On his way to becoming arguably the greatest defensive player in the history of the NFL, New York Giants legend Lawrence Taylor became notorious for being brilliant on the field in spite of the way his loose cannon playing style extended to his life off the field. Though his lifestyle off the field veered into the realm of recklessness, seemingly nothing could get in the way of Taylor pressing the attack on Sundays and terrorizing opposing offenses -- not even an all-nighter and a lack of sleep.
Speaking on FanSided's Stacking the Box podcast, former Giants center and franchise great Bart Oates recalled how Taylor did not need to rest before game days, recalling a specific story where Taylor dominated a game against Washington despite showing up to the game just before kickoff after a night of partying at Atlantic City.
"His room was next to mine at the hotel -- even home games we'd stay in a hotel the night before -- and there was a curfew," Oates said. "Lawrence was there and he was [at] curfew. Then the door opens, he's gone. He goes down to Atlantic City ... we were playing the Washington Redskins [Football Team] next day, and he comes back, has a limo drop him off at the stadium after being down in Atlantic City all night. Takes out this wad of cash -- I remember there was this wad of cash, just hundreds, and he throws them up there. Gets his stuff on.
"He's there like 40 minutes before the game starts. He goes out and has 3.5 sacks, he dominates the game and just kills [Washington]. That's Lawrence Taylor. That's who he is."
Based on game logs from when they were both on the Giants, Oates may very well have been talking about Taylor's performance in Week 8 of his MVP season in 1986. In a Monday night game against Washington, Taylor sacked Jay Schroeder three times as the Giants won 27-20 on their way to winning Super Bowl XXI. With 20.5 sacks on the season for a legendary Giants defense, Taylor was named NFL MVP at season's end -- still the most recent defensive player to earn the award.
A large part of Taylor's individual legend as one of the most-feared defensive players of all-time was just how much his dominance was a product of sheer talent and physical relentlessness alone. Oates' story is just one more illustration of that, and just one of many stories that have been told throughout the years of the way Taylor's on and off-field lives intertwined.