There may have never been a more feared man to step on the football field than New York Giants all-time great Lawrence Taylor. The Hall of Fame edge rusher played with the type of tenacity and balls-to-the-wall motor that kept opposing offensive tackles up at night and quivering in their cleats come game day.
But did opponents dread playing Taylor even more than arguably the only man whose initials are more widely recognized than L.T.’s? That, of course, being none other than Mr. Michael Jordan. According to two out of three New York Giants writers in a recent Fact or Fiction segment on Giants.com, the answer is a resounding yes.
Football players dreaded facing Lawrence Taylor more than basketball players did with Michael Jordan.
Schmeelk: Fact – Michael Jordan would challenge you both mentally and physically and do everything he could to beat you. Defeating him when he was at the peak of his powers was near impossible. He wasn’t Lawrence Taylor, who struck actual fear into the players he faced. Football is a far more physical game than basketball. While Jordan could embarrass opponents with his sheer athleticism, Taylor could physically dominate opponents and make them concerned for their well-being. He was scary. He was a force of nature. He inspired dread more than any basketball player could. If Lance doesn’t select fiction on this, I will eat his Air Jordan’s for breakfast.
Salomone: Fact – I’m going to keep this short. Opponents feared losing when they played Michael Jordan; opponents worried about their health when they faced Lawrence Taylor. That’s a big difference. That will keep you up the night before games – and afterward, too.
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Do Jordan’s Two-Way Abilities Give Him the Edge?
In regards to Taylor, he won with pure athleticism and physical prowess. Taylor was straight-up scary and dominant.
However, Lance Medow wasn’t buying what his fellow Giants writers were selling. He chose Jordan in what appeared to be a landslide, mainly due to the fact that Taylor’s effect on the game was limited solely to defense.
Taylor’s impact was limited to one side of the ball, whereas Jordan played both. When opponents played against Jordan, they had to worry about defending him and trying to solve his defense. Opposing defensive players didn’t have to worry about LT so much.
Taylor on Jordan: ‘He’s From Another Planet’
Taylor knows firsthand Jordan’s will to be the best is out of this world. “Of all the people I know, he’s probably the most competitive person I know,” Taylor told The New York Post, of his fellow North Carolina alumn.
Taylor detailed his friendship with M.J., revisiting pickup games the two used to take part in when the Giants all-time great would return to campus.
“My senior year when I went to the Giants, I came back to school to finish up that summer,” Taylor said “and he was there at Carolina getting ready for the season, but we played a lot of basketball, we hung out a lot. I consider him a good friend.”
While Jordan’s college basketball teammate, Buzz Peterson, recently proclaimed Taylor struck “fear” into Jordan on the hardwood, Taylor’s comments appear to paint a different picture.
“I am not a critiquer of basketball. I played football,” Taylor said. “The guy was phenomenal. And sometimes you think he’s from another planet. The things he can do you don’t see every day. Every hundred million people that are born, there may be one like him, OK?”