Archive for the ‘Lawrence Taylor’ Category

The Best Offensive Player of All Time?

July 2, 2009

If LT is the greatest Defensive Player of all time, then this guy is arguably the greatest Offensive Player of all time. I saw highlights, I saw stats, but the most impressive thing is that many decades later, people still compare his domination to that of Michael Jordan in basketball. We even heard that from Benigno too. You can argue Jerry Rice (Wonder’s pick) or one of the QBs like Unitas/Montana/Elway/Marino. But how do you argue with a guy who AVERAGED 100+ yards per game HIS ENTIRE CAREER?! Who never missed a game?! Who never missed a Pro Bowl?! I’ll take Jim Brown and LT as my two (offensive and defensive) best players ever.

LT

December 20, 2008

Mitch gave us the heads up on LT being on WFAN. Long, great. LT.

Parcells is about confidence, a vision of how to do things, you buy into it.

Parcells had the flexibility to roll with LT

’86 Giants beat the ’90 Giants in a matchup.

We physically beat people up on the ’86 team. From the point of 4th and 17, no team was able to play with us after that point in the season, men vs boys. (xtian, I think LT just vindicated me)

1st SB win you are excited. 2nd Super Bowl run was like the Giants last year, not the best team in personnel, played better as a team. Sweet year. Loves Phil, but with Hostetler that might have been why we won, he came into the mix late in the season, QB hurts teams when he scrambles, brought a new dimension, picks up that crucial first down at that time of the season, people are tired. (ultimatenyg note: you have to encourage Manning to run at least once per game.. if a severely restricted Romo and an older McNabb can do it to burn you, Eli must burn defenses this way too)

Super Bowl XXV: LT joked about how Parcells didn’t scout out the hotel well, because there was a strip club across the street in Tampa.

On big games, we (the defense) never had to worry about being outcoached… Belichick was going to come up with something. He drew it up, concocted stuff, still amazes LT.

When Howard forces the fumble in SF to go to Super Bowl XXV, LT was in the right place at the right time to recover the fumble. He jokes, “I was in the wrong place my share of times too!” (For more of these stories, the bars, the drugs, the women.. a quick, fast and entertaining read- “LT: Over The Edge”)

Learned in his junior year of college that he could be great. Learned that football is not about making every play. There are 5-6-7X a game, you are in a position to make the play, that is what you do, to change the outcome of the game.

On getting drafted second, passed over by the Saints..living in New Orleans?!.. I would have been in rahab 10 years earlier! Lucky for me I didn’t get picked (by Bum Phillips)!!!

Parcells rode LT’s butt every day in first training camp. “Trade me, cut me, whatever you want to do, but get off my back.” That was the end, best of friends from that moment on. At the end of camp, Parcells called 6 veterans and LT into the (defensive coordinator’s) office for a meeting, LT was wondering what he was doing in there. Parcells says to the entire group- everyone here in this room is in awe of (the things) you (can do). He hasn’t played a single down in an NFL game yet! But Parcells was letting LT (and everyone else who was important) know that LT was going to be let loose on other teams. (My editorial remark here is this is one of the reasons why Shockey was wasted.. Shockey desperately needed a coach like Parcells who could LEAD HIM, put parameters around what was acceptable (touchdowns) and what not acceptable (demanding the ball, celebrating first downs, showing up your QB), someone who Shockey’s pea brain could respect and understand that this guy understands my skill, return the play with focus on getting done what needed to get done. I could hear the conversation right now… Parcells: don’t you give orders to MY quarterback, shut your mouth, stop worrying about him, I’ll make sure we get u the ball, you catch the ball, let me worry about him. We see the nightmare that was Ray Handley.. when LT was on that team he had Steve DeOssie change the Rod Rust bullbrown read and react in the huddle to allow for LT to make the plays. Point is that I will go to my grave knowing in my heart that a coach like Parcells would have done tremendous things for Shockey. It is hard to see that now, with him being the idiot crybaby, but LT without a disciplined system, playing in a loser organization, would have quite possibly been a Chuck Muncie crackhead who made some Pro Bowls but then wasted his talent from lack of direction.)

