Ty Law: "You never die when you're in the Pro Football Hall of Fame"

Ty Law photo courtesy of USA Today
Clark Judge

(EDITORS’S NOTE: To access the Ty Law interview fast-forward to 24:50 of the above attachment)

When Ty Law was a rookie cornerback with New England, he told anyone who’d listen that he had a goal … and that goal was to make it to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

OK, fine. But he hadn’t yet played a game. So the Hall could wait. Making it as NFL starter was the more immediate concern.

Of course, Law did that and became not only a fixture in the New England secondary but a five-time Pro Bowler, four-time All-Pro, three-time Super Bowl champion and an all-decade choice. But that’s not all. Now he’s fulfilled his bucket list -- and a lifelong objective -- by joining the Hall-of-Fame’s Class of 2019, elected last weekend prior to Super Bowl LIII.

“I’m never at a loss for words,” Law confessed on the latest Talk of Fame Network broadcast, “but I’m kind of at a loss for words right now.”

Understandable. It’s been more than years since Ty Law dreamed of winding up in Canton; it’s been decades, with Law first learning the value of the Hall through his uncle, Hall-of-Famer Tony Dorsett. As a young man, Law would visit him and pore over Dorsett’s trophies – admiring, first, his Heisman Trophy before moving on to his Hall-of-Fame cache.

“He said, ‘You’ve got to really be able to raise some hell with that one,’ ” Law recalled of Dorsett’s Hall-of-Fame collection. “He said, ‘You’ve got to be a hell-raiser.’ So I can’t wait to get out there in Canton to let him know how much he inspired me and how much I appreciate him. And then look back at him and say, ‘I guess I raised a little bit of hell, huh?’ “

No. He raised a lot of it.

He had 53 career interceptions, tied with Hall-of-Famer Deion Sanders for 24th on the all-time list, and another six in the playoffs – including a critical pick-six vs. the then-St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI. Included among Law’s interceptions were nine vs. Peyton Manning, provoking Manning to joke that when Law reaches Canton he wants to present him – because he was largely responsible for getting him inducted.

“I’ve been saying this for a long time,” said Law. “The ultimate goal, other than winning championships, was to be immortalized and enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. My kids’ kids … their kids … when I’m not here, I am here. So they can go up there and see their father, their grandfather, their great grandfather.

“You never die when you’re in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. I’m so blessed and so honored to be in there. And to think about all the guys who played the game … and there are only 326 of us in there. I’m number 323 out of all of the thousands and thousands of people who played the game. I’m blessed.”

As part of the Class of 2019, Law is part of history. It’s the first class to include four defensive backs – Champ Bailey, Ed Reed, senior candidate Johnny Robinson and Law – and that’s an achievement in an era when defense seems to have been legislated out of the game and in a Hall where there’s a 60-40 split in favor of offense.

“We talked about that amongst the group,” said Law, “and we feel good that we were the first to put four defensive backs in. Even if that’s done again … at some point … but we say, ‘We’ll put our secondary up against any Hall-of-Fame class; any Hall-of-Fame receivers, running backs, defensive backs. Period. We’re like: Bring it on. (When) we have an Old Timers game, then we’re going to shut it down.

“You think about it from an interception standpoint, we’ve got over 200 combined … 220 … interceptions (among) the four of us. So, that’s a helluva class right there. And we have two safeties and two corners. So how great is that? Imagine if we were all in our primes and playing together. We wouldn’t lose a game.”

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