Julian Edelman x Andy Pettitte
I went to a football game this past weekend.
This week, I’ll tell you about it through 5 stories.
Today is Julian Edelman x Andy Pettitte – “A story of injury, recovery, PED’s, HOF’s, and Uniforms”
Injuries, Recovery, and PED’s:
The stories of Andy Pettitte and Julian Edelman on the surface do not seem to be careers that are much aligned. Upon making the MLB, Andy Pettitte nearly immediately became a prominent player, placing 3rd in the Rookie of the Year and then Top-5 in the Cy Young over his first three seasons. Within his first 6 seasons he had 3 World Series rings, had won 100 games, and pitched almost 1250 innings.
Upon making the NFL, Julian Edelman was mostly used as a return specialist over his first 5 seasons. While he did play some wide receiver he had totaled just 1770 yards during that time. To put that into perspective, 6 players have caught for more yards in a single season than Jules had over 5. During this time, Edelman had just 1 Super Bowl appearance. It’s clear these two guys didn’t have the same starts to their careers.
However, the big picture of their stories are incredibly similar. They were each drafted late into their respective league drafts (22nd round for Pettitte; 7th round for Edelman), they each played on teams that won multiple championships, they each were beloved by their fanbases, and- most importantly to today’s post- they have each had to deal with controversy stemming from the same problems: injury recovery and use of performance enhancing drugs.
For Andy Pettitte, it is said that he started using HGH (Human Growth Hormone) after an elbow injury in 2002. Upon rejoining the Yankees in 2007, Pettitte said his use of HGH was so he could recover from injury faster as an obligation to the team, and in 2008 Pettitte admitted another use of HGH in 2004.
For Julian Edelman, it is assumed that he started using some PED (performance enhancing drug) during his recovery from an ACL tear in 2017. Though, interestingly it was never revealed what he tested positive for, as the NFL only ever stated it came back positive. This was the only drug test he failed while in the NFL, after the 2018 season saying that it “would never happen again”.
Hall of Famers?
Another similarly between Julian Edelman and Andy Pettitte is also something that both of their potential cases for the Hall of Fame rests on: postseason productivity and performance. Both had regular season stats that are, for lack of a better word, underwhelming when looking at a true Hall of Famer. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they are outside the realm of looking good enough for a Hall of Fame, but it does mean that they lack the extra padding that make their cases “slam dunks” (even though neither played basketball professionally).
For Andy Pettitte, his numbers rank as the following (per Baseball-Reference): 60.2 career WAR | 34.1 7yr-peak WAR | 47.2 JAWS | 47.2 S-JAWS | 3.9 WAR/162. An average HOF pitcher has the following numbers: 73.0 career WAR | 49.8 7yr-peak WAR | 61.4 JAWS | 56.8 S-JAWS | 4.5 WAR/162. Andy Pettitte does not have any numbers that match or beat the average HOF pitcher for regular season rate-metric performance. However, he did have over 250 Wins in his career (256), had nearly 2500 strikeouts (2448), and he did win 5 World Series rings. Only 7 players with more wins than Pettitte are not in the HOF.
For Julian Edelman, his number ranks as the following- the NFL only has one metric- (per Pro-Football-Reference🙂 36.68 PFR HOF. The average HOF WR has a PFR HOF of 104.62. Obviously, this number is lacking. However, Edelman did win 3 Super Bowls with some solid regular season numbers for a WR: 620 Receptions, 6822 yards, 36 TD’s, 366 First Downs. These numbers are only improved when you consider that the large majority of these numbers were recorded over 6 of his 11 seasons (from 2013-2019), including 530 Receptions, 5793 yards, 32 TD’s, and 314 First Downs.
When you consider how dominant they were in the postseason, it also makes their HOF cases much better.
Andy Pettitte is the All-time leader in postseason Wins (18), Innings (276.2), Starts (44), and he is 4th in strikeouts (183). He is also one of 55 players to ever win 5+ World Series.
Julian Edelman is 2nd all-time in postseason Receptions (118) and postseason Yards (1442), both of these only being behind Jerry Rice- who is also known as the greatest receiver ever. This also doesn’t consider the many amazing catches he made in various Super Bowls (remember this?) which were instrumental in his teams success.
A case can be made for both.
So, why are we talking about Julian Edelman today? He hasn’t played in the NFL this year at all!
Well, in planning to go to a game in MetLife stadium between the New York Jets and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers I had to wear a football jersey. I only own two football jerseys: Tim Tebow and Julian Edelman…a jersey I bought about a week ago at a local Marshalls in Northern New Jersey. (I owned a Tom Brady jersey when I was a kid, but I outgrew that 10+ years ago.)
As I went to the game to watch Tom Brady, I wanted to wear a jersey that made sense. Julian Edelman was his #1 WR target for the greater part of a decade in the most important moments. Now, it also brought a lot of looks and some good jabs from Jets fans at the game. Truthfully, I wanted to hear some good jeers and banter.
We wear uniforms to remember the great players of the game. Yankees fans still wear the number 46 to games (on a uniform with no last name hopefully). Patriot fans still wear the number 11. I wanted to wear a uniform of a recently retired player who I enjoyed watching as I truly grew into being a fan of the Patriots and Tom Brady.