National sports spotlight

Posted 8/6/19

The National Football League welcomed a stacked 2019 class to Canton over the weekend to officially enshrine eight men into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

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National sports spotlight


The National Football League welcomed a stacked 2019 class to Canton over the weekend to officially enshrine eight men into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The newest members of Canton’s hallowed halls include Ed Reed, Champ Bailey, Tony Gonzalez, Ty Law, Pat Bowlen, Gil Brandt, Kevin Mawae and Johnny Robinson.

Fans would be hard pressed to find a more loaded class of individuals in terms of the secondary. Ed Reed is arguably the best safety to ever play the game of football and won two championships with the Baltimore Ravens in 2000 and 2012.

Champ Bailey and Ty Law were both dominant cornerbacks in the NFL. Bailey spent his career with the Washington Redskins and Denver Broncos with most of his notoriety coming in Denver. He was a 12-time Pro Bowler and qualified for First Team All-Pro honors in each of his first three seasons with the Broncos.

Law, meanwhile, is most notable for his postseason performances, one in particular.

My most vivid memory of Ty Law’s stardom comes from the 2003 AFC Championship Game against Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts. Manning, widely regarded as the most feared signal caller in the league at the time and the league MVP, had one of his more forgettable days as a player. This was largely thanks to Law.

Ty Law intercepted Manning three times en route to a 24-14 New England win, which ultimately led to a victory over the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl XXXVIII two weeks later.

When most people think of the seemingly never-ending dynasty of the Patriots, they naturally think of Tom Brady (and for good reason). But many have forgotten the dominant defenses of the dynasty’s early years and their role in the first three championships in the early 2000s.

While Brady was just as clutch in those days, it was Bill Belichick’s defense that ultimately made the Patriots what they were. Law was a big part of the early defense that has set the tone for the ensuing successes in New England.

On the diamond, it appears as if the Astros and New York Yankees will spend the remainder of the season fighting for the top seed in the American League playoffs.

Entering Monday’s action, Houston’s record of 73-40 was just a smidge behind New York’s mark of 72-39. They were separated by just three winning percentage points. Barring a drastic shift in the current order, neither should have trouble closing out their respective divisions down the stretch in September.

The Astros have been hot of late with eight victories in their last 10 games entering Monday and only bolstered an already impressive starting rotation. At the trade deadline, Houston added former Rookie of the Year and Cy Young Winner Zack Greinke in exchange for four minor league players.

Greinke, an All-Star, was 10-4 with the Arizona Diamondbacks this season and boasts and impressive 2.90 ERA. He has also spent time with the Kansas City Royals and Los Angeles Dodgers and is hoping to be a part of his first World Series campaign in 2019.

The wildcard race will be the most interesting to watch as we move through the final two months of the regular season. In the A.L., it is a tightly contested battle for the two spots between the Indians, Rays and Athletics with the defending champion Red Sox lagging further and further behind. There still seems to be countless teams fighting for the two wildcard spots in the N.L.

In terms of division races, the A.L. and N.L. Central are the only two divisions that appear to be up for grabs as it stands now.