The list of finalists for the 2019 NFL Hall of Fame was announced recently, and New England Patriots fans will be happy to see two familiar faces on the list. Former cornerback Ty Law and former defensive tackle Richard Seymour. Seymour has a fantastic case for his spot in Canton due to his impact on some of the greatest defenses in Patriots history.
The Patriots found themselves with sixth overall pick in 2001 and used it on Richard Seymour, a defensive tackle from Georgia. Seymour went on to play eight seasons with New England, and another four with the Oakland Raiders.
Over his twelve-year career, Seymour racked up 57.5 sacks to go along with 496 tackles. While these totals may not jump off the page, his impact went beyond the stat sheet. Versatility was one of Seymour’s greatest assets. He was able to play both on the interior of the line as well as on the edge. This ability to shift around the line and play at a high level while doing so landed him some well-deserved recognition. By the end of his career, Seymour had seven Pro Bowl and three All-Pro selections to his name. In addition to those individual accolades, he was a member of three Super Bowl Championship teams with New England.
Impact on the Game
The biggest argument for Richard Seymour to have his place in Canton is his impact on the game. Seymour was one of the first players to be able to excel playing as both an interior lineman, and a defensive end. This changed the way that coaches evaluated the position and paved the way for players like Aaron Donald to succeed. The impact that Richard Seymour had on the game and his teams went well beyond the stat sheet. Despite relatively low sack totals, Seymour was one of the most dominant linemen in the league from 2002-2006. Seymour made the Pro Bowl five times and was named an All-Pro three times over this period. A sustained run of dominance such as this bodes very well for his induction into the Hall of Fame.
One of the most scrutinized aspects of a player’s career when deciding to make them a Hall of Famer is playoff success. Seymour finished his career with three championships, all with the Patriots. Usually, one championship with superb stats will get a player into the Hall of Fame. In Seymour’s case, he has borderline numbers, but his three Super Bowl rings should put him over players with comparable stats without the playoff success.
The Final Case for Canton
Richard Seymour absolutely should be in the Hall of Fame. Whether it was his dominant stretch in the mid-2000s or his playoff hardware, there is no denying how great he was. Sustaining such a high level of play for twelve years is not easy in the NFL and should strengthen his case to be enshrined in Canton. Above all his three Super Bowl rings should put him into the Hall of Fame sooner rather than later.
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