BOSTON (CBS) — The Patriots Hall of Fame finalists are out, and now it’s up to the fans to determine who will be enshrined in Foxboro.
The team announced on Wednesday that cornerback Raymond Clayborn, cornerback Ty Law and head coach Bill Parcells are this year’s finalists. Clayborn and Law are first-time finalists, while Parcells was a finalist in 2011 and 2012.
For Law, 2014 is the first year he was eligible to be nominated.
Clayborn was a first round pick by the Patriots in 1977 and was a three-time Pro Bowler (1983, 1985, 1986), helping the team to 10 winning seasons and four playoff berths during his 13-year career in New England. He finished his Patriots’ days with a franchise-leading 36 interceptions (tied with Law), and was also a stellar kickoff returner. He returned 57 kickoffs for 1,538 yards and three touchdowns, and led the NFL with a 31-yard return average as a rookie in 1977. Clayborn is one of just 16 NFL players since the 1970 merger to finish a season with a 30-yard average on kickoff returns and is the only Patriots player to accomplish the feat.
Patriots fans are plenty familiar with Law, who played 10 seasons in New England. He was a three-time Super Bowl Champion, a four-time Pro Bowler and a two-time All-Pro. Law tied Clayborn’s career franchise-record with 36 interceptions, and finished with the most interception-return yards in team history with 583. His six interceptions returned for touchdowns are also a franchise best.
Law had nine interceptions in 1998 to become the first Patriots player to lead the NFL in that category, but he often saved his best games for the postseason. He picked off St. Louis’ Kurt Warner for a touchdown in New England’s Super Bowl win in 2001 and intercepted Colts’ quarterback Peyton Manning three times in the 2003 AFC Championship game.
Law is a member of the NFL’s all-decade team for the 2000’s as well as the Patriots’ all-1990’s and all-2000’s decade teams. He was also selected to the Patriots’ 50th Anniversary Team.
Parcells was only head coach of New England for four seasons (1993-96) but made a major impact on the franchise. He inherited a team that had gone 2-14 in the season prior to his hiring, and led the franchise to the playoffs twice during his tenure, including the Super Bowl in 1996.
The Parcells-led Patriots of 1994 ending the season on a seven-game win streak and clinch the franchise’s first playoff berth in eight years, earning Parcells NFL Coach of the Year honors.
Parcells was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2013 2013, and is the only coach in NFL history ever to lead four different teams to the playoffs and three different teams to a conference championship game. He is a member of the Patriots all-1990s team.
Starting Wednesday, Patriots fans are encouraged to vote for the former Patriot most deserving of hall of fame enshrinement on the team’s website. The voting ends on May 15 and the Patriots will announce the 2014 Patriots Hall of Fame selection in early June.
This year’s selection will become the 22nd person enshrined into the Patriots Hall of Fame.
The Patriots Hall of Fame induction ceremony is held on the plaza just outside The Hall at Patriot Place, and is free and open to the public. The date and time of this year’s event will be announced at a later date.
Gresh & Zolak discuss Patriots HOF Finalists: