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Rodney Harrison Says 'Discrimination' is Keeping Patriots Out of the Hall of Fame

SourceRodney Harrison wholeheartedly agrees with Hall of Fame inductee Ty Law, who believes there’s a bias against the Patriots when it comes to gold jacket consideration.

Harrison, who is headed to town to receive his red jacket Monday to be inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame, concurs with Law that voters have blinders on and assume that all the championships start and stop with Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. The notion of the Patriots “team” concept also has been a Hall killer in their view.

It took Law, one of the best cornerbacks ever to play the game, three tries to get into Canton.

“I think he was spot on with that (assessment),” Harrison told the Herald in a phone interview Wednesday. “If you look at the players that came through the Patriots, these players were unbelievable players because they were unselfish, because they were humble and never batted their chest, ‘Look at me, look at me.’ And they fall under the category of that whole team concept. People don’t think we have ballers.

“I’m like, Ty Law was the greatest defensive back I’ve ever played with. He’s one of the best I’ve ever seen. Richard Seymour, Willie McGinest, Troy Brown, Kevin Faulk, these dudes were bad, bad dudes,” Harrison continued. “They weren’t just system guys. It’s unfair when people say, ‘As long as you had Tom and Bill,’ well, ‘Dude, Tom and Bill can’t get it done by themselves.’ It takes a lot of really smart, great players.

“It’s just unfortunate. It’s almost a form of discrimination. People don’t want to elevate us, or recognize, or acknowledge how great we are, because they’re such haters. Everywhere I go, people hate on the Patriots. So we don’t get credit. All I hear is Tom and Bill. But that’s such a lazy analysis. They don’t see what the team really is, and that’s really frustrating because a lot of guys get cheated and don’t really get the recognition they deserve.”

My reaction:

That’s my safety. Rodney Harrison speaks for me and for every other sentient being with a functioning brain who’s been paying attention during the last 20 years.

It IS discrimination. The Dynasty Era Patriots are victims, not only of their own success, but of an insidious and pervasive form of Championship Bias. Of anti-Patriotsism. Of Franchise Inequality, where their rings aren’t worth as much as other teams’ rings.

And why? I suppose the Other Team Supremacists will point to Belichick and Brady and say it’s all about them, like Harrison mentioned. Or they’ll say it’s because few if any Pats in this era have made Pro Bowls or led the league in any particular stats. But since when has that mattered in pro football?

As I’ve mentioned before, Canton isn’t Cooperstown. It’s not about looking up a guys Pro Football Reference page and if he’s got a lot of boldfaced numbers or is up among the career leaders, he gets in. There are not supposed to be a bunch of Don Suttons and Bert Blylevens. It’s filled with winners. With achievers who made a huge impact on the history of the game by doing great things in the postseason.

You want examples? I’ll give you examples:

–Troy Aikman. His career Passer Rating is 81.6. “Good” for 58th all time, behind such luminaries as Bernie Kosar, Neil O’Donnell and Jason Campbell. Super Bowl titles: 3.
–Lynn Swann. Career Receiving Yards total of 5,462. Which is 237th all time. And he’s already been passed on the rankings by Odell Beckham, Jr. But he’s in the Top 20 in postseason yards. Super Bowl titles: 4.
–Terrell Davis. Playing just 78 career games, he finished with 7,607 Rushing Yards, only 55th best all time. Well behind Garrison “Never Appeared on a Fantasy Lineup in His 11 seasons” Hearst. But he lapped the field in postseason success with an average of over 140 YPG. Super Bowls: 2

The Patriots have literally dozens of guys with three or more Super Bowl rings. And the only ones who have merited serious attention for induction are Law (who’s in, obviously), Brady, Adam Vinatieri and Rob Gronkowski. Which is pure, blatant, discrimination. It’s GOATism. And we can’t defeat it unless we’re willing to call it what it is.

Among the other Patriots who deserve careful consideration that they haven’t gotten, if not flat out induction are the aforementioned Seymour, McGinest, Brown and Faulk. But I’ll add Harrison himself. Also Matt Light. Vince Wilfork. Stephen Gostkowski. Devin McCourty. And with a few more years to pad his resume and become the all time leader in postseason Receptions, Julian Edelman. But lazy analysts who resent the team’s success and just want to put it on  the coach, the quarterback, cheating and luck, will probably never give any of them the support they deserve.

I guess they’ll just have to live out their lives taking comfort in the knowledge they built an empire of team success that no one will ever duplicate. And that success is measured in Lombardis, not mustard yellow sport coats and ugly head statues.