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Lawrence Taylor on today’s rules: “I would have ended up owing them money”

Hall of Fame linebacker Lawrence Taylor, the only defensive player to win the MVP award other than Hall of Fame defensive tackle Alan Page, made a career out of big hits and physical intimidation. He’s concerned he wouldn’t make it in today’s NFL.

“I don’t think I could finish a game nowadays,” Taylor said on the latest episode of Tom Brady’s Let’s Go! podcast on SiriusXM.

Brady chimed in with his same-old criticism of the current rules, citing Sunday night’s flag thrown for a questionable sideline hit on Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

“The quarterbacks need to learn how to throw the ball away,” Brady said. “They need to learn how to read defenses so that they can get the ball out of their hands. I always felt like my best protection was getting rid of the ball. Even in my day, it would’ve been hard for you to sack me just because I knew how great you were and how fast I needed to throw the ball that day.”

“The game has changed a little bit, you know?” Taylor said. “Just a couple weeks ago I saw a running back [D’Andre Swift] get fined for trucking. What the hell is trucking? He got fined for running over the [defensive back]. I don’t understand that. The game has changed a little bit. I like the era that I played in because if I was playing nowadays, I probably wouldn’t last the game.”

Co-host Jim Gray asked whether Lawrence Taylor would have been thrown out of the league, or whether he would have conformed to the rules.

“Have you ever known me to conform to anything?” Taylor said. “I would get thrown out. It’d been hard for me to play. I may have ended the season owing them money.”

The simple truth is that no one can have it both ways. Fans and players can’t advocate for player safety in one breath and then, in the other, complain that football has gotten soft.

It’s either open season, or it’s not. Given the number of people who still long for the days of big hits and no consequences, it’s amazing no one has created an Old School Football League, which would find plenty of participants willing to sign a waiver and throw caution to the wind.

Maybe Brady can do that. If the owners don’t approve his effort to buy a piece of the Raiders, maybe he can create a football league that turns the clock back to 1986 and lets the players routinely knock each other’s blocks off.