Somewhere, sometime recently in sports, we went off track, down a bad road.
Fans and lazy sports-talk radio hosts have decided that everyone is/was great. Yes, everyone playing now is the greatest of all time.
And worse, that almost every retiring player belongs in the Hall of Fame.
The lunacy hit an all-time high (a low, really) on Monday, after Julian Edelman announced his retirement from the New England Patriots after 12 seasons.
Edelman was a lot of things during his career. But the receiver was never one of the best in the game. And even as he steps away, Edelman isn’t a Hall of Famer.
Not even close.
Sure, he was on a team that won three Super Bowls. And yes, he somehow won a Super Bowl MVP without even scoring a TD.
Still, gaining entry into the Pro Football Hall of Fame is about your full body of work.
And Exhibit A against Edelman is that he NEVER made a Pro Bowl or was ever an All Pro.
That speaks volumes.
The other thing that is strange is that many are willing to give Edelman a pass on the biggest stain on his career, being busted for performance-enhancing drugs.
He was suspended and missed the first four games of the 2018 season after testing positive for PEDs. Somehow, folks act as if it didn’t happen. It’s shameful.
In baseball, being linked to the stuff has derailed many, even players with greater credentials than Edelman. That’s why Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens are still on the outside looking in on the Hall of Fame.
But again, somehow, baseball is held to a higher standard.
The same with statistics. It’s hard to make it to Cooperstown, New York.
And players with Edelman’s numbers wouldn’t get any real consideration.
The facts are pretty obvious. His stats are paltry. In 12 seasons, he had just 36 touchdowns. He had 620 career catches for 6,822 yards. And when you stack those numbers up against all that have played in the league, they shrink even further. Edelman finished his career 156th in receiving yards, 75th in catches and in the top 300 of catching touchdowns.
Those all reek and are not Hall-worthy.
For sure, there are other former receivers who should be sick at the mere notion that Edelman’s name is even being tossed around.
Torry Holt and Reggie Wayne — far superior receivers — aren’t in the Hall.
The best comparison of another receiver not in the Hall is Hines Ward. The former Pittsburgh Steelers star wideout hasn’t been able to make the final ballot in HOF voting the last five years.
Ward doubled Edelman in just about every category: Hines had 1,000 catches to Edelman’s 620. Ward had 12,083 yards to Edelman’s 6,822. Ward had 85 TDs to Edelman’s 36. Ward made the Pro Bowl four times. Edelman didn’t sniff one. And Ward also has a Super Bowl MVP in his trophy case.
It should be case closed. But people have their favorites and will ignore the facts to make a push for people they like.
And the Hall of Fame Yayers will point to the most receptions in NFL playoff history. Edelman, with 118, is second to only HOFer Jerry Rice (151).
No one can take that from him. But you have to have context. Edelman played in a ton of postseason games during his career. Hence, there were plenty of opportunities to amass stats. Doesn’t mean you were great.
And if coming up huge in a big moment is enough to move you to the head of the line, the Steelers’ Santonio Holmes, who like Edelman, won a Super Bowl MVP, also has 36 regular-season TDs. His name is never mentioned.
For the record, Holmes MADE a Super Bowl-winning TD catch in the waning moments to win it for the Steelers.
We get it. The Patriots won a lot and you heard Edelman’s name a lot in the postseason. But the reason the Pats were so successful didn’t have a lot to do with Edelman. Sure, he was on the bus, but he wasn’t driving it.
The players who drive the bus should be the ones heading to Canton, Ohio.