One of the more fearsome defenders in New England Patriots history is finally being recognized for how much he’s worth. And by no other than the Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee.
During the NFL Honors award show on Saturday evening, the latest inductees into the Pro Football Hall of Fame were officially unveiled. The list of names included some standout offensive players in Tony Gonzalez and Kevin Mawae, along with some of the best defenders of the modern era. Cornerback Champ Bailey and safety Ed Reed were also named to the Hall of Fame, as well as Patriots’ cornerback Ty Law.
Law played a key role in the early dynasty days in New England and is very much among those responsible for the transition of the Patriots from an overlooked team to one of the better franchises in the NFL. He was drafted by the Patriots in 1995 with the 23rd overall pick and later helped win three Super Bowls in the early 2000s.
In fact, he was so dominant during his time in New England that Tom Brady even wrote a letter to the Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee. Here’s what Brady wrote:
“Dear Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee,
I am writing in support of Ty Law in his candidacy for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Ty Law was a pain in the ass … which I know he would acknowledge as the term of endearment it is intended to be.
Early in my career, while Ty was in the prime of his career, I competed against him every day in practice. We were both highly competitive and those daily battles were always combative. I can remember how upset I would get when I would make a mistake in practice and Ty would capitalize on it. Looking back, I realize how lucky I was then to be challenged every day by one of the greatest cornerbacks to ever play the game. It helped me work harder to become successful in this league and ultimately prepared me to become the player I am today.
There have been a lot of great cover corners in the NFL during my career. While Ty would certainly qualify as one of them, what made him unique was his physical style of play. He was a tenacious tackler and one of the game’s greatest bump-and-run defenders.
He always wanted to defend the opponent’s best receiver and typically took them out of the game. He was great at knocking a receiver off his route, baiting quarterbacks into bad reads and capitalizing on ill-fated throws. He finished his Patriots career as the franchise’s all-time leader with 36 interceptions. He always seemed to have his best games on the biggest stage – in the postseason. He played on four Super Bowl teams and helped the Patriots to three championship titles in four years. He was the catalyst to the Patriots’ first Super Bowl victory after intercepting a pass and returning it for an early touchdown in a 20-17 victory. One of his most memorable performances came in the 2003 AFC Championship game, when he continually knocked Marvin Harrison and other Colts receivers off their routes, intercepting future hall of fame quarterback Peyton Manning three times. Following that season, the competition committee redefined illegal contact and cracked down on pass interference penalties, changing the way the game has been played for well over a decade. In that way, Ty Law changed the game of football. Few players can claim that type of impact on the game. As a quarterback, I appreciate that he helped bring about those changes.
When Ty changed teams and went to the Jets in 2005, I was the one baited into an ill-fated throw. Ty intercepted it and returned it for a touchdown. It was one of the last times I ever threw in Ty’s direction, which he reminds me every time I see him.
I appreciate the dedication that the committee puts into its decisions. I wholeheartedly considerTy Law to be among the very best to have ever played the game and worthy of induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
With his induction to the Hall of Fame, Law’s name is written in football history. He will now be viewed as both a Super Bowl Champion, as well as a Hall of Famer.