Gholsten: Great body, what is wrong? Can’t pick it up yet. When a guy is given a responsibility to do some type of coverage, he needs to know why he is doing that, how his role is going to help the defense on that play. Natural talent. Needs to recognize the (offensive) strengths. Once LT learned where the other defensive players were, when he knew where the other players were going to be, he could extend his range. Gholsten has ability. Get in film room, see what he sees, work on his concept of understanding what is going on. Everyone was learning the 3-4 at the same time when LT came in, Gholsten is going to be a helluva player. Compared this situation to DeMarcus Ware, how terrible Ware was (his rookie year).

LT wanted to know why he wasn’t getting the concession for all the 56 jerseys being sold and worn in the stadium.

Only one LT. LaDanian Tomlinson, LT calls him “BLT,” Baby LT.

3rd year, so hot, in Washington, needed an IV, his best single game performance probably.

Munoz, span of 3 years the linemen of Dallas.. so big, was trouble for him. James Wilder was one of the best RBs he played against, like Brandon Jacobs, not very fast, but by the time he got to the line, he was solid, by the time you get to the 4th quarter, you don’t want to hit that guy.

His rookie year, offenses played him straight up. Defensive player of the year. Didn’t play him straight up after that! SF and Washington had the ‘G block’ where the Guard would pull and pick him up. Slide of the TE. Chip block before going into route. Playing GB, trying to break Gastineau’s record, and they beat him up so bad, 9 sacks for the team, but nothing for LT because they were throwing everyone at him. Parcells pulled him out to save him from getting hurt! (Funny what the brain remembers, because yes, LT had 20.5 sacks on the verge of gtg the record, but the team only had TWO sacks in the game!)

LT was (warning, editorial remark) surprisingly smart about not wanting to give Detroit the bailout money. Understood that banktruptcy was not a death sentence, that things needed to get straightened out there as opposed to throwing more money at it.

Earl Campbell can’t walk, the NFL won’t help him. NFL player pension is a joke.

LT made 2.5M in his best year. By the time he was retiring, free agency started, Mike Fox (who wasn’t a starter) was getting 2.5M for Carolina!

LT plays a minimum of 18 holes of golf every day! (In the Simms interview (another good, long one, we’ll have some remarks tomorrow), Francesa says that LT plays 36 holes EVERY day, a scratch golfer, and now getting good enough to scratch in pro-am tournaments.) LT hustles the current NFL players in golf, LOL! Brian Kelly, Al Del Greco, John Elway, Phil Simms all good golfers. Charles Barkley is bad, so bad that even Charles laughs at himself.

Team that he hated the most, disliked SF, they tried to finesse it. PHL, DAL, WASH, those were the good games. 11 on 11, best team won. Francesa inferred that Shawn Merriman reminds LT of himself.

That ’89 lost season was the worst, the Flipper Anderson game. Everett s’d but against the Giants he lit us up. Second SB, no one saw it coming, that was what made it enjoyable… this was similar to Carl Banks saying how 2007 was just like 1990. The Giants players did not realize they could win the SF NFC Championship until Q4. DL did not start making its impact until Q3, and that was when the team started thinking that they has them on the run, they could do something here.

Giants OL of 2008.. this team reminds him of the ’86 team. This team’s doing a lot of good things, this is something (coming back from the prev year’s success) that not even WE could do in those days. Tuck, Kiwanuka- these guys are athletes. Not a LB team, Osi and Strahan gone, very impressed with depth, wonders aloud how he could have done if he had that line in front of him.

Hitting Walter Payton was like hitting a wall of bricks, solid. Great person. Sanders Top 5. LT’s Top 5 Running Backs of All Time: Jim Brown, Earl Campbell, OJ Simpson, Barry Sanders, Eric Dickerson, Walter Payton. Yes, there are six here, but at different points in the conversation he would throw out Campbell, then he would have a hard time of picking 2 out of the last three on the list.

