Growing up there was no more dominant defensive figure than the New York Giants outside linebacker Lawrence Taylor, the imposing figure in blue and white who gave offensive coordinators nightmares for over a decade.
LT as he was known was one of the most influential, if not THE most influential defensive player that ever played the game. He struck fear in the hearts of opponents, from offensive tackles to tight-ends to full-backs (who were commonplace in the 1980s).
I don’t think it is possible to see the number #56 on an american football players shirt without thinking of Lawrence Taylor, ears pinned-back, haring around an offensive tackle en-route to a devastating quarterback sack, and on many occasions a forced fumble.
Not may athletes can lay claim to a number as theirs, with the exception of a few (Jerry Rice #80, Joe Montana #16, Reggie White #92, Mark Gastineau #99 come to mind immediately) and just seeing that #56 makes me think relentless pass-rush, chaos in the pocket and thwack as a quarterback bites the dust.
Taylor was not without troubles in his life, having been a heavy drinker and a former cocaine addict, his sheer will to cause havoc on the field was paralleled in his desire to live a flamboyant hedonistic life outside of football.
He earned millions and flushed millions down the toilet, but no-one will be able to take away from him that he won two Super Bowl titles, earning two heavyweight Super Bowl rings.
Taylor gave his rings to his son, and this is where we are up to today, May 19 2012, 2.00pm (UK time) as his Super Bowl XXV (25) ring is currently part of an online auction.
I have just been onto the auction site and this, ‘life-worn’ ring is now at a highest bid of $98,525, having had 23 people submit bids all over the reserve price of $10,000.
With just over 12 hours to go to bid it is highly likely that the ring will fetch over $100,000.
Not that I have the money, but if I did, I would certainly move the bid into six-figures. After all this was the 25th Super Bowl, the one that Whitney Houston sung at, the one that took place during the Gulf War, the one that ended with the infamous Scott Norwood “wide-right” kick at the death.
LT’s son – Lawrence Jnr is the one selling the ring. It was Lawrence Jnr who inducted his father into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, with a speech that included the following lines: “When I was young growing up in New Jersey, which I live now, I knew my dad was special. But not only to me, but to other people. When I was young, going to school people used to ask me to get my dad to sign all kinds of things. And I was even more convinced then that my dad was special not only to me but to them too.”
Its a shame that Lawrence Jnr has to sell his fathers ring, I have to confess I don’t know why, but I do know if LT was my father I wouldn’t sell that ring for all the tea in China.
Shame on you Lawrence Jnr – your children and their children will miss out on wearing a piece of NFL history that is worth more than the money the gold an the jewels that makes it.