The New England Patriots are clearly the most successful team of the NFL’s salary cap era, and as such produced numerous superstar players over the years. Some of them are now up for potential Pro Football Hall of Fame nomination, as was announced yesterday: of the 102 men to enter the first round of the selection process, 13 have once been on the Patriots’ payroll:
RB Corey Dillon
RB Fred Taylor
WR Chad Johnson
WR Torry Holt (preseason only)
DE Richard Seymour
LB Tedy Bruschi
LB Willie McGinest
LB Marty Schottenheimer (as coach)
CB Ty Law
SS Rodney Harrison
SS John Lynch (preseason only)
SS Adrian Wilson (preseason only)
P Jeff Feagles
While most of the 13 men would not get inducted into the Hall of Fame because of their contributions to the Patriots, up to six of them would – four of which were drafted by New England and spent the majority of their careers in town.
Richard Seymour, Tedy Bruschi, Willie McGinest and Ty Law were cornerstones of the Patriots’ early 2000s dynasty and were integral in helping the franchise earn its first three Super Bowl wins. Corey Dillon and Rodney Harrison, meanwhile, joined New England relatively late during their respective careers. Nevertheless, both also found plenty of success with the team and at least for some time flourished in their new environment.
Despite the success all six men enjoyed during their time with the Patriots, their chances of entering the Hall of Fame next year should not be overestimated. Law appears to be the most realistic candidate to earn a gold jacket: he is a two-time finalist and has all the necessary credentials to finally get in. Like the other ex-Patriots, however, he too might get lost among the wave of first-year candidates to come up this year with Tony Gonzalez, Ed Reed, and Champ Bailey the most prominent names.