Brendan C. Hall

Super Bowl MVP Julian Edelman spikes ceremonial puck drop at Bruins game

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AP Photo

Super Bowl MVP Julian Edelman spikes ceremonial puck drop at Bruins game

Tuesday night at TD Garden, the Super Bowl champs were in the house for a special pregame ceremony before the Boston Bruins hosted the New York Islanders.

First, the nearly two dozen Patriots on hand got to greet captain Zdeno Chara in the locker room before the Bruins hit the ice:

Welcomed onto the ice with a video presentation with Top Gun music blaring over the loudspeakers, the Patriots took to center ice for a ceremonial puck drop, where Super Bowl MVP Julian Edelman put his Gronk twist on the tradition, to a rousing ovation:

All of the Patriots players in attendance got a personalized Bruins jersey, with red-trimmed numbers on their Black and Gold jersey. 

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Puck drop 🏒 #GoBs

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Here is the full pregame ceremony, culminating with Edelman's Gronk spike.

The Pats are expected back at the Garden on Thursday for the Celtics' home game, just as the C's hosted the World Series Champion Red Sox back in November.

Tuesday night also marked long-time alternate captain Patrice Bergeron's 1,000th game in a Bruins uniform, just the fifth player in franchise history to achieve that feat.

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Super Bowl MVP Julian Edelman lauded as 'a fighter'

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USA TODAY Sports Images

Super Bowl MVP Julian Edelman lauded as 'a fighter'

Julian Edelman, one of the great storytellers in the Patriots' locker room, was mostly humble and deferential in his post-game reflections after taking home Super Bowl MVP honors.

At the podium, asked if he'd thought of a celebratory drink yet, the wide receiver laughed, "I'll take a water, thanks", as a staffer handed him a bottle of Aquafina.

On the ESPN set with former teammate Randy Moss, asked by the recently-inducted Hall of Famer to take us through his journey from college quarterback to Super Bowl MVP, Edelman didn't miss the opportunity to tell a story in his best impression of Moss' unmistakably distinct West Virginia accent.

But it is often said that with injuries, the body recovers before the mind does -- and few would know better than him. Asked to reflect on his journey back from having his 2018 season wiped out before it even started, on the bench all season with an ACL tear suffered in the preseason, Edelman reiterated how grateful it is to be back in this shape.

"Injuries are psychologically so hard for an athlete, because you don’t get to do what you love to do," Edelman said at his post-game press conference. "And when your team's out there playing in the Super Bowl, and you don’t get to help or be of favor, it was definitely very tough. But I worked at it this year so we’re good."

And to that, quarterback Tom Brady couldn't be any happier for his favorite target, who became the first wide receiver in a decade to win Super Bowl MVP after catching 10 passes for 141 yards in the 13-3 win over the Los Angeles Rams. Edelman passed the immortal Michael Irvin in postseason receiving yards in these playoffs, and now only trails the equally immortal Jerry Rice in postseason yards and receptions.

Brady and Edelman shared a long embrace in the post-game pandemonium on the field. Asked about the conversation, Brady said, "I told him he played his best game all year. I’m so proud of him, what he’s accomplished coming back from his ACL [injury]. He just fought it out, grinned it out like everybody else."

And why, Tom, does Edelman rise to the occasions so well?

"He always does. He’s a fighter, man. He’s . . . I’m just so proud of him. He’s been an incredible player for this team, and the playoffs. He just cemented himself again in the history of the NFL for what his accomplishments are."

Edelman was equally deferential when asked about his relationship with Brady.

"He’s like a brother," Edelman said. "He’s helped me so much. He’s been a huge part mentally, just coaching me up and just through his actions and how he is as a football player, as a professional, as a father and as a family man. It's an honor to get to play with guy like that. He's got six Super Bowls now, so that’s pretty insane."

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Brady credits defense for setting the tone in Super Bowl LIII

Brady credits defense for setting the tone in Super Bowl LIII

Sunday night's Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta provided quite the contrast from last year's Super Bowl LII loss in Minneapolis, when Tom Brady set a Super Bowl record with 505 in a futile effort, coming up on the losing end to the Philadelphia Eagles.

Brady only had half his passing yards (262) from a year ago, and didn't throw any touchdown passes, though his two big strikes to Rob Gronkowski on the fourth-quarter touchdown drive set up Sony Michel's goal-line plunge to make it 10-3.

Had it not been for Stephon Gilmore's fourth-quarter interception to thwart the Rams' best scoring opportunity of the night, or Dont'a Hightower's critical third-quarter sack that forced the Rams into settling for a field goal, their only points of the game, this could be an entirely different narrative. And thusly, Brady made sure to defer plenty of credit to his defense.

"Yeah, it was tough," Brady said of the Patriots' measly 3-0 halftime lead, per NBC's Pro Football Talk. "We just couldn't make the big play, we just couldn't stay on the field on third down. We just knew we had a whole half to go, defense set the tone. They held them, we got some good field position for them. They held them and finally we kind of broke through in the fourth quarter, we kind of needed that."

Critcized throughout the season for its perceived lack of punch up front, deficiencies that were illuminated in road beatdowns from teams like the Detroit Lions and Tennessee Titans during the regular season, the Patriots' defense was without peer in January and February. Sunday night, that resulted in record offensive futility; in addition to this being the lowest-scoring Super Bowl of all-time, it's the first time in the history of the game that no touchdowns were scored before the fourth quarter.

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