Patriots

Brady: Edelman's circus Super Bowl catch 'one of the greatest'

Brady: Edelman's circus Super Bowl catch 'one of the greatest'

HOUSTON -- Even Tom Brady had a hard time understanding that Julian Edelman had actually caught it.

Maybe it was the sheer improbability of his favorite target plucking the ball with his fingertips milliseconds before it hit the turf. Maybe it was because those types of catches typically work against the Patriots. 

Whatever it was, Brady was as flabbergasted as anyone. 

"Yeah, I couldn’t believe it," said the game's MVP. "It was one of the greatest catches. We’ve been on the other end of a few of those catches and tonight, you know, we came up with it. It was a pretty spectacular catch. He had a hell of a game."

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When it was mentioned to Edelman that Brady called it one of the best catches he's seen, Edelman cracked, "I think that's because of our bromance."

The importance of the catch was no joke, though. 

It was the inverse of what David Tyree, Mario Manningham and Jermanie Kearse had done to the Patriots in Super Bowls past. It was a circus 23-yard gain that got the Patriots to the Atlanta 41-yard line with 2:28 remaining in regulation and the Patriots down, 28-20.

Falcons corner Robert Alford tipped Tom Brady's pass deep down the middle of the field, causing Edelman to dive and come back to the floating football. He angled off rookie safety Keanu Neal, and snared the ball just as it appeared it was about to hit the turf. Somehow, it never did, and the review was a relatively quick one.

"You may need a play or two like that to go your way in order to come out victorious," offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels said. "And Julian did a great job of staying focused on the ball and kept his hands underneath it, and that was a great play for us."

Edelman actually double-caught the football, making it even more remarkable that he was able to control it without the help of the ground beneath him. But he may have had a hand from Alford's foot, it appeared. The ball was for a brief instant wedged on Alford's ankle, keeping it up for grabs.

"I knew I had a good feel on it," Edelman said. "I didn't know if a piece of the ball was touching. I don't know what the dang rule is. No one knows what the rule is for a catch. I was like, 'I think I caught it. I'm pretty sure I caught it.' "

A deflection. A cleat. A bobble. You can't blame Edelman's teammates on the sidelines for thinking it landed before he controlled it.

"Honestly, I didn't he caught it," said Alan Branch. "I hate to say it. Malcolm was right there yelling that he got it, and I didn't think he got it. Once I saw that he actually caught it, I started going crazy. That's one of the better catches that I've seen. The concentration that he had just to track it down and put his hand up under it. He's an elite receiver in the league for a reason. There it is."

After a 20-yard completion to Danny Amendola, a 14-yard reception by James White and then a 7-yard catch by White, the Patriots were suddenly at the goal line. Brady handed to White, who had the game of his life, for an easy touchdown, and a two-point conversion to Amendola tied it. 

Who knows if any of it happens without Edelman's catch that will be a staple on Super Bowl highlights for years to come.

"Man, that was the best catch that I've ever seen in person, hands down," said Dont'a Hightower. "I couldn't even tell. Julian The Incredible, that's what they call him. I'm so, so blessed for him to have that catch."

Sources: Tom Brady and family preparing to leave New England

Sources: Tom Brady and family preparing to leave New England

Tom Brady doesn't officially become a free agent until the new league year begins on March 18, but the rumors are already flying about the New England Patriot quarterback's future.

A report surfaced earlier in the week that Brady and his family purchased a home in Greenwich, Connecticut. As NBC Sports Boston's own Tom E. Curran pointed out, that is false.

But that doesn't mean Brady isn't planning on making a move.

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Thursday night on "Arbella Early Edition," Gary Tanguay revealed that a source told him Brady and wife Gisele Bundchen are looking to leave New England.

"I was told today by a source the family is planning to leave the area," Tanguay said. "The priority this time is to let the kids finish school this year, then they're gone."

Tanguay's report doesn't mean Brady is definitely leaving New England, but talks of him and his family looking to live somewhere else continue to gain steam.

If Brady indeed is moving on from New England and looking to start a new chapter, some of that could do with his desire to finally make the money he's worth in free agency.

According to Tanguay, Brady is "embarrassed" by the number of quarterbacks in the league that make more than him and has been fed up about it dating back to the summer, before he signed his contract extension.

Thirteen quarterbacks, including Brady's former backups Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett, make more on average annually than the six-time Super Bowl champion according to overthecap.com.

The truth is, we won't know for certain what's going through Brady's mind until the ink is on paper for the 42-year-old's new contract. Until then, it's going to be a stressful offseason for Patriots fans.

Curran: Is this newfound time a silver lining for Patriots?

Patriots Talk Podcast: What exactly are the Patriots up to right now?

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NBC Sports Boston Illustration

Patriots Talk Podcast: What exactly are the Patriots up to right now?

Needless to say, it's unusual for the New England Patriots to have so much down time in January. Typically, they're playing in the AFC Divisional Round. And the AFC Championship Game. And often, the Super Bowl.

But this year, they were eliminated in the Wild Card Round for the first time since 2009. And now, they have a lot of time on their hands.

And while their early playoff exit was surely discouraging, the Patriots could stand to benefit from this extra time.

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On the latest episode of the Patriots Talk Podcast, Tom E. Curran and Phil Perry discussed how the Patriots could utilize the extra time and the positive impact it could have on the organization.

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Curran pointed out that because the team has so often been playing into February, their already thin staff has been stretched thin come draft season, which explains why the team has had some draft misses in recent seasons.

Really, it comes down to 312 days of prepreparation were sacrifice. And so for a bare bones organization in terms of both front office and coaching staff -- these guys have had shorter offseasons by a month on average than any other team in the NFL.

So on one hand, it's remarkable and it's a high-class problem. On the other hand, isn't it somewhat inevitable that you might have some draft swings and misses?

Perry agreed with Curran and brought up that the fact that the extra time off will give Belichick a real chance to thoroughly evaluate his roster.

I think for a team that is looking at a reboot, one of the sort of ironic things about that is that now you have time to really think that through in more detail and not to say that Bill Belichick isn't planning or looking at his roster, how it's constructed, how the contracts set up and trying to plan ahead. I'm sure he is doing that to a certain extent.

But you can only spend so much time on those things when you're getting ready for the divisional round, the AFC Championship Game every year, the Super Bowl every other year.

This surely makes sense and is definitely a positive for the Patriots. Perhaps with that extra time, Belichick can find a way to retain Tom Brady while significantly upgrading his supporting cast.

For more on the Patriots offseason plans, potential changes in their front office, and predictions for the AFC and NFC Championship Games, check out the latest episode of the Patriots Talk Podcast, which drops every Tuesday and Thursday as a part of the NBC Sports Boston podcast network.