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Laying down the Law in New England  
 

When the NFL decided in the offseason to more strictly enforce the five-yard illegal contact rule on defensive backs, some observers called it the "Ty Law Rule" after the aggressive Patriots cornerback. Now with the Patriots preparing to face the Steelers, the Pittsburgh receivers are accusing Law and the Patriots of still getting away with excessive contact. Law spoke to NFL Total Access guest host Derrin Horton and analyst Rod Woodson on Patriots cam about the accusation and the prospect of facing rookie Ben Roethlisberger and the surprising Steelers. NFL Total Access airs Monday through Saturday at 7 p.m. ET (aired Oct. 30, 2004).

Derrin Horton: Time now to fire up Patriots Cam. We welcome in Tywon Law, better known as Ty. How you doing, Ty?

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Ty Law: Good, good. I'm hanging in there, man. How you guys doing?

Horton: We're doing well. Let's talk about this season for the Patriots, Ty. A lot of people often talk about overcoming adversity, but you guys are dealing with success. How does a team maintain the momentum in success?

Law: You know what, we don't get caught up in the hype. We just consistently talk about the next game, take it one game at a time. People don't realize how hard it is being in a situation where everyone's gunning for you. We have a few injuries on our team just like anybody else, but we still find a way to win and we just take one game at a time. We're not looking past a game at hand. It's easy to look two or three games down the schedule and say, "Okay, we can take these guys, we can take these guys." But we don't do that around here.

Rod Woodson: Ty, you're going home. How many tickets did you have to get this week going back to Pittsburgh?

Law: You know what, first things first, let's win. But if I get the opportunity, man, I'm trying to get me one or two. I mean, I'm gonna be straight up honest with you, but I'm not gonna gamble and forsake the team just to get an interception. I'm trying to catch you a little bit. I'm trying to get a little closer to you. You just set the bar so damn high, Rod. Every time I get a pick when you were playing, you'd get one. I'm like, man, I'm never going to be able to catch this guy.

Woodson: See, I moved to safety. So going to safety, you can get some picks that way.

Law: Okay, I got ya'll back.

Horton: Okay, Ty. Hey listen, speaking of Pittsburgh, there's been a lot of talk that they're already setting the stage. Plaxico Burress says that there's a different set of rules that the Patriots defensive backs play by, and we have some sound from Hines Ward talking about this subject.

Law: Okay.

Reporter : Plax said yesterday that sometimes the Patriots' corners get away with a little more, the whole five yards, the grab and the putting the arms in there. Do you notice that?

Hines Ward : Yeah, you can see it on tape, but they don't call it, but it just depends on what type of officials that we have. We have to adjust our game if they're not going to call it. Plax and I, we have to go out and just try to keep fighting. In the preseason, that's when they said they were going to stress on doing the five-yard rule, and watching them on tape you only see about two or three calls, but they're doing it constantly, the whole game. It all depends on officiating, if they're going to call that type of game then even our defensive backs, they have to change their game. But if you're going to call it on our guys, then you need to call it for their guys too.

Woodson: Ty, do they have a Michael Jordan rule for the New England Patriots defensive backfield that you guys can bump anybody and nobody else can in the National Football League?

Law: Nah, I mean, that's not true at all, man. We've got calls. People don't realize we're leading the league in penalties, you know what I mean? So it's been dubbed as the Ty Law rule -- I think it's kinda catchy myself. Those guys, they're going to do whatever they can to get an advantage, and I don't blame them. They're receivers, they want to catch the ball, and they know we play aggressively and they're aggressive themselves. If you want to talk about defensive backs pushing off and getting away with things, check out some of the receivers nowadays. You know it, Rod, why don't you put it on TV and show some of them receivers pushing off? Because Pittsburgh's notorious for it, they play aggressive. You should stand up for the DBs on TV, Rod. Let 'em know what's going on.

Woodson: Well, you know I still live in Pittsburgh, so I'm gonna be a little biased here. What do you think about their offense? They got a quarterback that's played well, they got three good receivers, they got a running game that's really come back up to the what Pittsburgh history's about. How do you feel that you guys match up to this offense?

Ty Law is ready for a physical battle in Pittsburgh. 
Ty Law is ready for a physical battle in Pittsburgh.  
Law: It's going to be a physical matchup. Playing in Pittsburgh with their fans and they're going back to the old Pittsburgh Steelers like '70s style. They're just running the ball, play-action passes, they got a great quarterback, a great young quarterback right now, and he's taking the team and he's leading them. And to be honest with you, when you got Hines Ward, Plaxico Burress, (Antwaan) Randle El, I'm gonna complete a couple passes, and I can't throw. But he's doing a great job out there and they're doing everything. And the most impressive thing about that team is when they get in the red zone, they're like 80, 82 percent scoring touchdowns. So when they get into the red zone, they're getting seven, they're not looking for three.

Horton: Hey Ty, I'm sitting here with you. I'm sitting here with Rod Woodson. I was hoping you guys could explain to me, I know a lot of people talk about interceptions coming from cornerbacks, but the number that you put up last year, 23 pass breakups, that was just as impressive. From a cornerback's standpoint, is that just as good as an interception to you?

Law: Oh yes, especially if it comes on third down and you can get off the field, it's just as good. Of course you would like to turn the ball over, but those pass breakups are very important because that can intimidate a quarterback and a receiver just as much. Interceptions -- you know Rod can attest to this -- are hard to come by. If you get the opportunity, you gotta take advantage of it, but knocking that ball down is great, and it can give the team a big lift.

Woodson: You're definitely right, especially playing corner, it's hard when your back is to the ball to turn around and get interceptions. It's definitely tougher. Safety, it's a little easier because you're always facing the football, so in a couple of years, maybe you can move to safety and get some more picks.

Law: Oh, yeah. You know I'll move to safety, but I'm a corner right now. I ain't even going to say that, Rod, because you know people out there listen and that corner market is really pretty good right now. I'm a corner, I'm a corner.

Horton: Hey, Ty, before I let you go, what are Tya and Ty Jr. going to be for Halloween?

Law: My daughter is Catwoman and I think Ty Jr., I think he gonna be a frog or something. I think he's a frog, I didn't understand that one. But I know that Tya's Catwoman -- she thinks she's a little Halle Berry or something. But my son, he's a soldier, though.

Horton: Well, Ty Law, we thank you for taking the time. Good luck against Pittsburgh.

Law: All right, thank you.

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