Neil Lomax was a tough SOB, he stood in there, took the punishment, stayed in until he delivered the ball. The NFC East had all the good QBs, White, Jaworski, Theisman, Lomax. Montana changed the whole game.

LT tells Strahan re the Giants sack record: (a) my first year they didn’t count the sacks (b) I had not one but TWO strike years in ’82 and ’87 not to collect those sacks AND (c) they didn’t rule stripped fumbles as sacks for the first ~ 3 years.

Ultimatenyg here: For those of you out there who are not old enough to have been able to see LT play, get some video. He was the single best NFL player I have ever seen, period. Not Giants best, not defensive best, THE best player I have seen ever. I have heard that Jim Brown was considered the best player of all time, and that may be true. But from 1969 to present, in my lifetime in the NFL, there was no one better. How many players CHANGED THE GAME? I’d argue one, LT. After coming back to the sideline after a successful defensive stand where LT changed his assignment in mid play with the typical great result, Parcells would ask in a confounded mixture of awe and dismay, “What did you do there? That wasn’t in the playbook.” .. LT would simply reply- “Well, then it should be!” LT rewrote the playbook. The best I have seen.

George Young speaks

October 11, 2008

This week, Plaxico Burress came back. (Pat Hanlon, quoting the late) George Young: “We are not in the business of well-adjusted human beings.”

Here are some more quotes from the former GM of the Giants…

On Bill Parcells: “Bill knows what defense he’ll call during the second series three games from now. He doesn’t know what he’s doing in his own life three days from now.”

On Parcells’ unscheduled departure in May 1991: “I wasn’t happy Bill left, not at all.”

On hiring Ray Handley: “My worst decision.”

On his new job in 1979 at the Meadowlands: “It’s a funny place. Everybody’s named either Vinny or Whitey.”

Young on player agents: “The three characteristics that I hate most in a person are arrogance, mendacity and greed. And these guys have all three.”

Another word used by Young to describe agents- “Cockroaches.”

On the feud between Tim and Wellington Mara: “I’m just Irish enough to know that you don’t take one side or another, or they’ll both turn on you.”

On his head coaching personnel decisions: “Always hire somebody you know. That way you have a good idea of what the person’s like. No surprises.”

And some more of his insight on hiring: “You hire somebody with a high energy level. And something to prove.”

On picking Phil Simms with his first pick as the new Giants GM: “You’ve got to assert yourself. You just can’t be reacting to what people think you should do. You don’t often wind up with a great arm and the intelligence to go with it. It’s the kind of opportunity that might not occur for another two years. When you get it, you’ve got to take it.”

On picking LT with the #2 pick in the 1981 draft: “I thought they would take George Rogers, the Heisman Trophy running back, but I didn’t stop sweating until they did.”

On picking his heir apparent, Ernie Accorsi: “He knows who to talk to, and he knows who not to listen to.”

On passing up driving a Mercedes Benz that was offered to him: “(Legendary Steelers owner) Mr. Rooney drove a Buick all his life. That’s good enough for me.”

On players- “It’s about the money. And when they say it’s not about the money, then it is definitely about the money.”

On Karl Nelson considering a choice of careers after playing football: “too well-adjusted to coach.”

“There’s one big difference between college and pro football. In college you have your name on the jersey for four years and you graduate. In the pros, the name on the jersey may be the same for nine or 10 years but the athlete isn’t the same guy.”

As for his place in sports, he knew he would be remembered as: “..the other George in New York.”

On going down to Washington DC to visit the White House after winning Super Bowl XXI: “It’s nice to be here surrounded by the Secret Service instead of by the Redskins.”

One more thing on George Young… for those of you who have read “Good to Great” by Jim Collins, you will know that the great companies (/franchises) have succession plans that are built to last and not built to fail. Young hired both Ernie Accorsi and Jerry Reese. This third title has some of Young’s hand in it. Considering he drafted Strahan and Toomer, perhaps more.

Top 10 Pass Rushers of All Time

June 18, 2008

It is so hard, nearly impossible to track and accurately rate run-stoppers. Finding clips of meat and potatoes run tackling is not there. So for Strahan’s NFL eulogy we will give the list of the Top 10 Pass Rushers of All Time.

