially announced his retirement from the NFL. The 34-year-old wide receiver is stepping away from football and ending his 12-year career that took place entirely on the New England Patriots roster. Edelman played in 137 regular season games, and had 6,822 receiving yards and 36 receiving touchdowns. Although his regular season stats aren’t exactly HOF-tier, he has the second-most receiving yards during the postseason, next to Jerry Rice. Edelman also has three super bowl rings (XLIX, LI, LIII), winning the super bowl MVP award in Super Bowl LIII. 

While Edelman has certainly attained many accolades during his career, fans are split regarding Edelman’s Hall of Fame status. Some believe that Edelman’s number of rings, his super bowl MVP, and his playoff numbers denote a pass into Canton. “Edelman’s dominance when it mattered most should get him a gold jacket,” NFL analyst and former NFL wide receiver Nate Burleson said. Edelman certainly had many HOF moments, such as his catch against the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI. However, historically and statistically, Edelman doesn’t quite match up with other HOF receivers, or even other players who deserve to have gotten in by now. 

There are two examples to compare Edelman to, one based off of stats, and one based off of accolades. The first one being Harold Jackson. Jackson was a wide receiver who had a 14-year long career from 1968-1983, an era where passing didn’t have as much of a role in offenses as they do in the modern era. Still, Jackson had 10,372 receiving yards, and 76 receiving touchdowns. These numbers shatter Edelman’s, however Jackson isn’t in the HOF and likely will never be inducted. The other player is Hines Ward, a wide receiver who had a 14-year long career from 1998-2011, entirely on the Pittsburgh Steelers. Ward had 12,083 receiving yards and 85 receiving touchdowns. Strictly looking at stats, Ward has roughly double the number of each major receiving stat. Not only do these stats far surpass Edelman, but Ward also has four Pro Bowl selections, as well as three All-Pro selections, both of which Edelman has zero of. Similar to Edelman, Ward has a Super Bowl MVP in Super Bowl XL and two Super Bowl rings. While Ward has all of these accomplishments, he has still not found himself in the Hall of Fame even 10 years after his career. 

Julian Edelman had a stellar career, and nobody contests his status as an icon and an integral part of Tom Brady’s success in the postseason. Yet, to believe that Edelman rightfully belongs in the Hall of Fame is not accurate due to his lack of stats, as well as seeing how some more qualified players are not inducted. His career was great, but it doesn’t need to be capped with a golden jacket.