Over the past three months, thousands of fans voted in our "Team For the Ages" contest to construct the best imaginable 50-man roster from the NFL’s modern era, which began in 1967. The votes have been counted, and we’re unveiling one player each weekday between now and the kickoff of the 2018 NFL season.
Giants OLB Lawrence Taylor
L.T. redefined the OLB position, turning it into a devastating staging point for bringing pass-rush pressure and tormenting quarterbacks. In a seven-year stretch, Taylor racked up 98 sacks, an average of 14 per year. In just his first six seasons, Taylor was the defensive player of the year three times, became the first defensive player ever selected unanimously as MVP, played on a Super Bowl winner and was named first-team All-Pro in each season.
They said it
“I can’t think of anyone that has a greater ability to will things to happen. He was just really an unconquerable guy. No matter what you did to him, no matter what kind of beating that he took, he was going to get you the next time.”
--Giants coach Bill Parcells
“Lawrence Taylor, defensively, has 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.
— Former Raiders coach John Madden
Taylor’s 132.5 career sacks are 13th all time, and his total doesn’t include his rookie season in 1981, the year before sacks became an official statistic. He had 9.5 sacks, unofficially, that year. In 1986, he had 20.5 sacks.
Did you know?
Taylor was the second overall pick in the 1981 draft and became the defensive rookie of the year, just six years after he began playing football as a junior in high school.
In a late 1988 game with playoff implications, just months after he had tested positive for cocaine, been suspended for 30 days and checked himself into rehab, Taylor had three sacks and two forced fumbles in a 13-12 victory over the Saints, despite playing with a torn pectoral muscle. Despite the drug problems, which began in his rookie season and plagued him throughout his career and in his life after football, Taylor had 15.5 sacks in the 12 games he was allowed to play in ’88.
Previous "Team for the Ages" player unveilings