Belichick calls Lawrence Taylor the greatest defensive player in NFL history

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Before he was head coach of the Patriots, Bill Belichick was linebackers coach and defensive coordinator of the Giants, where he spent 10 years coaching Lawrence Taylor. During that time, Belichick now says, he coached the best defensive player ever to play in the NFL.

Belichick made his comments on NFL Network’s program unveiling the Top 100 players in NFL history. Taylor was chosen as one of the linebackers.

“I had the honor of coaching the greatest defensive football player in the history of the game. He helped make me a great coach,” Belichick said.

Belichick recalled a 1981 playoff game when Taylor lined up as a punt gunner and forced a fumble, and Belichick says Taylor could have played anywhere on the field.

“This guy could do it all. Offense, defense, special teams. Wherever you wanted him to play, he could have been a great two-way player,” Belichick said.

For his part, Taylor appeared on the show and said he considers Reggie White the greatest defensive player in history.

“When I look at the best defensive player to ever play the game, I don’t put myself No. 1,” Taylor said. “I’m looking at Reggie White as No. 1.”

67 responses to “Belichick calls Lawrence Taylor the greatest defensive player in NFL history

  1. When all is said and done, Belichick and Taylor are both right. These “best of” things get tiresome but you can’t go wrong with either player amongst a handful of others who are in the conversation as well.

  2. Taylor was special when contained within 100 yards with screaming fans. He was a time-bomb everywhere else.

  3. I’ll take Butkus… all-time leader in both fumble recoveries and interceptions by a linebacker when he retired, and as feared a player as ever stepped on the field, in the most brutal era in the game’s history, when athletes were beginning to be of modern size and speed but the rules were still literally no holds barred.
    But there’s neither value nor validity in comparing disparate eras… the game, the athletes, the world, have simply changed too much. Best of their era, to me, is all you can say. And LT was certainly the best of his era, probably at any position.

  4. No one was even close. He really made stripping the ball a main priority with sacks etc. He always came up big with forced fumbles, sacks or interceptions when a big play was needed. Not just meaningless stats. For younger fans to give you a comparison of his presence, it was like Von Millers Super Bowl performance against Carolina, except LT played like that every playoff game and 80 percent of every regular game he was in.

  5. It’s fun to watch, but the NFL Network just “glossed over” most of the defensive lineman and linebackers. Most of the show was all about Ray Lewis, LT, Reggie White, and Joe Greene. Kinda pathetic actually. Should make it 2 hours to give all those other great players their due.

  6. I would agree with Belichick on this one. And although he was before my time, from the way I’ve always heard how dominant he was and seeing video clips, I would consider Dick Butkus above Reggie White.

  7. Even when LT wasn’t wrecking offenses and destroying QBs, he was making them absolutely just crap in their pants.

  8. i always assumed that the coke gave LT the xtra juice that other players didn’t have…i wonder what Bill’s un-guarded feelings are on that..

  9. If they did drug tests like they do today he would not be the best of all time. I dont agree. Ding drugs before and during games can do wonders.

  10. frankthefightingfanboy says:
    November 30, 2019 at 7:52 am

    Just do your job Bill and stop prepping for your upcoming media gig.

    ******************

    Are you not aware that the work and filming on these shows were done during the off season?

  11. MortimerInMiami says:
    November 30, 2019 at 9:08 am
    Nope.
    Mean Joe Greene is the best defensive player ever.
    LT free lanced against weak OTs to pad his stats, couldn’t handle the trenches.

    ———-
    Hush child…..Bill is talking

  12. Hush child…..Bill is talking

    Ya and only children like you are hanging on his every word…..amusing. While he could be correct about Taylor it would seem more reasonable if the player was not some how tied to Bill because as you well know it’s all about Bill and the players he coaches.

  13. The scary part was back in 84 if White didnt go to the USFL parcels said he would taken him at #3 instead of Carl Banks. Now it all worked out but white and Taylor on the same team. Belichick would have had a field day

  14. These things are so subjective. All I remember though was being glued to the TV when LT was on the field because just like you watching Michael Jordan. You just never knew when they were going to do something incredible. I know there have been lots of good players in the NFL but LT was the first guy I ever saw that could absolutely take over the game. He was just a game-wrecker.

  15. Vasteelerfan says:
    November 30, 2019 at 9:58 am

    Ya and only children like you are hanging on his every word…..amusing. While he could be correct about Taylor it would seem more reasonable if the player was not some how tied to Bill because as you well know it’s all about Bill and the players he coaches.
    —————
    LT was selected unanimously by the panel of 26 … but let’s make it about your hatred of anything Belichick

  16. Cocaine is a hell of a drug!
    For that reason he shouldn’t even be considered.
    No different than Sammy Sosa and the steroids in baseball.

