Lawrence Taylor is a former professional football player who spent his entire career as a linebacker for the NFL's New York Giants (1981–1993). After an All-American career at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill (UNC) (1978–1981), Taylor was drafted by the Giants as the second overall selection in the 1981 NFL Draft.
Although controversy surrounded the selection due to Taylor's contract demands, the two sides quickly resolved the issue. Taylor won several defensive awards after his rookie season. Taylor was the first player to win the AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year award in his rookie season. Throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, Taylor was a disruptive force at outside linebacker, and is credited with changing defensive game plans, defensive pass rushing schemes, offensive line blocking schemes, and offensive formations used in the NFL. Taylor produced double-digit sacks each season from 1984 through 1990, including a career-high of 20.5 in 1986. He also won a record three AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year awards and was named the league's MVP for the 1986 season. Taylor is one of only two defensive players in the history of the NFL to have ever won the NFL MVP award (the other one being Alan Page in 1971) and no defensive player has won since him (as of 2021).
He worked as a color commentator on sporting events after his retirement, pursued a career as an actor and even wrote an autobiography.