The New England Patriots are the only NFL dynasty of the 21st century. Despite the team’s run of excellence going back almost two decades, however, it produced only one member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame so far: wide receiver Randy Moss, who spent not even four years of his legendary career with the Patriots and was not on one of the team’s five championship squads.
Moss will be joined in the NFL’s most sacred halls by head coach Bill Belichick, quarterback Tom Brady, owner Robert Kraft, and tight end Rob Gronkowski one day — and maybe by one or two more players before that. The first to try are franchise greats Ty Law and Richard Seymour. Both were key members of New England’s first three Super Bowl-winning teams and among the greatest players of their generation.
And both have made it to the next round of Hall of Fame voting: Law and Seymour are two of 25 players announced as semifinalists earlier today:
Like last year, Law and Seymour have made it past the first round — and like last year the two will face a tough battle to become finalists and one step later make it into the Hall of Fame. It is not for a lack of accomplishments, however: besides winning three Super Bowls each, Law and Seymour also have both made multiple Pro Bowls and All-Pro teams over the course of their careers.
That being said, the competition — again including short-time Patriots offseason members Torry Holt and John Lynch — will make it hard for both to advance further. Law, arguably the best man-cover cornerback of the late 1990s and early 2000s appears to have a better chance than Seymour: while both were great players, a defensive tackle’s contribution to the game is often undervalued when compared to that of a cornerback like Law.
Ultimately, it would therefore be a slight surprise if Richard Seymour made it past this round. And considering how the past few years went, the same might also have to be said about four-time semifinalist Ty Law despite him being a worthy candidate for enshrinement.