Lawrence Taylor, the greatest defensive player in Giants history, said he doesn't know Jason Pierre-Paul, but Taylor thinks the defensive end, whose right index finger was amputated after a July 4 fireworks accident, can come back to be the dominant player he was before the injury, and the loss of the finger shouldn't really affect that.
"I don't really know him personally," Taylor said of Pierre-Paul. "I think he's an excellent player. You know, it's funny -- they say well, you know, 'He's the next Lawrence Taylor,' or whatever it is. I think he can be in that caliber, but listen, it takes more than one year, and it takes some hard work. And I think he is -- especially with this happening now, I think he's willing to put in the work."
Taylor was at MetLife Stadium along with several other members of the 1990 Giants, who were honored at halftime of Sunday's game for the 25th anniversary of their Super Bowl XXV victory. Joining him for the celebration were coach Bill Parcells and several assistant coaches and teammates, including Carl Banks, Howard Cross, Leonard Marshall, Super Bowl XXV MVP Ottis Anderson and quarterback Jeff Hostetler, who took over for the injured Phil Simms and led the Giants to victory over the Bills.
Taylor said his favorite thing about the Super Bowl XXV win was that the Giants were not expected to win it all that season.
"It wasn't like our team in '86," Taylor said. "In '86, I think we were just a dominant team. Things happened in the right way for this team right here. We weren't the best on paper; there was a couple teams that were better than us -- San Francisco, possibly even Buffalo. Buffalo, I thought, was a better team -- better on paper. But as a team, everybody came together. We all had one mind, we all had one goal."
He said the injury to Simms and the switch to Hostetler helped because Hostetler was a running quarterback who energized the team and "shook everybody up, late in the season."
"Parcells used to talk all the time [about], 'Hey, it's not about being the best on paper, it's about all pieces falling together at the right time,' " Taylor said. "And the pieces fell together."
One of the most popular Giants ever, Taylor talked about how much love he still feels from the fans, even today.
"This, I guess is my last hurrah in this stadium, because, you know, hey, I sure ain't going to be here for the 50th reunion," Taylor joked. "But I think it's one of those things that you can look back on and say, 'Man, people still remember me, they're still appreciative of what you did for the organization or the team.' "