(Photo courtesy of the New England Patriots)
Talk of Fame Network
It’s been a good week for the New England Patriots. They win on the field. They win in the polls.
Former Patriots’ cornerback Ty Law is the latest victor, pulling down 31 percent of the vote in the latest Talk of Fame Network ballot on the single greatest individual defensive playoff performance. Law won by virtue of his three interceptions of Peyton Manning in the 2003 AFC championship game – a loss that so incensed then-Colts’ G.M. Bill Polian that he helped push through a rules change the following season to limit contact between defenders and receivers.
Close behind Law with 28 percent of the vote was Houston cornerback Vernon Perry, who intercepted Dan Fouts four times in the Oilers’ 1979 playoff defeat of the Chargers. Perry not only had four interceptions; he had eight tackles and a blocked field goal.
San Diego not only was home; it was the AFC’s top seed.
Third was Miami’s A.J. Duhe, who had two second-half interceptions in Miami’s 1982 AFC championship game defeat of the Jets – with Duhe returning one of those pickoffs for a touchdown. Duhe had 21 percent of the vote.
Pittsburgh’s L.C. Greenwood was fourth with 11 percent, and the Tampa Bay Bucs, who intercepted Rich Gannon five times in Super Bowl XXXVII, were last with 9 percent.
While our readers favored Law, our panel did not – with Clark Judge and Rick Gosselin choosing Perry and Ron Borges picking Greenwood for his four sacks of quarterback Roger Staubach in Super Bowl X. a 21-17 Steelers’ victory.
“Ty laid down the Law,” said Borges, “but L.C.’s four sacks were on the biggest stage. So I have to go with Greenwood.”
Judge and Gosselin did not, with each choosing Perry for his heroics in a game where the Chargers were prohibitive favorites. Houston would advance to the conference championship game but lose to Pittsburgh – which then went on to win its fourth Super Bowl in six years.
“Four interceptions of a Hall-of-Fame quarterback, eight tackles, two PBUs and a blocked field goal,” said Gosselin. “That’s a tough hand to beat … much less in a playoff game.“
Apparently not. Law found a way to do it … with a little help from his friends.