Patriots legend Julian Edelman and comedian Sam Morril on challenging Tom Brady, being friends with Bill Belichick and having bold NYC sports takes.
Put Julian Edelman in a hosting role, and he’ll be nominated for a Sports Emmy for Outstanding Personality/Emerging On-Air Talent within his first year.
Put Sam Morril on the street interviewing New Yorkers, and he’ll be nominated for a New York Emmy for Best Interviewer.
Put these two in a room together, and there’s connection and conversation that differs from the rest of the sports podcast landscape.
Edelman and Morril have teamed up to co-host “Games With Names“, a podcast that reviews the greatest games of all time from the perspectives of those who played in them.
“I think [Games With Names] is different because everything out there is looking for the best player or the best play — we’re looking for the best game,” Edelman told FanSided. “It’s something that’s very easy to engage with, because we’ve all had our moments where we’ve sat and talked with another fan or another player or a high school play that you played against, and you guys always heard different perspectives of their story. It’s to get the actual perspectives of the people involved in these awesome games over history. We just thought it’d be great content, and Sam’s hella funny, so you put that cherry on top, and we’re good.”
Their first episode, which debuted Aug. 23, revisits the 18-1 New England Patriots season back in 2007 when they were tragically felled by the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII. Of course, that tragedy is a matter of perspective, as the two guests — Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi and Giants quarterback Eli Manning — possess vastly different experiences from that game.
Manning cemented his Hall of Fame case winning two Super Bowls over the Patriots, but those two losses prompted some to believe it was over for Tom Brady’s case for the Greatest Of All Time. Four Super Bowls later, the narrative has changed, but that’s the beauty of “Games With Names.” Everyone’s got a story to tell, and the story that’s told on the field is sometimes greater than fiction.
That’s why Edelman, a key component in the incredulous 28-3 Super Bowl LI comeback, is a perfect fit for hosting the show, according to Morril.
“Julian’s the difference,” Morril said when asked about how his current podcast project differs from past ones. “We really have the guy who says stuff, and I’m like, ‘Wow, he really knows the game so well.’ These guests that come on, they really revere him. It’s so cool to see. We’ve got Randy Moss, Adrian Peterson did an episode, Michael Vick, and they’re looking at Julian — I think we had Brandon Marshall say, ‘You were my favorite player.’ That’s epic. That’s what separates us, because Julian has this connection to fans: he’s kind of got this everyman quality, but he’s also a former star player. That’s what makes this show different. It’s like that barroom vibe, when you’re out with your friends and you’re like, ‘What’s the best game?’ or you’ve had a few too many — it’s that vibe, but with a guy who knows nothing when it comes down to me, and a guy with legit credibility with Julian.”
Edelman joked that the two met on JDate and had their first date at Arturo’s in the West Village, while Sam indicated that “it was either going to be an off-Broadway production of ‘Inglorious Basterds’” or the creation of their podcast. Although fans of the two can only hope they will team up for sketch comedy at some point, their podcast lets the world in on a funny, informative hang between friends. It just so happens that the people involved are central characters in sports history.
“It’s more of a conversation than an interview,” Edelman explained. “It’s more of like, everyone’s just in there kind of talking crap or explaining certain things. The tangents that we get on are insane. It’s just fun, and that’s what we wanted to portray to people that are listening. That they’re in here having fun with us just conversating.”
Just like he did with Tom Brady back in 2010, Julian Edelman sought out Sam Morril in his usual haunts to build chemistry for their show. Only this time, instead of a practice field in southern California, Edelman was hitting up New York comedy clubs and watching Sam’s sets.
“Honestly, it’s just spending time together,” Edelman said. “That’s always the way you build chemistry.”
“Sam’s a funny dude,” he continued. “When you work with comedians, it’s tough. Usually, I can get a little slapstick joke in there, and it’s like, ‘Haha, the dumb athlete, he can say something funny!’ But when you work with professional comics, these guys are always on. They always have something crazy funny to say, and when I’m trying to sit here and conversate, I just end up starting to laugh.”
“I will say that Julian is better at comedy than I am at running slants up the middle,” Morril quipped in response.
“Well, exactly — you don’t run a slant up the middle,” Edelman laughed.
During their interview, Edelman and Morril demonstrate why “Games With Names” works. Morril has Edelman cackling when he imagines Belichick having a heart attack over a muffed punt or calls Donovan Mitchell “thirsty” for the Knicks. But it’s Edelman who makes us laugh when he gushes over a heartfelt text from Bill Belichick.
