Julian Edelman is very good. He’s now a 2-time Super Bowl champion and a legit number one receiver. He’s third all-time in career postseason catches, and, barring injury, will rise up to second next season. Over the last four years, if you extrapolate his numbers out for 16 games to make up for the games he missed, he’s averaging 103 catches, 1,114 yards, and five touchdowns. Keep in mind he played quarterback his whole life before the NFL. He’s also Jewish. Can’t think of too many other Jewish wide receivers after the introduction of real helmets. The gridiron isn’t typically the preferred place of business for the 12 Tribes, anyway. Does excelling at football, let alone receiver, in the year 2017 make Edelman the greatest Chosen athlete of all time? Let’s take a look at how he stacks up against some of the true legends.
Mose Solomon– Nicknamed “the Rabbi of Swat,” Solomon finished his legendary career with a total of three hits in two games. That’s a lot for anyone to live up to. Is Edelman mentally strong enough to carry the burden? Sure he’s faster, stronger, and an all-around much better athlete than this titan of baseball’s dead ball era, but the truly great ones never feel the weight of expectation. Given his people’s history with neurosis, it could be a big ask.
Dolph Schayes– My man Dolph played in a tough era to be a Jewish guy named Adolph, and he still managed to make the Basketball Hall of Fame. A true artist with the set-shot, read about Dolph and you’ll continually see adjectives like “smart,” “wily,” “low to the ground,” and “plodding.” What’s Edelman’s 40 time? 4.52? Would he even make a 1950s NBA roster? Beginning to think not.
Kevin Youkilis– Youk was an integral part of the mid-2000s Red Sox. He won two rings and came in third in the MVP voting in 2008. In some weird corners of the world, he was known as the Greek God of Walks instead of Youk. Terry Francona once said “I’ve seen Youkilis in the shower, and I wouldn’t call him the Greek god of anything.” According to the people that normally debate the historical rankings of Jewish athletes, the most important quality to have is to be relatable to some little insecure Jewish kid in Queens. Well, who’s more relatable? A bald, kind of lumpy, angry Youk or chiseled, handsome, Hollywood Julian Edelman? Another strike against Edelman.
Amar’e Stoudemire– Now I know what you’re thinking. “Amar’e was one of the most athletic big men in NBA history. A true physical specimen and perennial all-star. How can a skinny white boy match this modern-day Samson?” Well, Amar’e didn’t decide he was Jewish until 2010. So, the Jews only get to claim his post-Suns career. In other words, he kept getting injured and kept getting a ton of money. I’ll spare you the easy joke. For Edelman to eclipse Jewish Amar’e, all he needs to do is sign a massive contract and fail to live up to expectations and spend months on the injury report. Well, he’s so concussed that there’s a decent chance he won’t be able to walk within 3 years. Finally looking up for Julian.
George Worth– I don’t know a lot of things for certain in this life. The sun will rise in the East. The Patriots will at least make the AFC Championship Game every year. And if you stepped into the fencing ring with George Worth, you weren’t leaving a winner. Dude won a bronze medal in the 1948 Olympics in the team sabre event. Ask any true Olympic fan if team sabre or the 100 meter dash is a more prestigious event and you’re in for a good debate. It’s unfair to put Edelman in the same sentence as Worth, but I just wanted to show what kind of competition he’ll be facing. Becoming the greatest Jewish athlete of all time is no lazy sabbath day.
After going through the annals of Jewish sporting history, I’ve determined Julian Edelman has a pretty good shot at being one of the best of all time. In terms of modern receivers, his best competition is Greg Camarillo, so I think he’s got that wrapped up. In the end, though, it doesn’t really matter. He’ll never be better than Koufax.