Ty Law entered the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday night, the sixth former Patriot to be enshrined in Canton, joining John Hannah, Mike Haynes, Andre Tippett, Junior Seau and Curtis Martin.
Law is the first foundational piece of the Patriots dynasty to take his place amongst the legends of the game, something he embraced in his speech with a packed house of Patriots past and present at the ceremony, including former teammates Rodney Harrison, Willie McGinest, Richard Seymour and Deion Branch, current team members Devin McCourty and Stephon Gilmore, as well as Patriots President Jonathan Kraft.
Presented with a career-spanning highlight film narrated by two childhood friends, Byron Washington and Craig Jones of Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, Law took the stage in bedazzled custom sneakers featuring the Flying Elvis and unveiled his bust that will reside in Canton.
He thanked everyone who supported him along the way, opening his speech saying "this isn't about me, this is about us, this is about we," and welcoming each person he thanked along with him into the Hall of Fame, while preaching the value of believing in yourself.
"Believe in who you are, believe in yourself," Law told the crowd. "You have people who cheer you on along the way, but none of that matters if you don't believe in yourself."
Law's hometown of Aliquippa was well-represented at the ceremony, as he thanked his family and friends before recounting his football journey to Michigan and then New England.
Recalling the 1995 draft and his selection by the Patriots, Law shrugged "we wasn't reigning a damn thing back then," and he thanked Patriots fans for their support from the very start when the team wasn't winning.
An emotional point came when Law thanked his uncle, Tony Dorsett, remembering how he would stare at his uncle's Heisman Trophy and Canton bust. It was Dorsett who focused Law on writing his own football story and the family members shared a moment as Law acknowledged they were now teammates in the Hall of Fame.
Law thanked his early Patriots coaches Bill Parcells and Pete Carroll before turning his attention to Bill Belichick, who was in attendance at the ceremony.
"Thank you for showing me how to be a true professional, to prepare for games," Law told Belichick. "It's no mistake or coincidence that you are the greatest coach that this game has ever seen."
Law then asked all of his Patriots teammates in attendance to stand up, taking note that he was just the first of many more Patriots who would be entering the Hall of Fame, and how they were part of the group that started it all.
"It's about time. I'm not standing here alone. I'm on this stage not because of statistical reasons. I'm here because I was a part of something special. We created a culture, a brotherhood, an unselfishness that we displayed as we won three Super Bowl titles. Let's keep it real. We started this! They even gave what we created a name - The Patriot Way. We know where it started fellas. Together, we are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame."
Law thanked Robert Kraft, sharing a personal time that Mr. Kraft still took time to present the cornerback at an event despite his wife Myra's illness. He called Patriots President Jonathan Kraft "the glue" who was "in the trenches" and that the legacy of the Patriots greats was in his good hands.
After thanking his kids and family, Law finished with the main theme from his speech.
"I encourage you all to start with a small but great practice of believing in yourself. You can't wait for somebody else to validate your purpose. You have to believe in yourself. You can't wait for somebody else to tell you that you're great. You have to believe it yourself. You can't wait for society to tell you you're beautiful or that you're a good person. You have to believe that for yourself. I thank each and every one you of you for believing in me and my dreams. Because of you my legacy lives on. Thank you for this incredible honor. God bless you."
A first-round pick (23rd overall) in 1995, Law played 10 years in New England, finishing with three Super Bowl rings and four AFC Championships while with the Patriots. A two-time All Pro (1998, 2003) and five-time Pro Bowler, the cornerback played a total of 15 seasons, tallying 53 career interceptions, none more memorable than his 47-yard pick six in Super Bowl 36. His three interceptions of Peyton Manning in the 2003 AFC Championship was his signature Patriots moment.