Former Patriots cornerback Ty Law (1995-2004) will be inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame during a public ceremony in the NRG Plaza on Friday, August 1 at 4:30pm. Check out the best photos from his career.
On Super Bowl Eve, the Pro Football Hall of Fame announced another round of inductees. In August, Eddie DeBartolo Jr., Kevin Greene, Tony Dungy, Brett Favre, Orlando Pace, Ken Stabler, Dick Stanfel and Marvin Harrison will have their busts placed among the game's all-time greats at pro football's shrine in Canton, Ohio -- a short 647 miles from Foxborough.
It is Foxborough, though, where one player not on the above list earned the right to be. Former Patriots cornerback Ty Law owns a sharp red Patriots Hall of Fame jacket, but while he has twice reached the final 24 for Pro Football Hall of Fame induction, he has yet to make the final 15 or reach the pinnacle.
Aeneas Williams, who was enshrined in 2014, became the 16th cornerback inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Those 16 corners averaged 54.5 career interceptions for 846.5 career yards and 4.9 career interceptions for touchdowns. Here is the alphabetical list:
|**Ty Law**||**53 (T 10th)**||**828 (7th)**||**7 (T 4th)**|
It should be noted that players like Woodson, Williams and even Sanders played safety at the end of their careers where interceptions might come easier given that the play is typically in front of the defender. Woodson, as an example, played his last five seasons at safety and tallied 24 interceptions from that spot. Williams played safety his last two seasons and notched four interceptions while Sanders played some nickel corner and safety in his last couple of seasons with the Ravens during which time he grabbed his last five interceptions. Even surefire Hall of Famer Charles Woodson, who just retired with 65 career interceptions, played his last four seasons at safety and nabbed 11 interceptions from that spot.
Law played all of his 15 seasons at cornerback and twice led the league in interceptions with nine in 1998 and 10 in 2005. He was a five-time Pro Bowler and two-time first-team All-Pro. He was, without a doubt, one of the most fearless, confident, physical, shutdown cornerbacks of his generation. He played the position like few have or do today. He wanted the challenge of covering the opponent's best receiver every week.
When legend Andre Tippett was waiting and waiting for his name to be called to Canton despite his dominant career playing strong side linebacker, there were whispers that he was hurt by his team's lack of success during his career. So if failing to win hurts a candidate - Tippett was eventually enshrined - winning should help the cause. Law and his Patriots won often.
Of the 16 cornerbacks currently in Canton, only two won as many or more championships as Law, who won three with the Patriots in 2001, 2003 and 2004. Law also starred for the 1996 AFC Championship Patriots team that lost to Favre and the Packers in Super Bowl XXXI and led a defense that helped win an NFL record 21 consecutive games over the 2003-2004 seasons - a streak that ended in a game in which Law suffered an injury. Mel Blount won four Super Bowls in the 1970s as part of the Pittsburgh Steelers dominant Steel Curtain defense. Herb Adderly won three Super Bowls with the Packers and Cowboys and won three other NFL titles with the Packers in the pre-Super Bowl days. That's it.
So let's take a closer look at Law.
He played in 141 games with the Patriots, 32 with the Chiefs, 23 with the Jets and seven with the Broncos for a total of 203 regular season games.
His 53 interceptions in those 203 games put him amongst the game's elite and in the mix with Pro Football Hall of Fame corners. Seven of those interceptions were returned for touchdowns - again a number that stacks up well with the game's all-time best. A closer look at those seven makes them even more impressive. Three of them came against surefire, first-ballot Hall of Famers - Peyton Manning, and yes, our own Tom Brady, and a fourth against a man already enshrined in Canton - Miami's Dan Marino.
Here is a brief look at his seven interceptions returned for touchdowns:
|**YEAR**||**OPPONENT**||**QB**||**YARDS**||**QTR**||**SCORE AFTER INT.**|
Law's numbers are Hall-of-Fame worthy on their own, but he also seemed to play his best when the stakes were highest.
In addition to his 53 regular season interceptions, he has six in the postseason for 59 overall. Of that total, 25 came from December on when the games are most important and seasons are on the line. Five of his six postseason interceptions came off Manning's golden right arm. Law had one of the greatest postseason games in franchise, and perhaps, NFL history when he intercepted Manning three times in the 2003 AFC Championship Game - a 24-14 Patriots win. He added two more vs. Manning in a 2006 Kansas City Chiefs, 23-8, playoff loss to the Colts.
But his biggest postseason interception came on the biggest stage of all and helped the Patriots to their first Super Bowl Championship. With 8:58 left in the second quarter and the Patriots trailing the St. Louis Rams, 3-0, in Super Bowl XXXVI, Law stepped up and intercepted a Kurt Warner pass intended for Isaac Bruce and returned it 47 yards for a touchdown and a 7-3 Patriots lead on the way to a narrow, 20-17, Patriots win.
That was the first of three championships Law and the Patriots won in a four-year span. So Law's resume stacks up for sure. Not only does he have Hall-of-Fame numbers, but he was a shutdown corner who thrived on facing the opponent's best receiver and was willing to line up all over the field - a rare trait when many top corners stick to one side of the field because of the differences in the footwork. Not Law. He covered Harrison (HOF), Michael Irvin (HOF), Keyshawn Johnson, Bruce and every team's No. 1 wideout whether on the right, left or in the slot. He was a corner that quarterbacks feared and he was a playmaker.
So it's time for him to take the next coveted step into Canton at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. His red Patriots Hall of Fame jacket is nice to be sure, but he has earned the right to hang a gold one beside it. Hopefully, when the 2017 class is selected, the voters will agree.