February 25, 2024


Pro Football Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor and future Canton, Ohio, inductee Tom Brady talked about the vast differences in the game from the way it was played from the 1980s to the 2020s.

Taylor, Brady and legendary sportscaster Jim Gray spoke about the differences in the rules during the latest episode of the “Let’s Go!” podcast earlier this week. The former New York Giants linebacker told Brady he wished he could have played in his era.

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Lawrence Taylor vs Cowboys

Lawrence Taylor, #56 of the New York Giants, in action against the Dallas Cowboys during an NFL football game Sept. 30, 1990 at The Meadowlands in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Focus on Sport/Getty Images)

“Tom, I will tell you, I wish I could have played back in your era,” the fearsome defender said. “I could see how you did all that you’ve done. Because you’ve done more than any other player could even think about doing from an offensive point of view. 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.

“You have some great skills, man. You should be very proud of what you’ve done. And I know you are very proud because when we look at the best and think about the best and reminisce about the best, your name’s gotta be on the top level, on the number one level right now. You’re the number one guy in football that I haven’t hit, OK?”

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Taylor admitted he did not think he would be as good in today’s game as he was in his prime “because of the rules.”

Tom Brady in Super Bowl

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady waves after defeating the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI at NRG Stadium in Houston Feb. 5, 2017. (Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports)

The seven-time Super Bowl champion quarterback said he did not like the way the rules have shaped the current game.

“I say the rules now are a lot different even than when I started,” Brady said. “And I’ve been on record for saying this, I’ve told Jim a thousand times, 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. And the reality is defenses should be aggressive.

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“There was a hit on Patrick Mahomes last night where he was running outta bounds, where he wasn’t even outta 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 outta 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.”

Lawrence Taylor honored

Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor attends a game between the New York Giants and the Indianapolis Colts on Nov. 3, 2014 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Taylor said he could not understand how a running back like the Philadelphia Eagles’ D’Andre Swift could be fined for running over a defensive back. He said he “probably wouldn’t last a game.”

Gray asked if he would get thrown out or conform to the rules.

“Have you ever known me to conform to anything?” Taylor responded with a laugh. “I would get thrown out. It’d been hard for me to play. I may have ended the season owing them money.”

Taylor was a two-time Super Bowl champion and won the Defensive Player of the Year and Defensive Rookie of the Year in his 1981 rookie season. He won the MVP in 1986, when the Giants won their first Super Bowl title.

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He recorded 142 sacks in his career, including 20.5 in that ’86 season.

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