3. Lawrence Taylor, New York Giants
The New York Giants linebacker struck fear into the hearts of his opponents with his punishing tackling style and intimidating demeanor. At 6’3”, 235 pounds, Taylor had a combination of speed and strength that was unmatched in the NFL, and his ferocious rushing ability—and his gaudy sack total—redefined not only the linebacker role but also the jobs of offensive linemen who had to block him. The ferocious defender had over 130 sacks in his career, even though offenses often assigned two offensive lineman to block him. Taylor was the defensive anchor of two Super Bowl seasons with the New York Giants—including the stunning last-second victory against the Buffalo Bills after Scott Norwood’s wide right field goal—and is a defining player of the rough-and-tumble 1980s in the NFL.
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