The New England Patriots’ Hall of Fame induction ceremony will look different this year. Not only has it been moved to October due to the Coronavirus, it also will see the first woman join the club of franchise legends: former cheerleading director Tracy Sormanti will be inducted today alongside defensive lineman Richard Seymour.
After already beating out fellow finalists Mike Vrabel and Bill Parcells in a fan vote last year, Richard Seymour will now finally take his rightful place among the Patriots’ franchise legends.
The franchise’s first-round selection in 2001, Seymour spent the first eight seasons of his 12-year career in New England and appeared in 126 games for the franchise before getting traded to the then-Oakland Raiders in 2009. The defensive tackle played a key role in New England’s first three Super Bowl-winning runs, was voted to five Pro Bowls while with the team and named to the NFL’s Team of the 2000s.
Seymour also is a member of both the Patriots’ team of the 2000s and the franchise’s 50th anniversary team, and was an unsuccessful finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame each of the last three years. While he has to keep on waiting for his gold jacket, he will now receive the red one associated with the Patriots organization.
The Patriots’ longtime cheerleading director was in her 32nd season with the team when she passed away last December, and will now become the third person selected by the Kraft Family to be enshrined as a contributor. Sormanti will join Patriots founder Billy Sullivan and former radio voice Gil Santos, who were inducted in 2009 and 2013, respectively.
A Rhode Island native, Sormanti first joined the organization as a cheerleader in 1983. In 1994, shortly after Kraft bought the team, she was named as the new cheerleading director. Over the next 27 years, Sormanti and her teams performed at 10 of the franchise’s 11 Super Bowls, and made thousands of appearances in the community and at military events around the world.
Following a three-year battle with Multiple Myeloma, she passed away last December at the age of 58.