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Patriots WR Julian Edelman named Super Bowl LIII MVP

In the lowest scoring game in Super Bowl history, there was no clear player -- on offense, defense or special teams -- to whom to award the Most Valuable Player. Such was the nature of the New England Patriots' complementary victory.

But someone had to claim the prize and, on Sunday evening, that man was Julian Edelman.

"I wasn't focused on [winning the MVP]," Edelman told CBS's Jim Nantz on the victors' podium following New England's 13-3 win over the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII. "I was just trying to go out and have a good week of practice and do my job. Sometimes the cookie crumbles that way."

The diminutive receiver finished with a game-high 10 catches for 141 yards. Always in the right place in the right time, eight of Edelman's receptions led to first-down pick-ups.

Though seven of Edelman's 10 receptions came in the first half, when New England scored just three points, his final grab was the second play on the Patriots' five-play game-winning touchdown drive midway through the fourth quarter.

In winning the MVP award, Edelman became just the second Patriots player not named Tom Brady to secure the honor (Deion Branch, XXXIX).

"He deserves it," Brady told Nantz on the podium about Edelman's accolade. "That was one of the best games he ever played."

As with most of the Patriots on Sunday's roster, Edelman was no stranger to the Big Game. This was his fourth appearance in the Super Bowl and the third in which he's played a major role. Edelman caught the game-winning touchdown in New England's win over the Seattle Seahawks. His acrobatic fingertip grab in the fourth quarter of the Patriots' win over the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI was the iconic moment of an historic comeback.

But Edelman was sidelined for the Patriots' loss to the Philadelphia Eagles last season, kept off the team all year by a torn ACL. He was also missing for New England's first four games of 2018, but for non-injury related reasons. Edelman was suspended for the season's first quarter for violating the league's PED policy.

When he returned, Edelman was Brady's top target, his younger brother again, racking up 74 receptions, 850 receiving yards and six touchdowns in 12 games of work.

In the postseason, the 5-foot-10 former Kent State QB played larger than life once again.

Edelman finished the 2019 postseason with 26 receptions for 388 receiving yards in three Patriots victories. The MVP bestowed to him on Sunday night was for his decisive route-running and clutch conversions against the Rams in Atlanta, but it could also be viewed as a postseason, or even a lifetime, achievement award.

By going over 100 yards for the sixth time in his postseason career, Edelman tied Cowboys legend Michael Irvin for the second-most 100-yard postseason games all-time. They are second only to the inimitable Jerry Rice with eight.

That's esteemed company, company that would suggest that Edelman is an all-time great and bound for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, where the busts of Irvin and Rice already reside, when his time comes.

That is a conversation for another day. Tomorrow, perhaps.

"It just matters that we won, man," Edelman told Nantz as the confetti poured down from the Mercedes-Benz Stadium roof. "It was a crazy year. We've got a resilient bunch of guys. It was unreal, man. It was like a home game here. We love you guys here. It was awesome."

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