  17. Two quick stories: The Washington Redskins of the 1980s (three Lombardis in 11 years with three different QBs) were 12-4 in 1986. All three losses were to the LT Giants, the third being in the NFC Championship game. Joe Gibbs had to invent a new offense (the one back with H-back, or tight end in the backfield) simply to try to contain LT. In the second of the three games, LT had 3 1/2 sacks, a forced fumble and an interception.

    in 1988, LT separated his right shoulder in the Dome against the Saints. he went to the sideline and they jury rigged something to strap his right shoulder in. He was in tears on the sideline due to the pain. He went back in forced two fumbles, intercepted a pass, and had 3 sacks in a game the Giants had to win, and did, 13-12 on a last second field goal. Parcells later said it was the most courageous performance on a football field he had ever seen.

  18. I disagree with Bill. I’m convinced that Lawrence Taylor purposely wanted to do serious harm to opposing players or MORE when he was on the field!

  19. Mean Joe Greene was unblockable the first six years of his career. An injury to his left shoulder and nerve damage slowed him after than, and he ‘only’ won two more Lombardis and four more Pro Bowl designations. after than. Defensive Player of the Year twice (LT only once). The only reason he didn’t rate above LT was the LT could play special teams (early in his career) and cover in pass defense as well (rare but it did happen). Not a knock against Mean Joe, as I saw them both play. Mean Joe was as fast sideline to sideline as LT, and as the Football Life documentary said, he was the fastest guy on the team for the first five yards

  20. Belichick is not only a fantastic HC but he has great knowledge and judgement regarding NFL history. He was right about Paul Brown being the best overall HC (with Belichick close behind). And he’s right about Lawrence Taylor as best defensive player.

  21. Dick Butkus was the single most dominating defensive force in history. The Bears were so bad back then that Butkus was triple teamed on every play. The guy was everywhere: sacking QB, Intercepting pases (25) and moving sideline to sideline with little help.

    After his second year, LT was strictly a great pass rusher on a tremendous team. Lets see how good LT would be on a terrible team like the 60-70s Bears

  22. xbam says:
    November 30, 2019 at 9:22 am
    i always assumed that the coke gave LT the xtra juice that other players didn’t have…i wonder what Bill’s un-guarded feelings are on that..

    —-

    I’m sure LT was the only athlete doing coke in the 1980s. Just him. He had the secret connection and it propelled him to be the greatest defensive player of his era where otherwise, you may have never heard of him.

    Makes sense.

  23. So Bill coached both the greatest defensive and offensive players of all time. Coincidence ?
    ————————————————————————
    Randy Moss was a tremendous talent, but not the greatest offensive player of all time. That would be exclusively and only Jim Brown.

  24. Completely subjective on my part but having grown up in the 70’s I’ll give the edge to Greene. Followed by Butkus, LT, Lott, and White.

  25. I remember in the 1987 season if memory serves a play where LT charger in unblocked and teed up Steve Grogan. You saw it coming a mile away and held your breath. Then at the last moment Grogan senses him and shimmies in terror before ducking. LT had left his feet and ended up flying OVER Grogan, tumbling over Grogan’s arched back. Grogan unfurled himself, straightening up in a jiff and tossing the ball a good 10 yards forward toward the turf in the hopes of grounding it. That’s when Carl Banks made a lunging INT. I had never seen another play like it. The ESPN Sunday night commentator remarked, “Lawrence Taylor is still wondering where Steve Grogan went.” I looked for it on YouTube but I could never find it.

  26. I always thought Jerome Brown was as good if not better than Reggie White while Brown was alive. As for LT he was easily the best defensive player I’ve ever seen. He basically created the pass rushing linebacker position. Just the presence of him on the field changed the game and gave quarterbacks mental breakdowns. Nobody affected the game like LT defensively.

  27. omeletpants says:
    November 30, 2019 at 11:38 am

    Lets see how good LT would be on a terrible team like the 60-70s Bears
    ————————————————————————————
    How do you propose we do this?

  28. Not surprising that great coaches go hand and hand with great players. It’s not a coincidence that the Defensive GOAT played for Belichick when he was his defensive coordinator and that the Offensive GOAT played for him when he was his head coach.

    Taylor was a dominating physical presence with an unmatched will to win and Brady is a dominating mental presence with an unmatched will to win.

  29. the stories being told on this are an awesome insight to how the game used to be played. my biggest takeaway from this all 100 series is that players nowadays cant hold a candle to these former greats. games too technical and soft nowadays. i miss the grimy low resolution slugfests of the 70s and 80s. i wasnt born early enough to watch football before then but the clips from then are so grainy and great. i cant even think of an intimidating defensive player in the league anymore.

  30. I’ll believe Belichick, but did you see the highlight where Reggie White just tossed Larry Allen to the side with one hand? That was insane. Larry Allen was the best OL of that era.

  31. Belichick has won 123 games this decade, the most in NFL history, with 5 games to go. Hard to see that record being beat.

  32. Cocaine is a hell of a drug!
    For that reason he shouldn’t even be considered.
    No different than Sammy Sosa and the steroids in baseball.

    ————————-

    I’ve read a lot of stupid things on here. This is one of the stupidest.

  33. superfanentertainment says:
    November 30, 2019 at 1:25 pm

    Sorry Bill, but you are mistaken. Toss up between Reggie and Butkus.
    ———————————————————————————–
    It’s shocking that they did not ask you to be on this show instead of Belichick.

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