10. Derrick Thomas Poor Man’s LT that had his life cut short. The Chiefs (coincidentally or uncoincidentally) have not recovered since his loss.

9. Doug Atkins
..this was worth listening to just to hear the Voice of God (aka John Facenda) for a few moments.

8. Mark Gastineau

7. Michael Strahan This is some collection of players, but if I had to have anyone on this list on a running play I would take Strahan. How many on this list can you say were better at the run than the pass? Strahan was.

6. Kevin Greene Juice, imo.

5. Gino Marchetti I love what Marchetti said about Tarkenton-“he won’t last a year, (they’ll) kill him!”

4. Bruce Smith Wow did he put a lick on Esiason.

3. Lawrence Taylor Reinvented the game.

2. Reggie White Never liked the baloney he fed everyone when he left for Green Bay. As George Young said, when they say it isn’t about the money, it’s about the money.

1. Deacon Jones A shame they did not keep sack records back in his day, but he was the one who INVENTED the word ‘sack!’ As a kid growing up and watching football, he scared me. Mommy!

Do you start in your first game as a rookie?

May 5, 2008

With the exception of QB, ultimatenyg believes that the question a franchise should ask itself when picking that first rounder is- WILL THIS PLAYER START GAME ONE AS A ROOKIE? Some players are shot out like a cannon. They enter into the league and instead of fighting for a roster spot or playing time, they start game 1. And then they never leave. If it takes time to get settled into the league and a rookie takes a few games or a full season to break into the starting rotation, that is not a stain. No shame. But your #1 pick is different. This is one of the ~32 best players in the country by your own evaluation. Considering there are almost 1700 players on the roster for NFL teams, if you cannot find a player that can break in as a starter, then something is probably wrong. (DE is a second position next to QB that is extremely difficult for 22 year olds to physically manage, thereby making drafting one in the first round a true test of whether the choice is merited.)

This is not an ironclad rule. Matthias Kiwanuka is a good example of a very good pick at #32 in the first round. At DE, he was not expected to supplant two players (Umenyiora and Strahan) who went to the Pro Bowl the preceding year.

Here is a list of starters in Game 1 of their rookie season for the New York Giants in the past ten years.
2006 Cofield
2004 Wilson
2003 Diehl
2002 Shockey
(If you can comment on a player I may have missed, appreciated. My database does not give granularity, so a mistake is possible here.)

The point is that guys like Ronnie Lott and Lawrence Taylor, two notables who started their first game as a Pro and never left, cannot be held back. They move at a different speed and the pro game almost adjusts to them and not the other way around. Shockey was the same way, knocking over bodies in 2002’s preseason like bowling pins en route to an easy Pro Bowl selection. (…which is why I still maintain to this day that he is a resource which is woefully mismanaged.)

Will Kenny Phillips start for the Giants in Game 1? This will go a long way to determining whether he is a good pick for the Giants. The Giants have the following coming to camp at this position:
1) Butler- a starter noted for his efficient tackling but slow speed
2) Johnson- a #7 rounder who started a handful of games as a rookie after others got hurt, plays with aggressiveness (a polite way of saying that he is playing hard but does not necessarily make all the right decisions yet)
3) Knight- a smart veteran who plays strong up at the line yet (because of age) can get beat by a TE in coverage

The logic is that this is not a particularly deep set of incumbents. If Phillips is any good he should be starting against Washington on Thursday night in the Meadowlands.

A Conversation with Arnie V.

March 26, 2008

Arnie V. is one of the charter members of the ultimatenyg crew, having been in the original email group that was the humble beginnings of this blog. Today he shares with us some of his thoughts about the Giants and the game he has watched for many decades.

Ultimatenyg: When did you start going to Giants games?

Arnie: “In 1939. I was 6 years old. I was at the game on December 7, 1941. Word spread through the crowd about Pearl Harbor. Back in those days the portable radios were too large (to bring) and all we heard from the announcer was calls for Admiral So and So to call his office and General So and So to call his office. We were playing the Brooklyn Dodgers, a franchise that would end up folding during the war. In fact, during the war the NFL consolidated and you had teams like the Steelers and the Eagles merged. They called them the ‘Steagles.'”

