The New England Patriots are one of the most storied franchises in all of professional sports. The Tom Brady-Bill Belichick era has been nothing short of incredible with the two leading the team to six Super Bowl titles as they head into yet another campaign together in 2019. Along with the dynasty in New England continuing, one of their own was recently voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame with Ty Law getting the call.
Law recently spoke with ClutchPoints about his upcoming Hall of Fame induction as well as his thriving success off the field. The former Patriots star has become quite the businessman since hanging up his cleats. One of the most dominant corners in NFL history is now a co-founder of one of the fastest growing family entertainment and action park franchises in the country – Launch.
The Patriots legend and entrepreneur opened up about several different topics. Law talked about his journey to success with his Launch trampoline parks and his entrepreneurial spirit to his Hall of Fame induction, Tom Brady, other former Patriots that deserve recognition, Darrelle Revis, Patrick Peterson, Denzel Ward, Patrick Mahomes, and much more.
Ryan Ward: You’ve been a busy man since retiring from the NFL. You co-founded Launch Trampoline Park and are on the cusp of a huge expansion. Talk about why you chose to go into this business and what’s in store for the upcoming expansion.
Ty Law: We’re keeping it going! Right now we got 28 parks open in 13 states. We got 30 in different stages of development across the country, and we’re doing it. We even made our first acquisition in the Detroit area.
We’re just moving forward, man. I tell everybody that football was easier than this [laughs], but it’s still a blessing.
Why did you get into this venture? Why did you choose to go into this business in particular?
TL:I was looking for something to do when I retired, and I really said that I wanted to work for myself. I put myself in a position financially that I could do my own thing. It’s one thing playing football, which is the best thing that ever happened to me. I worked very hard to achieve what I have in the game, but it’s also a business side of it that I always paid very close attention to even after going All-Pro I got cut. I got cut three times in a Hall-of-Fame career, so the business is exactly what it is, it’s business.
So I always thought, during my time in the NFL, do what I have to do and ride this as long as I can and be the best player that I can be, but eventually, I want to do something for myself and build something and give other people opportunities.
I said jokingly; I’m going to be doing all the hiring and firing now. Ain’t nobody going to be firing me no more [laughs]…One of the things I’m happiest about in creating Launch is the job opportunities, especially for the young kids out there. Keeping them off the streets, giving them a chance to work in a fun atmosphere.
(Law on starting Launch)
I got into Launch from a conversation because I had no idea at the time what a trampoline park was. My business partner was Rob Arnold. He was doing a deck for me at my house. It was a pretty extensive job, and we became fast friends because he was doing the job so long, but had taken a break while they were still working. He went down to a trampoline park in Orlando, and it was raining. He was trying to find something for him and his family to do. He’s never heard of it, and he came back up to me and said, ‘Man, have you seen these trampoline parks? That would kill it up here!’
Fast forward, Rob [Arnold] was done with the job. He said if you ever want to do this I’m in because he knew I was about to go into another business. I was very close to being a franchisee of another company. I went down the process, and I was actually about to be a franchisee in a totally different industry, but as I went to take my son, I called this particular establishment, and they said there was no wait. I got up there 45 minutes later; there was a two-hour wait. I said, ‘What the hell? I just called.’ So I couldn’t find it. It stunk. My son and my daughter had a good time, but my youngest, she didn’t have a good time because she couldn’t jump with her older brother and sister. I’m sitting there twiddling my fingers, but as I was leaving, I couldn’t wait to get out of there, I saw busloads of kids coming in. Then the lightbulb went off in my head. There might be something to this.
I went home. I got on the computer and did some research on this industry, so I took it upon myself to go to Florida, Texas, New York, and California to different trampoline parks to get a feel for what this is and see it firsthand. I did all my due diligence on my end, and I said before I a sign my life away and commit to this, ‘Rob, you still interested in the trampoline park?’ He’s like, ‘Really?’ I said, ‘Let’s talk. Let’s do it!’
Now that you are a Hall of Famer, what was it like getting that call?
TL: It didn’t hit me until I went to Utah a couple of weeks ago when they started doing my bust. It’s like, wow! I’m here. Everyone is excited for you, and I’m excited, but now it’s like, is this really real? Until you have that gold jacket. Until you see your bust that is going to live on forever, it’s kind of like, Nah. Get out of here!
If you think about the exclusivity of the club and me being 323, that’s my assigned number for life and beyond. There are 326 people in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. I’m one of 326 people and one of 195 living, so it’s pretty exclusive. It also happens to be the 100th anniversary of the NFL.
So for 100 years and the thousands upon thousands of people that have played the game, it’s special, man. I think it’ll hit me even harder when that time actually comes when I’m inducted as a true member. Right now, everyone knows, but I don’t have a gold chain. I don’t have a ring. I don’t have a bust, so it’s still kind of like in la la land.
How did you feel about Tom Brady vouching for you to make the Hall of Fame?
TL: That was awesome, especially when you don’t see it coming. I knew nothing about it. I got the word when the story got out there. It means a lot, especially coming from the greatest quarterback and greatest player to ever play the game to have that much respect for you as a player and as a teammate and as a friend to go out of his way, especially during the time that he did it. I mean, he’s at the Super Bowl. He has the biggest game of his life he’s about to play. He doesn’t have time to be dealing with my ass and what I’m doing. He’s got his own thing going on.
It was special, and I couldn’t wait to thank him. People will say, ‘Well, that’s his teammate.’ I’ve heard it all. He’s supposed to because it’s his teammate. No, he doesn’t have to. He didn’t have to. That’s Tom Brady. We were teammates. We won Super Bowls together. He felt throughout that time that I made him a better quarterback. We use to go at it. He was a Michigan guy. I sold Tom his first home. He bought mine.
We have history. Life goes on. I’ve been retired, and he’s still playing. We don’t see each other or talk as much as we used to, so for him to go out of his way and do that was special. I will always remember that and will always be grateful that he did do that for me.
For him to do that, to put that extra stamp of approval from his eyes, even Peyton Manning wrote one as well, and that was an opponent. It means a lot from those guys to speak that highly of me. It’s one thing from Tom Brady like I said he’s the best that’s ever done it. A friend. A teammate. He’s vouching for his teammate, but when you get people like Peyton Manning who you battled to get to those championships. For him to do the same, that was special.
Is there a player currently playing in the NFL right now or retired that you would vouch for to get into the Pro Football Hall of Fame?
TL: Absolutely! I would say one being a teammate. Rodney Harrison is the first one that stands out for the simple fact for how he played the game. He’s one of two players in NFL history. The only defensive back in NFL history to have 30 sacks and 30 interceptions. The only other player to have those numbers, like I said, one of two, is the great Ray Lewis.
If you are the only one at your position and played at a high level for 15 years while being a two-time Super Bowl champion, and you’re not getting mentioned for the Hall of Fame. Something is wrong. He should be right up there with the great ones because the great safeties of the game have never accomplished that feat.
So Rodney Harrison, Willie McGinest, the all-time sack leader in the playoffs. Three-time Super Bowl winner, Teddy Bruschi. He came back from a stroke and led that defense for 12 years. Maybe his numbers weren’t as eye-popping as a Ray Lewis, but his leadership and what he brought to the team and for those dynasties where it all started, those guys are supposed to be considered.
Let’s talk about Darrelle Revis. I’m standing on the table for him right now. Think about what he did during his time in the league. People tend to look at stats. Most of the Hall of Fame corners have 50-plus interceptions. Darrelle has 29, but his impact on the field and being All-Pro and being that hired assassin like he was. You don’t pay a guy like that and hire a man for nothing. He has a long career as being one of the top guys in the game, and hopefully, his contributions to the game don’t get diminished just because he didn’t have 50-plus interceptions.
I think he is worthy. I think he should be acknowledged and I would stand on the table for him not just because I know him. We’re from the same hometown. He had his own shoe as a DB. That’s how good he was, so you can’t get lost and say people didn’t throw at him. You have to take that all in consideration, so hopefully the voters see that as well.
Tom Brady is a sure bet for the Hall of Fame. There’s no debate there. However, do you believe he’s the greatest player in NFL history?
TL: I think so when you’re talking about the quarterback position, but he’s in the conversation for the greatest football player, and if you were to make a Mount Rushmore of sports, regardless of era, you can talk about generational players like Jim Brown and guys like that. Those are once-in-a-lifetime-type players, too. When you talk about accomplishments to what we all play for in championships the level of play and longevity of a career, no one can touch Tom Brady. There’s only one other guy that has six Super Bowl rings, and that’s Charles Haley (it’s actually five). Five or six, but Tom sits by himself, and he’s played through basically three eras of dominance still being a starting quarterback.
You talk about Mount Rushmore of athletes in pro sports; Tom Brady is engraved in it. Michael Jordan is there. You can say, Bill Russell, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Muhammed Ali, LeBron James – Tom Brady is in that conversation. He’s in that elite class when it comes to sports overall, and no one can tell me different and if anybody says that he shouldn’t be is a damn liar. They don’t know sports.
Do you think it is Brady’s last Super Bowl title that put in that untouchable status or was he already there?
TL: He was already there. I think this just puts an exclamation point on a hell of a career and the fact that he’s going to be 42 years old still doing it, he’s already eclipsed every expectation possible. One, he was drafted in the sixth round. 11 or 12 quarterbacks were drafted before him, so when you think about what he had to overcome and how he took the reigns and ran with it when there were no expectations whatsoever and then when there were expectations he exceeded those as well.
So I think when you don’t have expectations and you succeed, awesome! But when all eyes are on you, and they’re looking like, ‘What is he going to do next?’ And you go above and beyond and put everybody in awe again. That’s greatness.