As Morril says, Edelman had a serious career, but he doesn’t take himself seriously. When Edelman was racking up three Super Bowl wins and a Super Bowl MVP — he is one of only seven NFL wide receivers to ever receive the honor — as an indispensable aspect of New England’s success, he was also polishing his broadcasting skills hosting BurgerTyme and SmoothieTyme. Edelman’s avatar of choice, a squirrel just trying to get his nut, makes him equipped to navigate sports and comedy in a way few can. And Morril, a seasoned New York comedian and lifelong Yankees/Giants/Knicks fan, brings the perspective of a superfan who doesn’t pull punches.
Morril doesn’t hate Tom Brady “because [the Giants] beat him twice,” but Morril tries to goad the GOAT into gracing their podcast with his presence.
“Julian won’t say this, but I’ll say this: Tom Brady’s a coward,” Morril taunts.
“Take that back! You take that back,” Edelman shouts.
“I’ll take it back if he comes on the show,” Morril smiles.
“Tom, you’re the GOAT — but do you still have bravery?” Morril continues. “Maybe you’re a little old. Maybe you’re a little scared. Maybe you took some time off because your arm doesn’t have the same zip and you’re nervous. We can talk about that. We welcome you on ‘Games With Names.’ But until you come on, I can’t say you’re brave. Can’t say it in good conscience.”
“Tom, you’re the bravest man I’ve ever seen in my life, so if you’re listening to this, that’s everything of him, okay?” Edelman clarifies.
Brady will be an eventual get, even if Edelman is at the olive layer of the seven-layer dip that is contacting Tom Brady. For now, Julian and Sam have plenty of “meaty” content that will satisfy the hunger for a new kind of sports podcast.
Julian Edelman and Sam Morril talk Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and NYC sports ahead of “Games With Names” podcast premiere
With a new episode dropping every week, listeners will be treated to a bevy of guests throughout the NFL season. Confirmed guests include Eli Manning, Tedy Bruschi, Paul Pierce, Michael Irvin, Randy Moss, Adrian Peterson, Michael Vick, and Brandon Marshall, but these are just a few of the major gets this season.
Edelman and Morril already have big plans to bring on guests from all sports and all walks of life. The two represent the ability to dominate different fields — in their case, sports, broadcast and comedy — and they seek guests who do the same. That’s what makes a potential guest like Adam Sandler an ideal fit, especially since he put his love of the game on full display with “Hustle.” Ironically, Spike Lee directed “He Got Game,” which just so happens to be the favorite sports film of Knicks tormentor Trae Young.
In addition to telling FanSided more about their show, Julian and Sam delve into the following topics:
- Future episodes will feature Jets hero Joe Namath and his incredible Super Bowl III prediction, as well as comedy legend and Boston sports lover Bill Burr.
- Morril hopes to bring Magic Johnson and Larry Bird on together to discuss the historic Celtics-Lakers rivalry. “Those two kinda saved the NBA,” Morril said.
- Imagine Paul Pierce in his beautiful Los Angeles home, hookah in hand, telling us what really happened in The Wheelchair Game. Because according to Edelman, that’s exactly what we have to look forward to when Pierce joins the show.
- Would Julian Edelman have won Super Bowl MVP if he signed with the Giants instead of staying with the Patriots? Discussing the “butterfly effect” of that alternate reality could be a future Twilight Zone episode of “Games With Names.”
- Edelman confesses his most embarrassing lowlights from BillTube. Of course, one of them just so happened to be against the Giants when Edelman fumbled a punt and lost a game back in 2011.
- Julian is “still too scared to ask [Bill Belichick] to do anything,” so it’s unclear if Belichick will one day join the pod.
- Julian believes that Belichick will coach until he’s 75 or 76…or “do it to the day he goes.” Julian and Sam then depict different scenarios of Belichick coaching until his very last moment.
- Sam shares bold predictions for the Giants season and an even bolder description of Saquon’s quads.
- James Dolan apparently banned Julian from MSG for reasons unknown.
- Julian and Sam laud Trae Young for embracing his villainous identity in New York, especially since Sam believes Trae’s lollipop hair meme is all too accurate. “It sucks to lose to a guy with the same haircut from ‘Rick and Morty.’ Like how is he this young and has Rick’s hair?”
- Julian contemplates Sam’s pitch to play one game with Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to lure Tom to do the pod — then retire once more. “That would be such a cowboy way of going out. I just got a little chill.”
Edelman and Morril are casual, but their camaraderie illustrates why the Greatest Games of All Time continue to captivate years later. Those unbelievable moments mean something different to everyone, and for the first time, there is a unique platform to field former opponents as they revisit them together.
And between these opponents, there’s two hilarious guys at the top of their game who know how to bring out the best in people.
“That’s what it is,” Edelman said, speaking to the ethos of their podcast. “We’re creating while we’re sitting and talking on your podcast. This is people loving people, people helping people.”