Every year a 20-person nomination committee convenes in early April to select three finalists for the New England Patriots Hall of Fame. This year the committee has chosen Raymond Clayborn, Ty Law and Bill Parcells. Fans can vote on the club’s website starting today, through May 15 for the person they prefer to be honored with enshrinement.
The nomination committee is made up of a mix of media members, alumni and staff. This year’s discussion could not have been an easy one; Willie McGinest, Rodney Harrison, Houston Antwine, Leon Gray, Chuck Fairbanks and Raymond Berry were among those that did not make it to the finals.
Raymond Clayborn was drafted out of Texas in the first round, 16th overall in the 1977 draft. In his rookie season he returned three kicks for touchdowns; to this day that is the most in club history for a single season and tied with Ellis Hobbs as the most in a career as a Patriot. The following year Clayborn took over as a starting corner, and went on to play in 161 consecutive games and 147 consecutive starts. Clayborn was a three-time Pro Bowler (’83, ’85, ’86) and played in seven post-season games on four Patriot playoff teams, helping the club to ten winning seasons in his thirteen years with the Patriots. Clayborn also holds the team record for kickoff return average in a year (31.0 in 1977) and had 36 career interceptions with the Pats, another club record (tied with Ty Law); three times he led the NFL in non-offensive touchdowns (’77, ’85 and ’87). He’s also part of Patriots folklore after being knocked down (out?) in a locker room altercation with writer Will McDonough.
Ty Law was another first round draft pick, taken 23rd overall out of Michigan in 1995. In his ten season with the Pats Law was named to the Pro Bowl four times (’98, ’01, ’02, ’03) and was twice an All Pro (’98, ’03). Law was part of all three Patriot Super Bowl winning teams and in 1998 he became the first Patriot to lead the NFL in interceptions, when he had nine. Law holds several Patriot all-time records, including interceptions (36, tied with Clayborn), interception return yards (583) and pick-sixes (6). His 47-yard interception off Kurt Warner for a touchdown in Super Bowl 36 is certainly one of the most iconic moments in franchise history.
Bill Parcells came to Foxborough in 1993, with the team in disarray coming off a 2-14 season. In his second year the Pats made the playoffs with a 10-6 record, and two years after that the club made it to the Super Bowl after winning what was then a franchise record 11 games, and their first division title in ten years. Parcells is still a polarizing figure with Patriot fans however, due to his negotiating a contract with the rival Jets in the days leading up to that Super Bowl loss.
The Patriots’ Hall of Fame currently consists of John Hannah, Nick Buoniconti, Gino Cappelletti, Bob Dee, Jim Lee Hunt, Steve Nelson, Babe Parilli, Mike Haynes, Steve Grogan, Andre Tippett, Bruce Armstrong, Stanley Morgan, Ben Coates, Jim Nance, Sam Cunningham, Jon Morris, Drew Bledsoe, Troy Brown, Tedy Bruschi, Billy Sullivan and Gil Santos. The nomination committee includes Ernie Adams (football staff), Ron Borges (Boston Herald), former radio voice and Hall of Famer Gil Santos, Dick Cerasuolo (retired from Worcester Telegram and Gazette), Tom Curran (CSNNE.com), Jim Donaldson (Providence Journal), Mark Farinella (Attleboro Sun), Glen Farley (Brockton Enterprise), Fred Kirsch (Patriots Football Network), statistician John Hendry, Ron Hobson (retired from the Patriot Ledger), Carlo Imelio (retired from Springfield Union News), WBZ-TV’s Steve Burton, Bryan Morry (from The Hall at Patriot Place), Paul Perillo (Patriots Football Weekly), Chris Price (WEEI.com), Mike Reiss (espnBoston.com), Matt Smith (Patriots Football Network), Mike Lynch (WCVB), former player and Hall of Famer Andre Tippett, and Howard Ulman of the Associated Press.
To make your selection, go to the Official Website of the New England Patriots | 2014 Patriots Hall of Fame Balloting and cast your vote. Voting concludes on May 15th, and the winner will be announced about a week later. The induction ceremony will most likely be held the day prior to the first pre-season game, with a halftime ceremony at the regular season home opener.
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