You were at the Colts-Giants 1958 game also?

“Yes. But I did not find that loss as painful as Marvelous did. You see, for me, the Giants had to beat Cleveland not once but twice at the end of the season in order for us to get to the championship game. So it was not as bad for me because I felt that we already had a few pieces of good fortune just to get to that game.”

Any color on the game itself?

“We had come back to take the lead and actually had the ball with a 3 pt. lead when Gifford was running with the ball on 3rd down. Gifford swears to this day that he made the first down. But on the play, Gino Marchetti broke his leg, and Gifford contends that the confusion led to a wrong spot. We had to kick, and the rest is history.”

What was different about the game back then?

“For starters, without free agency, a player was with a team and that was it. Trades did not occur that often. The furor when Huff was traded to the Redskins was enormous. There was very little movement of players from one team to another. Second, obviously the players are bigger and faster today. Third, you had players that used to play both ways. Chuck Bednarik played for the Eagles- he was a Center on offense and a Middle Linebacker on defense. He once hit Gifford so hard that he knocked him out for that season and the next season.”

How has the game changed which is positive?

“The popularity. When I was growing up, Baseball was #1 by a wide margin. College football was much more popular than the Pro game. Today Pro Football is the #1 sport and it benefits from all the attention and interest.”

How has the game changed which is negative?

“The game is now all about the money. Ticket prices are high. The game is for TV and not for the people going to the game. We get cold weather games at night in winter. I am afraid to look at the schedule for what they are going to do to us now that we won the Super Bowl. We’ll be on a lot at night again.”

With Brett Favre having retired, there has been a lot of discussion about his place in history as one of the ten best quarterbacks of all time. Who are your 10 best QB’s?

“Well, I read the blog with what Marvelous had and I agree with every one of his picks. I really cannot offer anyone else who I would have in there. The only person who might be in there is Sid Luckman, but I would keep the 10 that Marvelous had.” (Ultimatenyg note for Marvelous’ Top 10: Unitas, Montana, Elway, and thereafter in no order, Favre, Baugh, Graham, Bradshaw, Marino, Manning and Starr.)

Who was the best Giants player you ever saw?

“LT.”

Anyone else who was close, or honorable mention?

“Gifford.”

Best Giants team?

“The 1986 team that went on to win Super Bowl XXI was the best in my opinion. Everyone made such a big deal about the Patriots winning 18 straight, and they were 18-1. But that Giants team was 17-2 and they were the most dominant Giants team I ever saw. They lost the first game of the season to Dallas on Monday night and proceeded to go 17-1 in the remaining games, which is nearly identical to what the Patriots had done. And of course they won the Championship as well.”

Best Giants play?

“The ‘Miracle in the Desert’ has to be it. It was the culmination of the unbelievable. I used to think the best play was that hit of Montana by Burt in the ’86 playoffs (Giants 49 SF 3) that LT picked off and ran in for a TD, but it was eclipsed by the Manning to Tyree play.”

So 2007 is the best year for you?

“Yes. This year was so unexpected. 2007-8 was the best year because the whole playoff run was one great win after another.”

Most Painful loss?

“The biggest loss had to be the 49ers playoff loss in the 2002-3 season when we blew the 38-14 lead. The Jets loss in 1988 at the end of the season which kept us out of the playoffs was a close second.”

Did you see/predict the old Eli becoming the new Eli?

“No, and certainly not that quick. I was a moderate Eli critic. The Draft Day trade for him seemed very expensive. I was not overly enthusiastic. But now you have to believe that he has the confidence to play at a higher level, so that the new Eli will be with us from now on. I do not mean that he won’t have bad games anymore, but I think we will see better play from him.”

You were one of the more bullish people for 2007. What do you look for in 2008?

“I would be surprised if we had a bad year. I am looking for a good winning season and the playoffs. Maybe deep playoffs.”

Thanks Arnie.