When Lawrence Taylor entered the NFL, he changed the game forever. When teams saw that they were playing the New York Giants, offenses literally had to spend more time in practice figuring out how to keep L.T. from destroying their quarterback than they did actually running plays. When Taylor was on the field, he tore things up, and he wasn’t much different off the field either.
Taylor’s antics away from the game are well known. The parties, the women, the drugs, the hookers sent to opponents hotel rooms — these are the things that helped grow the L.T. legend. Still, no matter what the man did from Tuesday through Saturday when the Giants weren’t playing, he always showed up on game day. Of course, that doesn’t mean I don’t find it odd that now Taylor has advice for current Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress.
“You’ve got to realize that it’s all right to be an individual,” Taylor told the Daily News Tuesday. “I’m all for being an individual. You do your thing. But you’re still not above the team. When it starts to disrupt the team, then you have to revisit it and look at it and see if you’re doing it right.”
“[Bill Parcells and I] may have had a conflict, not of personalities, but between the way I wanted to do something and the way he wanted to do something, but the rules are the rules, and on Sunday, I planned on playing. I was going to pretty much try to get away with as much as I could, but I knew when you crossed the line.”
Yes, and you also knew when it was time to snort the line, didn’t you Lawrence? Anyway, back to the quote.
“The rules are the rules,” Taylor said. “I don’t know what the rules are over there, but I learned — and everybody learned — no one is above the team. Maybe they just can’t understand it. You’re going to have great players on every team. But no one is above the team.”
I’m not sure there is as much of a difference between Taylor and Plax — attitude wise, not talent — as much as there’s a difference in their coaches. Parcells generally just looked the other way when it came to L.T.’s life away from the field because he was Lawrence freaking Taylor. Tom Coughlin on the other hand doesn’t need Plaxico the way Parcells needed Taylor, so he can afford to discipline him when he feels the need to.
Still, no matter what the real situation is, if Lawrence Taylor of all people is coming out publicly and saying that I need to start following the rules, that’s when I start to wonder if maybe I have gone too far. It’s like Mike Vick yelling at somebody on the street for kicking a dog.