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Danny Amendola: Patriots Hall of Famer?

Does Danny Amendola belong in the Patriots Hall of Fame?

New England Patriots vs Atlanta Falcons, Super Bowl LI Set Number: SI715 TK1

With Danny Amendola announcing his retirement from professional football this week, I found myself going down a bit of a rabbit hole of Amendola highlights. I never forgot about any of the things he did while a member of the New England Patriots...but man, when you watch them all back-to-back like I did (at the expense of my productivity at work, of course), it’s absolutely remarkable what he did during his time here.

Which, of course, got me thinking:

Is Danny Amendola a Patriots Hall of Famer?

At first glance, the answer is an easy “no.” That honor is historically reserved for players who had a long tenure with the team, were Patriots for the majority (if not entirety) of their careers, and were among the best at their respective positions — not to mention team and fan favorites.

And while Amendola is definitively that last point, the reality is that he was only with the team for five of his 13 NFL seasons. He was on a team with Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman and was never considered one of the team’s all-stars. He never had more than 65 receptions in a single season, and never eclipsed 700 yards. When you think about the all-time great Patriots receivers, Amendola’s name isn’t the first, second, third, fourth, or even ninth or tenth name you think of.

He’ll be remembered around the league not so much as a Patriot, but as a very good receiver who had success with multiple teams and a few Super Bowls on top of that. His career will be remembered as a good one, but not a great one, and I can’t see anybody referring to him as “former Patriots receiver Danny Amendola” when they talk about his playing days in the years to come. Players like that don’t get inducted into a team Hall of Fame, no matter how much they were beloved.

That said... if there was a more clutch receiver for the Patriots Dynasty 2.0, I can’t think of who that might be. The Hall of Fame, and sports in general, is about much more than numbers and stats. Amendola’s ratio of catches to game-altering, momentum-shifting, victory-sealing plays is pretty astonishing, and I feel confident saying that the Patriots don’t win those Super Bowls without him.

But does that make him a Patriots Hall of Famer?

Just off the top of my head, I can remember Tom Brady hitting Amendola on 3rd-and-goal from the 19 against a New York Jets team they barely beat in 2014. I remember a surging Buffalo Bills team, looking to complete a huge comeback, bringing the kitchen sink at Tom Brady, who threw up an absolute prayer to a blanket covered Amendola, who somehow made the catch for 29 yards to put New England in field goal position and ice the game.

I remember his first game as a Patriot, again against the Bills, where he had 10 catches for 104 yards on a groin tear so severe the muscle ripped clean off the bone. He was out for all of three weeks. I remember any number of additional must-have first down scenarios where Amendola somehow, inexplicably, came down with the ball.

But where we’ll all remember him most was in the playoffs, where he took his game to a whole different level. He played all 13 of his career postseason games with the Patriots, racking up 57 catches for 704 yards and a 70 percent completion percentage — not to mention his six touchdowns.

Among those touchdowns were:

  • A 4-yard grab to make it a one-score game against the Seattle Sahawks in the Super Bowl;
  • A 6-yard out against the Atlanta Falcons to make the Super Bowl a one-score game;
  • Catching and converting the single most important two-point conversion in the history of professional football in which he had to muscle through two defenders to barely get across the line on the next possession to tie the Super Bowl and complete the greatest postseason comeback of all time;
  • An acrobatic, toe-tapping, end zone grab to complete the comeback against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC Championship Game and send the Patriots back to the Super Bowl.

And that’s not even mentioning the role Amendola had on crucial drives in other playoff games, from Super Bowls to Divisional Rounds. From perfectly-run routes to getting just enough separation to make the play to being on the receiving end of the greatest non-Brady playoff throw in Patriots history, Danny Amendola’s fingerprints are all over every single facet of New England’s success in the 2010s.

There’s absolutely no denying that, and you can’t talk about the last 10 years of Patriots football without bringing his name up multiple times. He was a completely irreplaceable member of several of the most memorable Patriots teams we’ll ever have the pleasure of following, and while he’ll never get the credit that Edelman or Gronk or Brady or Belichick will, we as fans all know how much he meant to this franchise in the moments that mattered the most. Amendola helped this team win multiple Super Bowls, full stop.

But is that enough to get him into the Hall at Patriots Place?

Honestly, probably not.

But should he at the very least be in the conversation? Absolutely.

Maybe I’m wrong on this one — wouldn’t be the first time, and it won’t be the last.

What do you think? Is Danny Amendola a Patriots Hall of Famer?


Should Danny Amendola be in the Patriots Hall of Fame?

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