Who's the best Patriot not in the Hall of Fame? It's Law

Rick Gosselin

Ty Law has been a Hall-of-Fame finalist twice. Listeners and readers of the Talk of Fame Network believe it’s time now for a trip to the finals to translate into a bust in Canton.

We asked our followers in our weekly Talk of Fame Network poll who is the best New England Patriot not enshrined in Canton and Law won in a landslide with 45.2 percent of the vote. Kicker/wide receiver Gino Cappelletti of the AFL era was next at 22.6 percent, followed by wide receiver Stanley Morgan at 12.2 percent.

Law, a 2000s' NFL all-decade selection, spent 10 seasons with the Patriots and played in four Super Bowls, helping New England win three of them. He shares the franchise record with 36 interception and holds the record for return yards (583), including six touchdowns.

Law intercepted Peyton Manning three times in the 2003 AFC championship game. In 1998 he became the first Patriot to lead the NFL in interceptions with nine. He was enshrined in the franchise Hall of Fame in 2014.

The three Talk of Fame Network hosts, as usual, split their votes. Ron Borges voted Cappelletti, Rick Gosselin went with Morgan and Clark Judge with Law.

“How can the AFL's all-time leading scorer not be in the Hall of Fame,” Borges asked. “Gino Cappelletti was not just a kicker. He was also a productive wide receiver who is one of only 20 players to have played all 10 years of the AFL's existence. He was also once league MVP. Hall of Famer? Sure looks like one.”

Indeed, Cappelletti was the AFL’s all-time leading scorer and a member of the all-time All-AFL team. Also one of only three players to play every game in the AFL’s 10-year history. The other two – former Raiders George Blanda and Jim Otto – are both enshrined in the Hall of Fame.

Cappelletti handled the placekicking for the chores during the AFL era and scored 1,130 career points with his foot and 252 more points with his hands on touchdown receptions. Cappelletti helped the Patriots reach the AFL title game in 1963 and was voted the league’s MVP in 1964.

Morgan played 13 seasons with the Patriots and his career average of 19.2 yards per catch is best in NFL history among receivers who caught at least 500 passes. Only two Hall of Fame receivers have a better career per catch average (Paul Warfield at 20.8 and Bob Hayes at 20.0). Morgan is New England’s all-time leader in receiving yards (10,352) and 100-yard games (38). Morgan went to four Pro Bowls and was enshrined in the franchise Hall of Fame in 2007.

“When I study receivers, I look at the quality of catch, not the quantity of catches,” Gosselin said. “When you average almost 20 yards per reception, your quality of catch puts you up there with the best who ever played the game.”


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