In 2005, after the New England Patriots won their third Super Bowl in four years, I looked to see which members of the team had a shot to one day be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. At the time, there were a handful of locks; quarterback Tom Brady, head coach Bill Belichick, and kicker Adam Vinatieri. Last week, cornerback Ty Law was a finalist for the Hall, but was not selected. It appears Law will be chosen sooner rather than later, however. I think former linebacker Willie McGinest also will receive the call from Canton someday.

Now, with two Super Bowl wins in three years, and six consecutive appearances in the AFC championship game, it’s time to take another look at the Hall of Fame possibilities for some current Patriots.

• Tom Brady. Yes. End of discussion.

• Bill Belichick. Yes. End of discussion.

The only discussion around Belichick’s historical significance to the NFL should revolve around what the league could name after him. We’ve heard talk from some — most notably Hall of Fame wide receiver Michael Irvin — that the Lombardi Trophy should be renamed to at least include Belichick’s name. I don’t think that should happen. Lombardi’s legacy should stand on its own, and as the winning coach in the first two Super Bowls, the game’s greatest trophy should bear his name.

The NFL should honor Belichick in some way, though. The Bill Belichick Coach of the Year, perhaps?

• Rob Gronkowski. I think Gronk has already earned Hall of Fame status. I didn’t think so before the start of the season, but then Terrell Davis was selected for the Hall of Fame.

Davis played seven season with the Denver Broncos and was a key member of a pair of Super Bowl champions. In three of his first four seasons, Davis ran for at least 1,500 yards, including a stunning 2,008 yards and 21 touchdowns in 1998. Davis played in just 17 games over the final three season of his career combined. Injuries shortened Davis’ career, but when he was healthy, he was dominant, and after a few years on the ballot, the Hall voters recognized that brief apex with an invitation to Canton.

Does any of this sound familiar? Davis is the Gronk of running backs.

Gronkowski just completed his seventh season. Even though Gronk has played a full 16 games just once, he already has 68 touchdown catches (69 total touchdowns when you include a rushing TD in 2011. Only two tight ends, Tony Gonzalez and Antoni Gates, have more career touchdowns than Gronk. He’s already been a member of two Super Bowl winning teams (I know he didn’t play against Atlanta in Super Bowl LI, but he still caught 25 passes for 540 yards in the regular season before his injury. Gronk contributed). Gronk’s career already is as long as Davis’. Gronk is a Hall of Famer.

• Devin McCourty. Right now, McCourty is one of the best safeties in the game, but not one of the best all-time. He’s been named to the Associated Press all-pro team three times, once at cornerback when he had seven interceptions as rookie in 2010. His 19 career interceptions is solid. McCourty is a strong, professional defensive back and a team leader. He’ll need a few more years of excellent play to be considered one of the game’s immortals.

• Malcolm Butler. If making the biggest defensive play in Super Bowl history was enough, Butler would already have posed for his Hall of Fame bust. He’s only played three seasons, however, two as a starter. Right now, Butler is one of the best corners in the game, but the sample size is much too small to consider him a Hall of Famer. Check back in five years.

• Julian Edelman. Since 2013, Edelman has been one of the most consistent wide receivers in the game. He’s gone over 900 yards receiving in three of the last four seasons, only missing the mark in 2015, when he suffered a broken foot and played nine games. Consistency is just one factor in making a player an all-timer, however. If Edelman puts up strong numbers for a few more seasons, he’ll be in the Canton discussion, but we’ve seen how high the bar is for receivers in getting in the Hall. Many great receivers had to wait years before earning enshrinement, players like Art Monk, Cris Carter, and Andre Reed. Edelman isn’t even in their class yet. Terrell Owens still waits.

• Chris Long. His first season in New England was solid. It’s what you’d expect from a veteran like Long. His first eight season in St. Louis were a mix of excellence and injury. Long had 13 sacks in 2011 and 11.5 in 2012. He’ll go down as a very good pro. It’s doubtful he’ll join his father, Howie Long, in the Hall of Fame. Chris Long will likely have to settle for comparing Super Bowl rings with his old man, and there’s nothing wrong with that

• Robert Kraft. Since buying the team in the mid-1990s, Kraft has seen the Patriots reach eight Super Bowls. Kraft has become one of the most influential and powerful owners in the NFL. He belongs in the contributor’s category, along with Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who was chosen for the Hall last week.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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