Karma Exists: The Julian Edelman Catch - Roto Street Journal
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Karma Exists: The Julian Edelman Catch

Karma (noun) – (in Hinduism and Buddhism) the sum of a person’s actions in this and previous states of existence, viewed as deciding their fate in future existences.

The catch Sunday night by Julian Edelman does not have a fancy name yet (at least that I’m aware of), but will go down as one of the greatest catches in NFL history. For all the ridiculous receptions that had gone against New England in past Super Bowls, it was only a matter of time until said karma kicked in and finally decided to swing with New England. To truly appreciate the wonder and joy of Edelman’s catch though, you have to go back in time and look at the events that left Patriots fans searching for answers and questioning higher powers.

February 3, 2008: The Helmet Catch

Seeing this video makes my blood boil every time. The Patriots were on the path to immortality and close to becoming the first team to ever go 19-0 in a season. Then, this happened. Mouth-breather Eli Manning somehow escaped the grasp of Patriots defenders and threw up a prayer to no name receiver David Tyree. Tyree managed to somehow grab the ball and pin it against his helmet away from all-pro safety Rodney Harrison. The drive extended and then the Giants punched in the game winning touchdown minutes later. All of New England was shocked and stunned that one unbelievably lucky play just cost them perfection and the chance to rewrite NFL record books. It was the cruelest punishment and probably the lowest moment of my young life. To be that close and have it ripped away by some ridiculous catch like that was heartbreaking. Patriots fans would have to live with this for the rest of their lives.

February 5, 2012: Mario Manningham’s Toe Tap

Fast forward four years and the Patriots are back in the Super Bowl against this same team with the same stupid quarterback. Perfection isn’t on the line, but the haunted memories of the previous matchup still loom and nobody has forgotten about Tyree’s catch. New England was up 17-15 with 3:46 left in the fourth quarter. The Giants started their drive at their own 12. The Patriots were so close to making up for the horrible memories of the last matchup and evening the score with New York. Then Eli Manning goes and throws what I’ll call a perfect pass. I’ll give it to him, that’s one hell of a pass. Puts it where literally only his receiver can catch it and just out of the reach of Patriots corner Sterling Moore.  Mario Manningham extended and caught the ball with his fingertips while tapping both feet down in bounds to secure a monster 38 yard gain. At that moment, every single Patriots fan suffered PTSD and had flashbacks to Tyree. How could this happen again? The Giants got to midfield in the blink of an eye and were in prime position for the go ahead score. It was another nightmare situation that once again ended in defeat for the Patriots. It was the worst case of deja vu any New England fan could encounter. It wasn’t as painful as Tyree’s catch, but it still stung nonetheless. Great throw. Tip your cap and move on.

February 1st, 2015: Jermaine Kearse’s Circus Catch

I detailed my past experience on this play in a previous article last week where it felt like I had an out of body experience. Body numb, ears ringing, just stuck in a state of absolute shock. Tom Brady had just picked apart one of the historically great NFL defenses like a surgeon in the fourth quarter for two touchdowns to put the Patriots up 28-24. Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks started their drive with 2:02 left to play starting at their own 20. Seattle marched to New England’s 38 yard line with 1:16 left on the clock. Needing four points, a field goal was out of question. Wilson dropped back and lofted a deep ball towards Jermaine Kearse on the right side. Patriots corner Malcolm Butler rose up and tipped the ball making a great defensive play on the ball. The ball floated in the air and fell right into the lap of Kearse. It bounced back up and Kearse extended his arms to reel it in and secure the catch at the Patriots five yard line. Once again, all of Patriots Nation had PTSD and flashbacks to Tyree and Manningham while thinking, “this can’t really happen again, can it?” It happens once, fine. Twice? A coincidence. But three times?! There’s a higher power at work right now that clearly does not want the Patriots to win. You can see it on Brady’s face at the end there. Pure and utter disbelief that this could happen again. Luckily, Malcolm Butler made the most clutch play in Super Bowl history (at the time) to intercept a Seahawks pick play and secure a win for New England. It was absurd to be the victim of THREE ridiculous catches, especially when both Tyree and Kearse’s were over the top ridiculous.

