Is Matt Light a Hall of Famer?


Is Matt Light a Hall of Famer?

Does Matt Light belong in the Pro Football Hall of Fame?

My instincts said no, but I sat down last night hoping to prove otherwise and with three very powerful bullets in my wanna-be revolver.

1. Light won three rings, and is one of only five players to start five Super Bowls.

2. He was an essential part of what will eventually be known as one of the signature dynasties in NFL history, and the Hall of Fame likes rewarding legendary teams.

3. He was the almost-exclusive blind side protection for one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time.

With that I was off and very quickly deflated.

That's not to say that at some point down the line, 20-25 years from now, once Belichick, Brady, Wilfork, Law, Harrison, Vinatieri, Seymour, Poteat, Klemm and whomever else from this historic run is comfortably nestled in Canton, that the Veteran's Committee won't look at Light and say, "You know what? He had a great career these other players love him he seems like a great guy let's put him in!"

But I'm saying that's probably the only chance he has.

Here's why:

In the last 15 years, only seven tackles have been inducted to the Hall:

Anthony Muoz
Ron Yary
Jackie Slater
Bob Brown
Rayfield White
Gary Zimmerman
Willie Roaf

What's interesting is that these seven guys have a combined three Super Bowl rings among them. (White won two with Dallas; Zimmerman won one with Denver).

Fifteen years. Seven Hall of Fame tackles. Just as many rings combined as Light has by himself.

But here's where the argument loses steam:

Munoz made nine All-Pro teams and 11 Pro Bowls. Yary made six All-Pro teams and seven Pro Bowls. Slater made zero All-Pros but seven Pro Bowls. Brown made six and seven, White made three and six, Zimmerman made three and seven and Roaf made three and 11.

To sum it up, everyone but Slater was an All-Pro at least three times, and they all made at least six Pro Bowls.

Matt Light made one All-Pro team and three Pro Bowls.

That's not enough.

Football may be a team sport, but the Hall of Fame is an individual honor. Rings are nice, but personal accomplishments and dominance matter more. And while Light was undoubtedly steady for his 11 years on Tom Brady's blind side, and as a Pats fan, you probably couldn't have asked for more, as an individual football talent, Light falls short.

When you go back and think of the dominant left tackles of the last decade you think of guys like Walter Jones, Jonathan Ogden, Orlando Pace, Roaf and Chris Samuels before you think of Light, and there's already a new batch of young talent Joe Thomas, Chris Long ready to carry that torch for the next generation. No. 72 is on the outside looking in.

As for being one of five players to start five Super Bowls?

That's nice, but there's no Hall of Fame precedent for reaching that milestone.

Of the four other guys in the Five Start Club, only two John Elway and Brady (I think its safe now) are in the Hall of Fame. The other two are Charles Haley, who's not in the Hall, but probably would be if he hadn't been such a horrible person in his playing days, and Cornelius Bennett, who just never made the cut. (It didnt help that he went 0-5 in his five Super Bowl starts.)

It would be one thing if all four were in there. And it would be an entirely different story if Asante Samuel had made that interception in Arizona or Wes Welker had pulled down that catch in Indianapolis, and Light waded into the Hall of Fame pool with four or five rings. But the five starts aren't enough.

And as for protecting Brady's blindside? We'll never forget Light for the job he did, but Bubba Paris protected Joe Montana's blind side for eight seasons and three Super Bowls, and he's still waiting. Light had a better career (although not a better name) than Paris, but again, the precedent isn't there. Protecting the best of all time is not a Hall of Fame guarantee.

And for a guy like Light, who never even planned on playing college football, that's not such a bad thing. The fact that the question "Does Matt Light belong in the Hall of Fame?" even exists says so much about his career.

But still, not as much as those three rings and 11 years of unbelievable memories.

Rich can be reached at Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

NFL IN LONDON: Giants pick off Rams, 17-10


NFL IN LONDON: Giants pick off Rams, 17-10

LONDON -- The New York Giants capitalized on four interceptions of Case Keenum to defeat the Los Angeles Rams 17-10 Sunday in the first NFL game played at London's home of English rugby, a sold-out and raucous Twickenham Stadium.

Keenum, coming off the best start of his career, had the Rams at the Giants' 15-yard line with 50 seconds left when he lobbed a pass in the left corner of the end zone that Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie easily picked off. Keenum's intended target, Brian Quick, failed to get the quarterback's audible and cut off his route early.

Keenum, who finished 32-of-53 for 291 yards and one touchdown, has thrown an interception on the Rams' final offensive play of the last three games. That likely will fuel debate on a potential quarterback change to overall No. 1 draft pick Jared Goff.

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Collins (hip) active vs. Steelers, giving Patriots dynamic LB duo


Collins (hip) active vs. Steelers, giving Patriots dynamic LB duo

Jamie Collins will make his return Sunday after missing Week 6 with a hip issue, meaning he and Dont'a Hightower will be back on the field together Pittsburgh. 

Collins and Hightower represent one of the best linebacker combinations in the league, but it's somewhat of a rarity that the Patriots have both on the field simultaneously. The matchup with the Steelers will be just the fourth time that both will be active and available to coach Bill Belichick and defensive coordinator Matt Patricia.

Last season the pair was active for 10 of 18 games, including both playoff games, and during a Week 5 win over the Cowboys, Hightower played just nine snaps. Collins dealt with an illness that kept him out for four games last season, and Hightower, as has been the case for much of his career, was limited by (and often played through) myriad ailments.

The Patriots will also have rookie linebacker Elandon Roberts on Sunday. Roberts was limited in practice this week with an ankle issue that had him listed as questionable coming into the game. 

The Patriots listed as inactive are defensive tackles Woodrow Hamilton and Vincent Valentine, safety Jordan Richards, corner Cyrus Jones, running back DJ Foster, tight end AJ Derby and tackle LaAdrian Waddle. 

With both Hamilton and Valentine out, the Patriots are thin on the interior of their defensive line. Malcolm Brown and Alan Branch, as well as Anthony Johnson, should see plenty of work in the trenches with those two rookies out. 

Jones is a healthy scratch for the second consecutive week, leaving the Patriots with five corners: Malcolm Butler, Logan Ryan, Eric Rowe and Jonathan Jones. Cyrus Jones was open about where he is at this point in his rookie season, understanding that he has to show coaches more before he's activated again.

With both Jones and Foster out, the Patriots could rely upon Devin McCourty or James White to return kicks at Heinz Field. Matthew Slater typically serves as the traffic cop on those plays, but he's a capable returner as well. 

Richards is a healthy scratch and will miss his first game of the season. As a core special-teamer, the Patriots will need to fill his spot, but they will have running back Brandon Bolden on the field for the first time since suffering a knee injury in Week 4. Bolden is a core special teamer as well and will likely see the kicking-game snaps that have opened up with Richards out.