(Ty Law photos courtesy of the New England Patriots)
Talk of Fame Network
Hall-of-Fame semifinalist Ty Law was more than a three-time Super Bowl champion and all-decade choice. He was a game changer — and not solely on individual contests.
On the game of football itself.
It was Law’s physical play in the 2003 AFC championship defeat of Indianapolis that caused the NFL to protect receivers from defensive backs like Law – with the league instituting a hands-free zone five yards off the line of scrimmage. The idea was to protect receivers and promote scoring, and, well, it worked. The numbers for both have soared since then.
To some, that’s good. But not to Law, who sees the series of rules that limit physical play and protect offensive performers as making today’s game “pretty soft.” At least, that’s what he told The Talk of Fame Network broadcast when we spoke to him about today’s game and asked if he feels guilty for causing the legislation that put defensive backs … and defenders in general … in handcuffs.
“I don’t feel guilty at all,” Law said. “It’s like finally like somebody recognized what we did. So if it had to come down to that so be it. But I think the game is getting to be pretty soft, to be honest with you. There was the ‘Mel Blount Rule’ years ago (because) of the way Pittsburgh played the game. That was football. You’re going to start putting flags on guys right now. I don’t understand it.”
Nobody with the Colts wore red flags when they met New England in the 2003 conference championship game, and it showed. Law was front and center in a Patriots’ pass defense that shut down Peyton Manning, with Law intercepting him three times. After the game, the Colts complained that officials didn’t properly call illegal contact, pass interference and defensive holding, and the NFL responded by massaging the rules — with defenders forbidden from contacting receivers more than five yards off the line of scrimmage.
“I don’t think I could play and be successful in today’s game because of the way I was brought up playing,” said Law. “We played physical. If the receiver touched the ball, (you’d) knock the hell out of him right now, you know what I mean? It’s just a shame that it has to go down like it is. It’s an offensive game so there should be a premium as far as the corners right now because you can’t do anything. That’s why guys like Darrelle Revis … who can go out there and really play the game … at the level he’s playing. He should get paid all the money.”
Law’s fear is that in trying to protect players – which he understands – the league is changing the game … and not for the better. In fact, he worries about the game losing fans if it continues down the road it is today.
“It’s totally an offensive-run league,” he said. “They want to see touchdowns. But they’re forgetting about the essence of football, in my opinion. You might as well put a red shirt on the quarterback now, like in practice. You can’t him, and I think it’s taken away from the game … even though they are trying to protect the players.
“We knew what we signed up for when we started playing this game: Hit or be hit. And that’s what it’s all about as far as I’m concerned. And the game is being watered down. Five years from now we’re going to start losing fans if they keep doing this.”