The New England Patriots are entering the 2017 NFL season as the defending World Champions, and were the odds-on favorite to claim a record sixth Lombardi Trophy. However, a freak injury to wideout Julian Edelman on Friday night may have put those Super Bowl dreams on hold. Edelman sustained a knee injury in the Patriots’ pre-season game against Detroit. Word out of New England is that the injury is an ACL tear, which would likely put him on injured reserve for the entire season. This is a huge loss for the Patriots as Edelman was their leading receiver and consistently one of their most dependable players. Who can forget his game-changing catch late in the 4th quarter of Super Bowl LI? Now the Patriots must consider what life will be like without Edelman around, and it may not be quite as “Super” as it was last year.
If you have to give Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots credit for one thing, it’s that they always seem to be able to adapt to adversity. This isn’t the first time that the Patriots have had to cope with the loss of a super star player. Who can forget the 2008 season when Tom Brady himself went down with a torn ACL just minutes into the first game of the season? The Patriots managed to rally back behind quarteback Matt Cassel and finish with an 11-5 record. More recently, the Patriots were able to overcome a major injury to Rob Gronkowski last season and ended up winning the Super Bowl. So while the loss of Edelman is obviously a huge setback, it’s not an insurmountable obstacle for the Patriots. They have been in far more dire circumstances and still managed to come out on top.
The biggest question remaining is who the Patriots will find to fill Edelman’s place. The answer may be as simple as looking to New England’s roster where Chris Hogan and Danny Amendola are waiting in the wings to become the new leadering receiver for the Patriots. Tom Brady clearly has confidence in those two and they were hugely important players in the crucial moments of Super Bowl LI. While many people may be counting the Patriots out this season, the fact remains that overcoming the loss of Edelman is nothing when compared to a 28-3 deficit in the Super Bowl. Can you ever really count out a team with that type of track record? Many sports betting sites don’t believe so as the Patriots are still favorites to win the AFC East. I’m still bullish on the Patriots to win the conference again, and to come away victorious with championship this coming February.
Richard Arger is a freelance journalist based in New England. He has been covering the New England Patriots and the NFL for the past six seasons for various outlets. He originally started his career covering the Boston College Eagles before moving onto the professional football scene. He’s an avid NFL draft nerd and considers himself to be a fantasy football guru. When he’s not covering the NFL, he enjoys swimming, tennis, and spending time with his two daughters.