FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Patriots announced that three former Patriots have been selected as finalists for this year's induction into the team's hall of fame. This year's finalists (listed in alphabetical order) are cornerback Raymond Clayborn, cornerback Ty Law and head coach Bill Parcells. Clayborn and Law are first-time finalists, while Parcells was a finalist in 2011 and 2012. For Law, 2014 is the first year he was eligible to be nominated.
Starting today, Patriots fans are encouraged to vote for the former Patriot most deserving of hall of fame enshrinement. Fans can vote on www.patriots.com for the next month. Voting will end on May 15, 2014 and the Patriots will announce the 2014 Patriots Hall of Fame selection in early June.
This year's selection will become the 22nd person to be enshrined into the Patriots Hall of Fame. The Patriots Hall of Fame induction ceremony is held on the plaza just outside The Hall at Patriot Place presented by Raytheon. The outdoor ceremony is free and open to the public. Patriots fans of all ages are welcome and encouraged to attend. The date and time of this year's event will be announced at a later date.
Beginning in 2007, the Patriots started a new hall of fame tradition, inducting one player or head coach to The Hall each year. The process for induction now involves a panel of media, alumni and staff, who collectively nominate the players or head coaches most deserving of induction. After the nominations are made, the committee votes and the top three tallies become that year's finalists. The Patriots then give their fans the opportunity to vote online to select each year's winner.
Earlier this month, a 20-person nomination committee met to discuss this year's candidates for induction. Now it is up to the fans to select this year's honoree.
This year's finalists are listed below:
Raymond Clayborn** was a three-time Pro Bowl (1983, 1985, 1986) player for the Patriots from 1977 through 1989. He joined the Patriots as a first round pick (16th overall) out of Texas in 1977 and quickly established himself as a top-notch defensive back as well as a superb kickoff returner. He finished his career with a franchise-leading 36 interceptions (tied with Ty Law) for 555 yards for a 15.4 yard per interception average. His 555 interception return yards are second in franchise history to Ty Law's 583 return yards. Clayborn also returned 57 kickoffs for 1,538 yards and three touchdowns. As a rookie in 1977, Clayborn returned 28 kickoffs for 869 yards and led the NFL with a 31.0-yard return average and returned three kicks for touchdowns, both of which remain franchise records. He is one of just 16 NFL players since the 1970 merger to finish a season with a 30.0-yard average on kickoff returns (min. 20 returns) and is the only Patriots player to accomplish the feat. Clayborn played a vital role in bringing the Patriots to respectability in the late 1970s and early 1980s. During his 13 seasons with the Patriots, he helped the Patriots to 10 winning seasons, including four postseason berths. Clayborn intercepted Hall of Famer Dan Marino and recorded six passes defensed to help end an 18-game losing streak to the Miami Dolphins in the Orange Bowl in a 31-14 AFC Championship victory that lifted the Patriots to their first Super Bowl. Clayborn was a member of the Patriots 1970s and 1980s all-decade teams.
Ty Law spent 10 seasons with the Patriots (1995-2004) after joining the team as a first round (23rd overall) draft pick out of Michigan in 1995. Law was a three-time Super Bowl Champion (XXXVI, XXXVIII, XXXIX), a four-time Pro Bowl player (1998, 2001, 2002, 2003) and a two-time All-Pro (1998, 2003) during his tenure with the Patriots. Law tied Raymond Clayborn's career franchise-record with 36 interceptions and finished with the most interception-return yards in team history with 583. His six interceptions returned for touchdowns are also a franchise best. Law had nine interceptions in 1998 to become the first Patriots player to lead the NFL in that category. He was a playmaker who played some of his best games in the postseason. He helped lead the Patriots to their first Super Bowl title in 2001 when he intercepted a Kurt Warner pass against the Rams and returned it 47 yards for a touchdown for the first points of the game. In the 2003 AFC Championship Game, Law intercepted three Peyton Manning passes while leading the Patriots to a 24-14 victory over the Indianapolis Colts. Law was part of a record-breaking Patriots defense in 2003 that led the NFL in five key categories: opponents points per game (14.9), interceptions (29), fewest touchdown receptions allowed (11), opponent's passer rating (56.2) and pass deflections (121) as the team captured its second Super Bowl title in a win over the Carolina Panthers. Law is a member of the NFL's all-decade team for the 2000s as well as the Patriots' all-1990s and all-2000s decade teams. He was also selected to the Patriots' 50th Anniversary Team.
Bill Parcells** was the head coach of the New England Patriots for four seasons (1993-96) and led the team to the playoffs twice. After inheriting a team that had finished 14-50 in the previous four years, including an NFL worst 2-14 season in 1992, he brought the clout of a two-time Super Bowl Champion to the Patriots sidelines, infusing instant credibility in 1993. In 1994, a season-ending seven-game win streak allowed the Patriots to clinch their first playoff berth in eight years. The performance earned Parcells NFL Coach of the Year honors. After finishing 6-10 in 1995, the Patriots rebounded with an 11-win season in 1996, tying the then franchise record for wins and earning their first division title in 10 years. After a convincing victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers (28-3) in the divisional playoff game in foggy Foxborough, the Patriots hosted their first AFC Championship game and defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars, 20-6, to earn a trip to the Super Bowl for just the second time in franchise history. This is the third time that the Patriots Hall of Fame Nomination Committee has nominated Bill Parcells for Patriots Hall of Fame induction (2011, 2012 and 2014). On Feb. 2, 2013, Parcells was voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Parcells is the only coach in NFL history ever to lead four different teams to the playoffs and three different teams to a conference championship game. He is a member of the Patriots all-1990s team.
About the Patriots Hall of Fame
The Patriots Hall of Fame was officially formed in 1991 after John Hannah became the first Patriots player to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. With the hall of fame, the Patriots created a new way of honoring their greatest players. It wasn't until 2008, with the opening of The Hall at Patriot Place presented by Raytheon, that Patriots players, past and present, truly had a place to call home that they could share with their fans. Now, enshrinement into The Hall is an honor befitting of the franchise's greatest players, with 30-foot video pylons displaying each enshrinee. Beginning in 2007, fans became part of the hall of fame tradition and active participants in the selection process.
This year's inductee will join 19 other Patriot greats and two contributors as a member of the New England Patriots' Hall of Fame (listed in alphabetical order below with year of induction):
Bruce Armstrong (2001)
Drew Bledsoe (2011)
Troy Brown (2012)
Tedy Bruschi (2013)
Nick Buoniconti (1992)
Gino Cappelletti (1992)
Ben Coates (2008)
Sam Cunningham (2010)
Bob Dee (1993)
Steve Grogan (1995)
John Hannah (1991)
Mike Haynes (1994)
Jim Lee Hunt (1993)
Stanley Morgan (2007)
Jon Morris (2011)
Jim Nance (2009)
Steve Nelson (1993)
Vito "Babe" Parilli (1993)
Andre Tippett (1999)
William H. "Billy" Sullivan, Jr. (2009)
Gil Santos (2013)
About The Hall at Patriot Place presented by Raytheon
The Hall at Patriot Place presented by Raytheon is the crown jewel of Patriot Place and the only sports and education experience of its kind. Through a dazzling array of interactive multimedia exhibits and artifacts never before viewable by the public, The Hall at Patriot Place presented by Raytheon showcases the tradition of the New England Patriots, explores the history of football in New England, and promotes math and science education for the thousands of schoolchildren expected to visit each year. For more information, please visit www.thehallatpatriotplace.com.