It isn’t every day a football player with Jewish roots becomes a Super Bowl hero, which is why Jewish fans all over the world were still buzzing Monday morning over Julian Edelman’s spectacular fourth-quarter catch that kept the New England Patriots’ tying drive alive late Sunday night.
The Patriots trailed 28-20 with 2:20 remaining in regulation and quarterback Tom Brady threw a deep pass that fell toward to ground, but Edelman dove with his arms outstretched and managed to get his hand under the ball as a pile of Falcons landed on him. The pass was ruled good for a 23-yard gain and put the ball at the Atlanta 41.
New England scored on the drive, completed a two-point conversion and went on to win 34-28 in overtime in the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history.
The catch, compared to the New York Giants’ David Tyree’s helmet catch in Super Bowl 42, immediately went viral on social media. Jewish publications from the San Diego Jewish World to the Cleveland Jewish News to the Times of Israel jumped on the story.
“Jewish NFL Star Edelman Saves Super Bowl With Miraculous Catch” read the headline on the Breaking Israel News website.
The Forward, a New York City-based Jewish newspaper, wrote: “Patriots Star Julian Edelman’s 5 Most Jewish Moments — and One Great Super Bowl Catch!” Among the moments, a nine-day trip to Israel in 2015 to explore his Jewish heritage, a Happy Passover Tweet he posted last year and a photo of him in a cap decorated with pins of the U.S. and Israeli flags.
Edelman’s father, Frank, is Jewish. His mother, Angela, is not, and he was not raised Jewish. But he has become more interested in this Jewish ancestry in recent years, according to several reports, including one last week in the Boston Globe.
He is an unlikely Super Bowl star, considering he was picked in the seventh round of the 2009 NFL Draft out of Kent State, the 232nd pick overall.
On the American Jewish Historical Society list of the 10 best Jewish football players, Edelman is ranked fourth behind Hall of Famers Sid Luckman, Ron Mix and Benny Friedman. Luckman led the Chicago Bears to four NFL championships between 1940 and 1946. Former Miami Dolphins lineman Ed Newman (1973-84) is ranked No. 6 on the list.