New England Patriots great Richard Seymour was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Thursday. Ty Law is the only other Patriot from the franchise’s early championship teams to be enshrined in Canton, Ohio.  Julie Jacobson/Associated Press

The long, agonizing wait is over for Richard Seymour. The former New England Patriots great received the famous knock at the door, reserved to inform the newest inductees of their election into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

A four-time finalist, Seymour finally earned the coveted gold jacket as one of the members of the Class of 2022.

To borrow a line from Seymour at his Patriots Hall induction in October: “What took so damn long?”

It’s a valid question. His ride to Canton had a few too many speed bumps along the way.

The Patriots only have one other member from their early dynasty in the Hall, that being Ty Law.

With other NFL dynasties having at least a half-dozen entries already, namely Pittsburgh and San Francisco, it just seems more than a little odd that members from the Patriots early championship teams in particular can’t make the cut.

Advertisement

Perhaps, with Seymour and Law in, the voters will eventually come around on Rodney Harrison, Vince Wilfork, Willie McGinest et al.

Tom Brady, who just retired – we think – won’t be eligible until 2027. Adam Vinatieri comes up in 2024.

Of course, Brady is a slam dunk. There won’t be any need for debate in the room of voters. Everyone else, however, will likely have to sweat it out.

The good news is Seymour, a seven-time Pro Bowler, three-time first-team All-Pro selection and three-time Super Bowl champion, finally earns the honor he so richly deserves.

And on this occasion, it wasn’t former Hall of Fame president David Baker who knocked at the door. With Baker retired, the duties have been handed to current Hall members, who are now taking on the role of informing future classes.

So for Seymour, it was Law who gave him the news at some point prior to the NFL Honors show which was broadcast live Thursday night. Dressed in his gold jacket, Law knocked on Seymour’s door and informed his former Patriots teammate that he had achieved the ultimate. Law later had the honor of announcing Seymour’s election on the actual program.

Advertisement

The moment was sweet, and a long time coming.

Scott Pioli, the Patriots’ director of player personnel when Seymour was drafted with the sixth overall pick in 2001, was over the moon hearing the news.

“I’m so, so happy for him,” said an emotional Pioli when reached by the Boston Herald. “He is more than deserving for so many reasons. He’s a Hall of Fame player and a Hall of Fame person that I love and respect.”

So many theories abound as to why it took four tries as a finalist before Seymour got the nod. His sack numbers (57.5) in 12 seasons don’t necessarily stand out. But anyone watching Seymour, particularly during his time in New England, saw a player who dominated during his run.

Sometimes, it’s not just about the numbers.

“I like and respect data. It’s something I reference in evaluations, and sometimes, numbers don’t tell the story. Numbers don’t always tell the truth,” said Pioli, “and Richard is one of those cases.

Advertisement

“When did numbers become the exclusive standard for a Hall of Fame career?” Pioli went on. “The standard used to be having a great and/or dominant player in their era and things like that. For some reason, we believe the data tells the entire story of a player’s career. As we’re learning, we cannot compare statistics across generations and eras in this game, because rules are changing the numbers.”

Along with Pioli, Seymour had endless support and boosters from former coaches and teammates, pulling for him to get in, hoping the 49-member selection committee would make it happen.

Last year, Brady took to social media to plead Seymour’s case.

“Not only was he a dominant player but a team-first, selfless player who played championship football each & every week. He was a cornerstone of the Patriots dynasty & deserves to be recognized for his contributions,” Brady wrote on Twitter.

Law, meanwhile, has long championed Seymour’s cause, along with other fellow Patriots who haven’t made the cut.

“It’s well overdue, and well-deserved for Richard Seymour,” Law told the Boston Herald after Seymour’s Hall ceremony in Foxborough. “He’s more than deserving to be in not only the Patriots Hall of Fame, but the Pro Football Hall of Fame. I can’t wait for him to join me.”

Advertisement

Bill Belichick also made a pitch during Seymour’s Patriots Hall induction ceremony last year.

“What an honor it was to coach him,” Belichick said. “I just can’t really put into words what it’s like to have a player, a person like Richard Seymour on your team. And we were just so fortunate to be able to have Richard, and to have Richard play the way that Richard played.”

Seymour essentially absorbed double-teams at every turn, which allowed for others to make plays, and the defense to function the way Belichick designed.

The Patriots embodied a team concept, and sacrificing stats for the betterment of the team was an important part of the success formula. It still is.

The hope is that others will get in, now that Seymour and Law have paved a path and opened the door, so to speak.

“Our success as a team, and our style of play, and our narrative about the team, the team, the team, may have unintentionally affected the perception of how good some of our players were,” said Pioli. “It should open the door for others, like Rodney Harrison. He checks all the boxes from numbers, to dominant play, to being a champion multiple times.”

Seymour, who always believed his body of work would eventually get him in, became just the sixth Patriots player gaining entry into Canton. The only other Hall of Famers officially listed with New England are John Hannah, Andre Tippett, Mike Haynes, Nick Buoniconti and Law.

Their championship teams produced several other worthy candidates. Time will tell how many actually get in.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login to participate in the conversation. 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.