New England Patriots

New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman’s 18-month odyssey from a season-ending ACL tear in the 2017 preseason to a four-game suspension to begin 2018 has ended with Super Bowl LIII MVP honors.

“[It’s] pretty surreal,” Edelman said after New England’s 13-3 win over the Los Angeles Rams in Atlanta on Sunday. “Tough times don’t last. Tough people do. I preach that. … I have to try to live to that.”

In what finished as the lowest-scoring game in Super Bowl history, Edelman was a go-to target for Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, finishing with 10 catches (on 12 targets) for 141 yards. The 10 catches tied Edelman for the third-most single-game yards in Super Bowl history, while his 141 yards finished as the 11th-most for any single Super Bowl.

“[Edelman] played the best game of the year,” Brady said. “He’s a fighter. I’m just so proud of him.

“He’s been an incredible player for this team.”

With the MVP honors going to No. 11, Edelman became the seventh wide receiver to earn Super Bowl MVP honors, and the first since the Steelers’ Santonio Holmes captured the honor in Super Bowl XLIII. Edelman is actually the second Patriot wide receiver to win Super Bowl MVP honors, as Deion Branch accomplished the feat in Super Bowl XXXIX.

Edelman, for what it’s worth, believed that the entire Patriots defense should have been named MVP.