The Art of Sport with Lawrence Taylor — in the September Issue of Yankees Magazine

By Alfred Santasiere III

September 12, 2016 — Earlier this season, I sat down with one of the single greatest football players in history for an Art of Sport Q&A feature in the September Issue of Yankees Magazine.

On a humid night in July, Lawrence Taylor — whose penchant for sacking the quarterback from the outside linebacker position revolutionized the sport — was at Yankee Stadium to watch a live baseball game for the first time in his life. From a Stadium suite, I spoke with Taylor about his storied career.

“I can’t believe I’ve never been to a game in all of the years since I came to the Giants,” Taylor said at the beginning of the interview. “But this is a beautiful place to watch a baseball game. The Yankees fans remind me of our Giants fans. They’re knowledgeable and passionate.”

Our conversation quickly turned from baseball to football, and LT provided colorful answers to so many of my questions, including when I asked him to compare the two Super Bowl champion teams he played on during his 13 seasons with the New York Giants.

“In 1986, we just dominated teams,” said Taylor, who won the NFL’s MVP award that season. “We expected to win every time we took the field. On defense, we really didn’t think any group of guys could even compete with us, and on most Sundays that season, including the playoffs and the Super Bowl, we proved that to be right. Our 1990 team really had to fight for every victory. We found different ways to win every week. We weren’t as talented as the 1986 team, but when we won the Super Bowl that year, it was more satisfying because of how hard we had to work. There were three or four teams that were much better and much more talented than us on paper, including the San Francisco 49ers and the Buffalo Bills. Those teams didn’t have Bill Parcells coaching them, though, and they didn’t have our determination.”

The Pro Football Hall of Famer, who racked up 132 ½ career sacks, also spoke with me about how he succeeded in intimidating opposing quarterbacks.

“I would always try to make eye contact with the quarterback,” he said. “It didn’t take long for me to figure out if he was fearful of me. I could tell just by the way he looked at me. And then I would just take it from there and try not to let up the whole afternoon.”

The entire Q&A is in the September Issue of Yankees Magazine, along with a separate Art of Sport piece on Buffalo Bills legend Bruce Smith, the NFL’s all-time leader in sacks.

— Alfred Santasiere III

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