Sunday’s Super Bowl LIII at Mercedes-Benz Stadium will be Sean McVay’s first game as a head coach against the New England Patriots, but it will not be the first time the Rams coach will have shared a football field with Patriots slot receiver Julian Edelman.
McVay is so young — he turned 33 last week — that he was still in college, playing receiver for Miami of Ohio, when Edelman, 32, was a dual-threat quarterback for Mid-American Conference rival Kent State.
“Honestly, I don’t remember playing against him,” Edelman said of McVay, “but it was pretty cool to see some footage.”
McVay has vivid memories of Edelman, who threw for 266 yards and rushed for 93 yards in Kent State’s 20-13 loss to Miami on Oct. 6, 2007, and threw for 244 yards and rushed for 61 yards in Kent State’s 16-14 win over Miami on Sept. 16, 2006.
McVay caught three passes for 37 yards in the 2007 game and four passes for 47 yards in the 2006 game.
“You could see he was a great quarterback who could throw it, but he also had the ability to create with his legs,” McVay said. “Then you could see when New England drafted him as a punt returner and a receiver that he was a guy who would be an elite competitor.
“We didn’t really have much interaction back then, but I remember he was definitely a really productive player, and I’m not surprised how great of a player he’s become in the NFL.”
Edelman, a seventh-round pick of the Patriots in 2009, is one of the NFL’s most dependable, sure-handed receivers, with 499 receptions for 5,390 yards and 30 touchdowns in nine years.
Edelman, who grew up in the Bay Area idolizing former San Francisco 49ers star Jerry Rice, has caught 105 passes in 17 career playoff games, second to Rice’s NFL-leading 151 post-season receptions.
McVay’s receiving career stalled in college, but coaching seems to suit him well. On Sunday he will become the youngest head coach to lead a team in the Super Bowl, where he will be opposed by a veteran coach who is twice his age, New England’s Bill Belichick, 66.