Last Saturday, former New England Patriot cornerback Ty Law was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. On Sunday, the Patriots beat the Los Angeles Rams, 13-3, to win their sixth Super Bowl and third in five seasons.

Just another early February weekend for Patriots fans.

The election of Law to the Hall comes after back-to-back years of almost but not quite for the brash corner. Each year, the Hall announces 15 finalists for induction. Five will get in, but all 15 are asked to attend the Super Bowl. The Saturday before the game, the voters meet to elect the year’s Hall of Fame class. Candidates are asked to wait patiently in their room for a knock on the door that may or may not happen.

After two knockless years, Law finally got the room service visit for which he’s hoped for years. His former teammate, defensive lineman Richard Seymour, did not. This time.

Speaking on his show on SiriusXM’s NFL radio, Hall of Fame voter John Clayton said 90 percent of the players who make it to the round of 15 eventually get enshrined in Canton. So there’s an extremely good chance Seymour will become immortalized in Canton, Ohio sooner rather than later. Seymour doesn’t have eye-popping sacks numbers, but he was never asked to be a pass rusher. Seymour was asked to take on blockers and control the point of attack on the line. In his era, Seymour did that better than anybody. His play, combined with the three Super Bowl rings he can wear, will get Seymour into the Hall.

The thing about the Pro Football Hall of Fame that makes it slightly different than other sports Halls is that the entrance exam leans heavily toward postseason success. What a player did in the regular season is most important, obviously, but performing in the playoffs and winning belts is the extra credit a few marginal candidates have needed to become enshrined. Winning with flair helps, too. The Pro Football Hall of Fame rewards those who contributed more than stats to the game’s history.


Put it this way: If Joe Namath had been humble 50 years ago, he would not have a bust in Canton today. On numbers alone, his career fell short of the mark.

Law is the first of what could be an influx of dynasty-era Patriots to get the Hall of Fame nod. For the sake of this argument, let’s assume Seymour gets the knock on his hotel room door sometime in the next few years. What other Patriots will join them in Canton.

Bill Belichick, Bob Kraft and Tom Brady? Yes. Don’t be silly. Any attempt to argue otherwise marks you as ignorant and petty.

Rob Gronkowski? Of course. Even if Gronk announces his retirement in the coming weeks, he will go down as the most dominant player at his position of his era, if not all-time. The Hall has shown excellence over a shorter time frame is not an obstacle to enshrinement (see Gale Sayers and Terrell Davis).

It’s doubtful Gronkowski will have the longevity of some of his top peers. It won’t matter. At his best, Gronk was better than Tony Gonzalez — who joins Law in the Class of 2019 — and Antonio Gates, this era’s other top tight end.

Adam Vinatieri? The man who made the toughest field goal in NFL history, the 45-yarder into the wind and snow to tie the Oakland Raiders in the Snow Bowl, could be the rarest of Hall of Famers: The kicker who gets in on the first ballot. Vinatieri is 46 and still kicking for the Indianapolis Colts, so it could be a while, but he’ll get in.


Julian Edelman? His Hall of Fame bona fides have been a hot topic of discussion lately. Season after season, Edelman doesn’t put up gaudy numbers in the regular season, but come playoff time, he shines in the biggest moments.

Edelman’s career has been favorably compared to the career of Hall of Fame wide receiver Lynn Swann. A member of the Pittsburgh Steelers dynasty of the 1970s, Swann retired after the 1982 season. He wasn’t elected to the Hall of Fame until 2001. Edelman’s career stats (so far) compare favorable to Swann’s. Edelman plays in an era in which more emphasis is placed on the passing game, though, and Swann played with a Hall of Fame running back, Franco Harris. None of the running backs in New England’s recent offense are close to Harris’ caliber.

That said, only Jerry Rice has more playoff catches than Edelman, who now has three rings. Edelman’s catch between three Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI, snagging the ball just before it hits the turf, is arguably the greatest catch in Super Bowl history.

Edelman has a few more seasons to add to his resumé. Right now, he’s a fringe Hall candidate at best. Let’s check back when he’s done.

Vince Wilfork? Like Seymour, Wilfork’s stats don’t overwhelm you. Like Seymour, Wilfork wasn’t asked to put up big numbers. Nobody clogged up the middle of the line and made a mess of things as well as Wilfork did in his decade. Two Super Bowl wins doesn’t hurt his chances, either. Expect Wilfork to get in, and we can watch his interception return against the Chargers on a continuous loop forever.

For now, enjoy another Patriots title, and look forward to Law’s induction speech this summer. Some receivers have asked their quarterback to throw them one more pass on the Canton stage, or quarterbacks have tossed one more throw to their favorite wideout. Maybe Law can get Peyton Manning to throw him one more pick.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: