Lawrence Taylor, or better known by his nickname, L.T., is regarded as one of the greatest defensive players in the history of football. One reason why he is considered the greatest is he revolutionized the position, and the way offenses had to set up blocking schemes.
He was drafted the second overall pick by the New York Giants in the 1981 NFL Draft, and was widely sought after by many teams in the league. In a poll of NFL General Managers, 26 out of the 28 stated they would take him with their first pick. One of the teams that would not, the New Orleans Saints, had their heart set on George Rogers, and fortunately for the G-Men, the Saints had the first pick.
In Taylor’s rookie season he finished with 9.5 sacks, which is remarkable for a rookie, let alone an established player. Cementing his legacy, Taylor was named 1981's NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year and NFL Defensive Player of the Year by the Associated Press. The honor was the first, and to this date, only rookie to ever win the Defensive Player of the Year award. His performance also got the Giants into the playoffs, where they would fall to the 49ers in the divisional round.
In the Giants 1986 Super Bowl season, Taylor recorded a league-leading 20.5 sacks and became one of just two defensive players to win the NFL Most Valuable Player award, and the only defensive player to be the unanimous selection for MVP. In addition, Taylor won the Defensive Player of the Year Award.
Thanks to Barbara from Flikr.com for this great picture of Lawrence Taylor's Post-NFL life.
1990 was another Super Bowl season for New York as Taylor finished with 10.5 sacks and earned his 10th Pro Bowl in as many years. The Giants began the year 10-0, finished 13-3 and routed the Bears in the first round of the playoffs. In the NFC Championship, the Giants faced two-time defending Super Bowl champion San Francisco. In a game that went down to the final play, New York’s Matt Bahr kicked a 42-yard field goal as time expired to give Big Blue a 15-13 victory. The FG was set up by a Taylor fumble recovery.
One of the most terrifying moments in Taylor’s career was a Monday night affair with the Washington Redskins. Taylor sacked Redskin’s QB Joe Theismann, and in the process fell on his leg, which resulted in a compound fracture that was seen by a national TV audience. Immediately after the sack, a distraught Taylor frantically screamed for paramedics to attend to Theismann. The sack ended Theismann's career.
John Madden once said of Taylor, "He had as big an impact as any player I've ever seen. He changed the way defense is played, the way pass-rushing is played, the way linebackers play and the way offenses block linebackers."
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