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Major League Baseball All-Star Idiocy, Ty Law, and More by Doug Cutler Jr

By Patriots Blog Writer Doug Cutler Jr.
7/16/09

First, a quick word about the MLB all-star game

All-star contests (whether in-season or not) historically don’t have any actual bearing or influence on official statistics or standings. Unfortunately, Major League Baseball hasn’t gotten that memo. In an effort to revive interest in the mid-summer exhibition game, MLB tied the results of the game to home-field advantage in the World Series. In layman’s terms, they essentially married the sport’s least important game (by far) to its most important (by far).

Dear heavens what a stupid, amateur maneuver.


“The best I ever saw” (part seven of a series)

This week’s choice of the best at his position took some time to be settled upon, but at the end of the day Ty Law is indeed the best cornerback I ever saw in a New England Patriots uniform. There were other corners that had good years or were occasionally brilliant, but none were consistently superior, especially in the post season, as Law.

Selected in the first round of the 1995 NFL draft, Law was an integral piece of the defensive puzzle that head coach Bill Parcells assembled during his four years in New England. This defensive core, consisting of Willie McGinest, Law, Ted Johnson, Lawyer Milloy, and Tedy Bruschi, was a significant catalyst in the birth of the Patriots dynasty. All five of these players were elemental components of at least two Super Bowl teams, and some were key contributors in four. Bruschi is one of handful of players in NFL history with five Super Bowl appearances.

Inevitably, players of this caliber generate talk about hall of fame credentials and one of the biggest indicators of hall worthiness is if a player was considered to be among the top three at his position during his era. He easily meets this criterion. There is no question that Law, whose career is clearly in its twilight, was a singular player at his position, a dominant player that separated himself from most of the rest of his peers.

The one player who had the most similar career to Law’s is Troy Vincent. Vincent was an exceptional five-time Pro-Bowler for the Miami Dolphins and Philadelphia Eagles from 1992 to 2003, but even he didn’t put up the numbers that Law produced. For instance, from ’95 to ’05, Vincent had 39 interceptions (although only 34 technically count, as he had five from the safety position late in his career) while Law had 46. Law also distances himself from the pack with truly spectacular performances in the post season, most notably his three interceptions against Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts in the 2003 AFC Championship game.

The most memorable play I’ve seen from Law comes from Super Bowl XXXVI against the heavily favored St. Louis Rams. We all remember the play in question, when Rams’ QB Kurt Warner was forced into an errant throw by a blitzing Mike Vrabel. Law, as he was known to do, adjusted to beat the receiver to the bad pass and ran the interception back for a score, raising his hand in triumph for most of the way. It was a scintillating play that turned a three point deficit into a four point lead and aided in the effort to bring the first Super Bowl Championship to New England.


Interesting statistic I’ll bet you didn’t know

In 1998, the Patriots made the playoffs with a 9-7 record. However, in 2008, the Patriots did not qualify for the playoffs with a record of 11-5.


Answer to last week’s question:

Since 1980, only one player has led the Patriots in rushing at least four times. That player is Tony Collins (’81, ’82, ’83, ’87). Five other players have led the team in rushing at least three times in that span.

Question of the week:

How many times did Doug Flutie lead an NFL team in passing?

(Answer will be provided next week)

4 comments:

  1. Although I don't agree that the All Star game should determine home field, it should be the team with the best record, I do feel that the game is played at a higher level. The managers do feel as though they owe it to their league to win and I think that they manage it different than years past. Managers always tried to get everyone in to bat or pitch, even if it was one batter. I also noticed that many of the players continue to stay in the dugout for the entire game instead of getting an early jump on the post game festivities.

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  2. Ty Law was one of the best corners I've ever seen put on any NFL uniform period! Parcells really knows how to draft, all he wanted was to buy the groceries...:)

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  3. The team with the best record should determine HFA in the WS.

    I didn't watch this year's game...for the first time in over 40 years--or the NBA's or Pro-Bowl.

    It means nothing to me now.

    I'm just hanging out for the fall when the real sport starts...and counting the days.

    :>)

    G

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  4. I understand what you mean about the All-Star game, but I don't necessarily think it's a bad thing. It gives the players a bit of incentive to play just a bit harder, not to the point of hurting themselves (does anyone play that hard anymore? I think not.) but to the point where the people paying the exorborant price of the ticket will at least get some of thier moneys worth from the prima donnas on the field.

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