Lawrence Taylor was an unstoppable force during his Hall of Fame career with the Giants that made him one of the most feared defenders in NFL history. But Taylor said he doesn’t think he would be as effective in today’s game and pointed to the one element that might be able to slow him down.
“I don't think I could finish a game nowadays,” Taylor told Tom Brady and Jim Gray on the latest episode of their “Let’s Go!” show on SiriusXM. Asked why he said: “Because of the rules.”
Taylor talked about how much the game has changed since he terrorized opponents.
“I like the era that I played in because if I was playing nowadays, I probably wouldn't last the game," he said. "Have you ever known me to conform to anything? I would get thrown out. It'd been hard for me to play. I may have ended the season owing them money [in fines].”
Taylor and Brady, arguably the best defensive and offensive players in history, agreed that the rule changes in recent years have affected the game.
“I really don't like the way that it's gone because there's people like, every time you would've hit the quarterback there would've been a flag,” Brady told Taylor. “And the reality is defenses should be aggressive. There was a hit on Patrick Mahomes [on Sunday] night where he was running out of bounds, where he wasn't even out of bounds. And, you know, the quarterbacks need to learn how to throw the ball away. They need to learn how to read defenses so that they can get the ball out of their hands. I always felt like my best protection was getting rid of the ball. Even in my day, it would've been hard for you to sack me just because I knew how great you were and how fast I needed to throw the ball that day.”
Taylor had praise for the defensive stars of today including Micah Parsons, Aaron Donald and TJ Watt and his recently retired brother JJ Watt. “Those guys can play,” he said.
Taylor also said he would have enjoyed the challenge of hunting Brady.
“If I'm going into the game and I'm thinking, ‘How am I gonna have to play you?’ Wow. I mean, that's a whole lot of work, man,” he said. “You have some great skills, man. You should be very proud of what you've done….You're the number one guy in football that I haven't hit, OK?”
There is one quarterback who Taylor said has always been at the top of his list of ones he wanted to sack but never could. And it wasn’t Brady.
“To tell you the truth, man, I would've loved to hit Phil Simms because he was on my team,” Taylor said. “He talked so much [expletive]. I just wanted to hit him. But Coach wouldn’t let us hit him.”
Even back then there were some rules that Taylor didn’t break.