Super Bowl LIII MVP Julian Edelman admitted that he’s hasn’t slept since his team won the Super Bowl on Sunday, but that didn’t stop him from hamming it up for the media just hours after the New England Patriots’ victory party shutdown.
“It’s a huge honor to get this award, but honestly, I am just so proud of all these guys that we have this year. The ups and downs that we all had, the ebbs and flows of the season. You play all year to see how the team shapes up, to see how this team grinded and worked this week,” the wide receiver told reporters in a morning press conference on Monday. “When things weren’t at their best, to constantly go out and improve shows that the 2018 New England Patriots are a resilient group and it was unbelievable.”
The MVP honor for his performance that totaled 10 catches for 141 yards in the Patriots’ 13-3 win over the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta came after Edelman missed the first four games of the 2018 season due to a suspension for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.
Monday’s MVP trophy presentation also marked the second time in three years that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell had to hand it over to a Patriots player who had started the season off with a four-game suspension.
Two years ago it was Tom Brady getting the award following the Deflategate battle with the NFL that landed him in court and at loggerheads with Goodell.
Once again, the commissioner had to put on a smile as he praised Edelman, coach Bill Belichick and the Patriots.
“While this is an incredible organization and a team effort, this morning is about the MVP — Julian Edelman — who is now the seventh wide receiver to get that honor,” Goodell told reporters in his introduction. “Well deserved, extraordinary performance and not just last night but his performance postseason has been simply off the charts. I think he has 115 postseason career receptions and is only second to a guy named Jerry Rice, which is pretty good company.”
Edelman also missed the whole of the 2017 season with a torn ACL, making his MVP honor even more meaningful.
When asked what his struggle against adversity this year meant to him, the sleep-deprived Super Bowl champion replied: “I didn’t really have time to sit back and think about it. I have been trained being in New England to always look at what’s on your plate at that time.
“When you get hurt, you are competing against yourself each day to get your knee better. You are walking one day, jogging one day, cutting one day — those little wins build confidence. You are trying to get back into the flow of things. You’re thinking about winning games and going out trying to contribute,” he said. “Maybe in the next couple of weeks I’ll be able to look back and think about that. But by then we’ll be starting up again!”
Edelman also achieved the seemingly-impossible feat of getting a laugh out of the notoriously serious Belichick.
“I remember going in and seeing Coach Belichick when I was a rookie, by the grace of God, we were walking out at the same time and I’d maybe said three words to him before then as I’d only been on the team for about six months,” he recalled.
“I saw him on the treadmill watching film at about 10 o’clock at night and went ‘Coach, you sure like football, huh?’ And he goes, ‘It sure beats being a plumber, see you tomorrow,'” Edelman said, doing his best Belichick imitation.
“At the time, he was a three-time Super Bowl-winning head coach … when you see guys do that, it’s going to rub off.”
When it was his turn to take to the podium, Belichick shared a slightly different version of events. “First of all, I think Julian might have misquoted me as I have a ton of respect for plumbers. I can barely turn the water on myself and those people do a great job. I think I said it ‘beats working,'” he laughed.
Now having won his sixth Super Bowl as head coach of the Patriots, which is more than any other in NFL history, Belichick went on to heap praise on all his players.
“I just can’t say enough about our football team, certainly Julian epitomizes the work ethic, the mental toughness, the physical toughness, determination, will, the ability to perform under pressure. We have so many guys who do that well in so many different ways,” he said.
The Patriots now get to celebrate yet another Super Bowl victory with a parade through Boston on Tuesday.