Lawrence Taylor was an American sports star born on February 4, 1959. He was a former sports star notable in the field of football as a linebacker. During his career, Taylor was considered the greatest defensive player in the history of American football. In fact, Taylor had received AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year during his rookie season. Aside from that, throughout his football career from years 1980s to 1990s, Taylor was credited for his game plans, offensive line blocking schemes, offensive formations, and defensive pass rushing schemes.
Among the three sons of Clarence and Iris Taylor, Lawrence was the firstborn who’s born and raised in Williamsburg, Virginia. That time, Clarence, his father, was a dispatcher at a shipyard while her mother, Iris, was a schoolteacher. As a youth, Lawrence Taylor focused on playing baseball as a catcher. By the age of fifteen, Taylor then began playing football.
In 1977, after he graduated from Lafayette High School, Taylor attended the University of Carolina. In there, he became the team captain. In the 1979 season, although he was initially placed on the defensive lineman position, he was then switched to being a linebacker. During his final years at the University of Carolina, Taylor had about sixteen sacks along with several defensive records. With that, he was recognized as the Atlantic Coast Conference’s (ACC) Player of the Year in the year 1980.
In 1981, the NFL New York’s Giants drafted Lawrence Taylor in the first round as their 2nd pick overall. According to the Giant’s General Manager, George Young, Taylor was the best college linebacker he had ever seen. However, Taylor was hesitant in playing with the New York’s Giant, for he had hoped for playing with the Dallas Cowboys instead. Yet still, he expressed excitement about the opportunity to play in the city. That time, the Giants considered drafting Taylor because of his solid reputation. In fact, the head coach of the giants, Ray Perkins, stated that Taylor had great potential.
In September of the same year, Taylor had his first debut in the NFL regular season, although their team losses on a 24-10 score against the Philadelphia Eagles. Later on, after obtaining the record of 9.5 sacks, Taylor was also awarded the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year. As well as that, as of 2020, Taylor was the only rookie that had achieved an Offensive and Defensive Player of the Year Award.
In the 1986 season, Taylor became the most successful defensive player of the NFL. During that time, he recorded a leading sack of 20.5 and became one of the two defensive players who had won the NFL’s Most Valuable Player Award. Also, for the third time, Taylor had won the Defensive Player of the Year Award. Subsequently, in the Super Bowl XXI, the New York Giants had defeated Denver in a 39-20 victory. After six years, Taylor had received several awards, including the NFL Rookie of the Year Award, NFL Defensive Player of the Year -an award he won three times, and the First-Team All-Pro award for six times.
However, in the following seasons, the Giants failed on a 6-9 match in the 1987 season. According to Taylor, the Giants are losing, and along with that, he was also losing $60 000 per week. As the 1988 season approaches, a controversy surrounded Taylor. That time, he had tested positive for cocaine. As a result, he was suspended for thirty days. Actually, it was his second violation of the substance abuse policy. The first one was in 1987, which was not known in public at the time.
Subsequently, in 1989, in a game against the 49ers, the Giants had suffered a 34-24 loss. With this, Taylor sits out the second half of the game. Despite his problems off the field, Taylor’s popularity had remained. He was even voted as the defensive co-captain with Carl Banks after Harry Carson retired. From years 1990 to 1993, Taylor had continued to play for the Giants before he eventually retired in 1994. In his last game in January 1994, the Giants lost in a 44-3 match against the San Francisco 49ers. However, he ended his career with 132.5 sacks, 1,089 tackles, and two touchdowns.