7 Linebackers Who Changed NFL History

As the great communicator of the defensive unit in professional football, the linebacker has to wear many hats. He’s asked to read plays and get in position to make tackles, drop into coverage, and blitz the quarterback, all while telling his teammates how to adjust to an offensive play call. It’s a lot of responsibility, but he must know the best way to respond to certain situations in order to have success in the National Football League.

The best linebackers are the ones who have a superior understanding of the sport, can lead their teams effectively, and know how to be in the right place to make game-changing plays. They also have a strong passion with an ability to instill fear into opposing offenses. So many amazing linebackers have graced the field over the years. Here are just seven who left their indelible mark on the game.

1. Lawrence Taylor

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One of the most dominant players of his time, the 6-foot-3-inch, 237-pound Lawrence Taylor tore up the NFL in the 1980s for the New York Giants. As a multidimensional athletic defensive player, he could overpower offensive lineman to stuff the run or get to the quarterback. But he could also drop into coverage to make a big interception. An intimidating combination of size and speed, L.T. finished his career with 132.5 sacks. He won two Super Bowls — Super Bowl XXI  and XXV — received three Defensive Player Of The Year Awards, and was named league MVP in 1986. Taylor is also a member of the 1980s All-Decade Team.