February 5th, 2017: Julio Jones’ Acrobatic Catch

After all the shit Tom Brady and the New England Patriots went through this year with deflategate and the suspension, they HAD to win this year. Evil dictator/pathological liar Roger Goodell suspended Brady for the first four games of the season for something he did not even do, and had no factual evidence to do so. Brady and all of New England was irate. There was nothing that could be done, and all of New England had one goal in mind of seeing Goodell hand off the Vince Lombardi Trophy to owner Robert Kraft at the end of the season. It HAD to happen, and it HAD to be this year. So with the Patriots back in the Super Bowl, we were so close to making all of our dreams a reality.

Unfortunately, the game did not start off very promising. The Patriots offense looked out of sorts, and the speed and skill of the Falcons looked to be too much for New England. The Falcons took a 21-3 lead into halftime with all the momentum in the world. It looked as if Goodell was going to escape his worst nightmare. But like only he can, Tom Brady battled back and brought the Patriots back into the game. After pulling New England within one score of a 28-20 game, the Patriots couldn’t allow Atlanta to score any more points if they were to have any chance of winning. The Falcons were driving down the field at were set up at the 50 yard line. QB Matt Ryan dropped back to pass, stepped up to avoid the rush and threw downfield to his all-pro receiver Julio Jones. The pass was high and out of the reach of Patriots corner Eric Rowe, but Jones managed to leap up and reach out his arms at practically a 90 degree angle. He snagged the ball and slammed his toes into the turf in bounds to secure a HUGE 30 yard catch. It was a great throw from Ryan who put it where only Julio could come down with it. With the Falcons at the 20, a score seemed imminent. It was yet another crazy catch that seemed like it was going to break the Patriots, resulting in yet another Super Bowl loss. It just seems to happen every time.

February 5th, 2017: The Immaculate Gritception

Karma (noun) – the sum of a person’s actions in this and previous states of existence, viewed as deciding their fate in future existences.

With all of these horrible past experiences, and all that was at stake for New England this season, it seemed like pure fate that the Patriots would finally be on the right side of a magnificent catch. Good karma, if you’d like to call it that. The Patriots were able to hold the Falcons to no points and forced a punt on that Julio-catch drive. With Brady and the Patriots at their own 36 yard line, they had 2:28 seconds to drive the field and score 8 points to try and send this to overtime. Brady was five-wide in shotgun and threw what appeared to be a questionable pass into double coverage. Falcons corner Robert Alford who had the pick-six earlier in the game was playing Julian Edelman underneath while safety Keanu Neal was providing coverage over the top. The ball tipped off Alford’s hands (how was this not picked off?) and bounced high into the air. Edelman sees the ball falling, stops, and dives out arms stretched. The ball then falls onto Alford’s bottom leg, preventing the ball from falling to the turf. Edelman is able to place both hands around the outsides of the ball, while Ricardo Allen dives in and gets his arms under Edelman’s. Allen’s arms act as a cushion between the field and the ball, allowing Edelman to maintain control without the ball slamming into the turf. Then, in a moment of pure chaos, Edelman’s hands both come off the ball. It’s hovering inches from the ground and a split second away from being incomplete. He quickly reclamps his hands on the ball, gets one hand underneath to get between the ball and the turf and drops to the ground.

In real time, almost nobody thought it was a catch. The only ones who knew were Edelman, the official, and somehow my roommate, who started screaming “that’s a catch, it didn’t hit the ground!” before any officials worked their way onto the screen. Instead of all of New England having PTSD flashbacks once again, there was the collective thought of “we finally got one”. The Patriots finally had their own crazy catch that worked in THEIR favor instead of against them. Of course, we all had to wait on the official ruling after the review, and in today’s NFL you never know what’s ruled a catch and what’s not. It wouldn’t have been a complete shocker if they somehow got screwed out of that one. That’s the way it’s been for New England in these big games. But not this one. This game was too special and the karma was finally in our favor. Brady promptly drove the field, scored, hit the two point conversion and forced overtime. From there, he marched right down the field again and scored effortlessly as the Patriots won Super Bowl 51 in dramatic fashion. The greatest Super Bowl of all-time and the greatest comeback of all-time.

With that Edelman catch, you knew it was going to happen. All that good karma finally balancing out the past evils and tortures. Fate if you will, was on New England’s side. And boy did it feel good to be on the right end of an absurd catch for once.


  • THE Inaugural 2016 RSJ Fantasy Football League Champion. Owner of a #bigbrain, and lover of football, baseball and college hoops. When not grinding for the RSJ, can be found captaining his beer league softball team.

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