Lawrence Taylor will not give the Giants a pregame speech at the team hotel Saturday night or in the visitors’ locker room at FedEx Field on Sunday night.
But he’ll ask the 2022 Giants defense to play the kind of game he’s always played as the ringleader of a pack of mad dogs in so many games on his way to the Hall of Fame.
“Show me nuts!”
Bill Parcells never had to worry or wonder what mindset his beloved LT would play under similar circumstances;
“You just said it,” Taylor told The Post. “It’s a prime-time game, the playoffs are on the line. You just said everything you need to know about that game. Everything else is just preparation. Let’s do this, shall we? Let’s do this. You already know what’s at stake, right? If you can’t play when everything you’ve ever dreamed of and everything you’ve ever wanted is put into one game, if you can’t handle that challenge, then what’s left?
“These games define who you are.”
He defined himself as The Closer in the fourth quarter. Who showed some nuts to anyone who would dare stay in the path of his destruction.
“There are only seven to 10 plays in a game that make the difference,” Taylor said. “And you sit there and say, “Somebody’s got to do something, they’re kicking our ass” and so you do. You know what? The man who stands up and says: “Hey, okay, I’ll volunteer. I will do it – these are the guys to make it happen. These are the guys that are going to be popular around the league and stuff because when it’s introduced, they don’t assign it to anybody. They do it themselves.
“I wanted to be that person to make the play, so that’s what I’m going to do. And if I made the play, all the loot comes to me. Take the opportunity to show what you’re all about. Do or die, who will stand and make the play?’
LT loved playing against Washington because his dad rooted for them and because it was always a rough go with John Riggins and the Hogs.
“They’re going to run it, they’re going to throw it, and they’re going to test you until the end of the game,” Taylor said. “I loved it. There is no San Francisco dago where they throw the ball back to the quarterback and he throws it downfield. None of that bull. It’s straight football.”
Joe Gibbs called on 6-foot-7, 295-pound left tackle Joe Jacobi to keep the LT from disrupting the play.
“For the first few years, he did nothing but kick my ass until I figured out how to play with him,” Taylor said, “and from then until the end of my career, he wasn’t a problem.”
LT was a problem for Joe Theismann on one fateful Monday night in 1985. Theismann suffered a broken leg so horrific that Taylor still refuses to watch replays.
“I’m not the type that likes to watch things like that,” he said. “Until now, I have never seen the play. When it gets to that point, I’ll be able to fast forward, I don’t want to see it.”
He doesn’t like to talk about it. “It is what it is,” Taylor said. “Everybody plays hard. He found himself in a bad situation. His leg was between me and the football and that’s going to be a problem.”
LT was visibly upset when this happened and called the medical team to Washington’s side. He remembers how Theisman was sent away and shouted. “LT, LT, I’ll be back!” To which LT replied. “But not tonight.”
He called Teisman to the hospital. “We talked the next morning,” Taylor said. “I spoke to his wife before I spoke to him.”
He and Theismann see each other several times each year and have a good relationship. “I hate to see anybody get hurt in this game,” Taylor said. “And listen, he had to kiss my ass because he had a Lloyd’s of London policy that paid him about $4 million when we weren’t making $4 million as football players.”
A sweeter memory against Washington was the 17-0 loss in the 1986 NFC Championship Game at the infamous Giants Stadium. Taylor remembers the confetti falling and the feeling of excitement as the Giants headed to the Super Bowl.
“What a great game that was,” Taylor said. “The MVP of that game was Sean Landetta. If it wasn’t for Sean Landetta and his punching skills, we wouldn’t have won that game.”
That sent the Giants to Pasadena…where every one of them, starting with Phil Simms, showed John Elway and the Broncos nuts.