Do you have a favorite career moment?
TL: My favorite career moment was being a part of that first Super Bowl team and making a play getting an interception to swing the game in our favor when no one expected us to even be able to compete on the field. No one gave us a chance. I think to this day we are still, according to Vegas, the biggest underdogs in Super Bowl history as far as the point spread because we were playing the greatest show on turf.
The one thing they didn’t know we had as a team was believing in ourselves, and we had heart, and we knew we were tougher than the Rams. They might’ve been more athletic. They might’ve been faster. They might’ve had more showmanship, but there was no way they were a better football team, and there was no way they were a tougher football team than we were. When it comes to this game, this ain’t a damn track meet. This is football. This is team. This is about grit, grind, and toughness. Smack you in the mouth. We knew we were better than most teams in the league and that we so-called didn’t have the talent like everybody tried to say.
Is there a player in the NFL today that reminds you of yourself?
TL: If you asked me that a few years ago, I would’ve said Darrelle Revis. I like Patrick Peterson. The way with his size and his speed and quickness. The way he gets up in people’s face and challenge them. Cover one-on-one.
[Denzel] Ward from Cleveland. The young kid. I like him. Denzel Ward. That guy is pretty good. He showed a lot, especially as such a young player. He reminds me of myself. The confidence and swagger that he goes about playing the game. I like him a lot.
Those guys stick out to me.
Who is the NFL MVP next season?
TL: I got to say Patrick Mahomes again. The guy is incredible. I’m going to go off-script and not say Tom Brady because I think if Tom Brady has any type of season he’s had anything close to what he’s had, he can definitely be in that conversation like he always is, but at his age and with Gronk retiring and questions about receivers and Gronk was huge. Julian [Edelman] is a year older. They have a lot of pieces they got to plug and play.
[Brady] would be my second choice because he’s going to have to do so much to pull that team together and it’s all going to fall on him. They’re going to follow his lead, and if he can sit there an put up some numbers, you got to give that man some more credit. I know he doesn’t need it anymore. He’s done enough, but if he does that at 42 years old and takes those guys back to the promise land or anywhere close, give him another MVP to add to his resume.
Who is going to be the Defensive Player of the Year?
TL: I’m pro DB, and I would love to see a defensive back get considered, but it’s pretty tough. I came close twice myself. It’s just tough, so when you’re talking about defensive MVPs it’s probably going to be one of your pass rushers until someone is able to slow Aaron Donald beast-ass down, he’s probably going to go for a third.
That’s just how I see it. He’s so dominant, and people know where he’s at. You can’t single cover him. You can’t double him. He’s still going to make it happen, so until somebody knocks Aaron Donald off the throne, I think he’s going to get it again.
Who is the best cornerback in the league today?
TL: Patrick Peterson is getting a little older. From what I’ve seen, I like the young boy from Cleveland. I like Ward.
Which team do you think is going to win it all next season? Unbiased.
TL: I will never count out the Patriots, but I think if Kansas City can pull it all together now that they have another year under their belt and they can get Tyreek Hill back, I think they got a chance to win it all.
You can say be unbiased all you want, but if you bet against us, you lose. I’m going to say the Patriots, and if the Patriots don’t get it, it’s going to the Chiefs.
Which team will surprise people next year?
TL: Cleveland. I think that they’re going to surprise people because they have a lot of young talent now. Baker Mayfield has another year. He has an extra weapon to throw it to, so he’s surrounded by talent. I think he’s talented. I think he has the will to win even though he’s got a lot to learn. Just his competitive nature and will to win is going to take that team a long way.
Defensively, he already has some pieces in place. If you think about the Cleveland Browns over the last few years, they were in games. They just couldn’t close it out. I think they’re going to study themselves and have a lot more confidence. You have two guys on the outside in [Jarvis] Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. that can make some plays. You got a running back. You got a tight end. You’ve got an offensive line.
You’re young, but guess what, the time is now to make that push and I think that if they can capitalize and what they did last year, we’re looking at a legitimate contender — definitely a playoff team.
Will the Patriots win another Super Bowl in the Belichick-Brady era?
TL: I think they will. They got three more years together. We’re going to get one of three.
What else would you like to do in the future? Is there a goal you are striving for?
TL: Oh, yes. There’s an exit strategy. You have to have that in mind when you’re building, but we’re having fun right now, and right now we’re in growth mode. Eventually, you want to get to a point to where you can reap the rewards of what you created, and I’m in a few other things that I have in the works as well, but right now Launch is full-time. This is the baby, but I’m already developing other businesses and concepts that I’m very passionate about as well, and that’s why my time is so limited. Being a father of five, so it’s always busy, but right now, and with the Hall of Fame, it’s been a whirlwind, but we should have 40 open by year’s end. 40 locations. 39 in-development and 12 more be done by the end of the year. It’s pretty exciting!