The night before the New England Patriots won their sixth Super Bowl, former Patriot All-Pro cornerback Ty Law was announced as a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s 2019 class.
Much can be said about the former lockdown defensive back—his physicality instituted stricter penalties regarding contact within five yards and defines the mentality that cornerbacks take to the line of scrimmage every game to this day.
he was a member of a historic Patriots’ defense with along with players such as Richard Seymour, Tedy Bruschi, and Mike Vrabel. Plus, he was an integral part of the Patriots early 2000’s dynasty. After a long career spanning 15 years, Law has earned his spot in football immortality.
Law was selected in the first round of the 1995 NFL Draft by former Patriots’ head coach Bill Parcells, contributing to the team immediately; in his rookie season, Law played in 14 games, recording three interceptions. After he earned a starting role his rookie year, he would retain it throughout the rest of his career in New England.
The talented cornerback played for three head coaches during his time in Foxboro—Parcells, Pete Carroll, and Bill Belichick. Law saw success under all three coaches, earning a starting job with Parcells and his first All-Pro award in 1998 under Carroll. However, Belichick would be the mind to develop the prototype into an elite member of a well-known defensive unit.
Belichick, who is a defensive minded coach, is a proponent of man coverage defense. Throughout his tenure in New England, he has always tried to include a solid lockdown cornerback on his defense—Asante Samuel, Aqib Talib, Darrelle Revis, Malcolm Butler, and Stephon Gilmore to name a few
Ty Law was the first Patriot to set that hallowed positional lineage. The mastermind coach utilized Law to the best of his abilities and created a suffocating secondary that helped New England earn three Super Bowls in a four-year span.
Not only was Law as reliable as they come, but he was also clutch when it mattered. In the Pats’ first trip to the Super Bowl under Belichick in 2001 (Law’s second Super Bowl), New England was a heavy underdog against “The Greatest Show on Turf,” the St. Louis Rams.
In the second quarter of that game, Law picked off a Kurt Warner pass, returning it 47 yards for a touchdown, putting New England up 7-3. The Patriots would go on to win that game 20-17, giving them their first Super Bowl victory in franchise history.
Law’s best game, an all-time amazing defensive performance, came against the Indianapolis Colts in the 2003 AFC Championship Game. In that game, Law picked off Peyton Manning three times, making incredibly clutch plays when the Patriots needed it. New England’s defense also dominated the game, picking off Peyton Manning four total times and recovering a fumble.
Law picked off a pass in three separate quarters, including a 4th quarter interception on New England’s 11-yard line. The Patriots would go on to win 24-14 against the Colts as they advanced to the Super Bowl, defeating the Carolina Panthers for their second title in three years.
Even though Law claims he will always be a Patriot, he did make contributions on multiple other teams in the NFL. After he was cut from New England following the team’s 2004 Super Bowl victory over the Eagles, he signed with the division rival New York Jets.
In his first year away from New England, Law proved he was still as dominant as ever, recording a career-high 10 interceptions as he earned another Pro Bowl nod. Law suited up for the Chiefs as well and then finished his career in a Broncos jersey.
After the announcement became official that Law was to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, Peyton Manning requested to introduce the shutdown cornerback, comically stating that he was the reason for Law’s success. Manning was not lying about that fact, as Law picked him off nine times throughout his career.
Since his retirement in 2009, Law has been a prominent part of the Patriots franchise. He frequently appears as a guest captain for games and was inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame in 2014.
As one of the original members of the Patriots’ team that won their first Super Bowl, Law has cemented himself in New England sports lore. He will always be remembered by Patriots fans as a fierce competitor and by quarterbacks as a target to avoid. The All-Pro and fan favorite deserves to be congratulated on an amazing career.