BK Broiler: Guyton burns up the racetrack

If you walk into any of the five Atlanta-area Burger King franchise restaurants co-owned by Myron Guyton, you'd have no idea you are in the presence of a man who played five of his seven NFL seasons with the Giants and had a key role in their Super Bowl XXV championship.

No posters. No autographed photos. No newspaper clips.

"Probably half of my employees don't even know I played football," says Guyton, now 38 and every bit as successful today in the business world as he was 15 years ago on the football field.

The former Giant says he's in the process of buying his partner out, then he intends to incorporate some NFL into his restaurants' themes, in hopes of attracting and keeping customers. He says the lessons he learned from football serve him well behind the counter.

"Football teaches teamwork," he said. "In order to get a sandwich out the door, it takes a team. You have one person for the meat, one for the bun and another to push it out to the customer. And the big thing that came from football was leadership. People look to you."

At the risk of alienating Burger King's corporate big shots, Guyton did say he's not thrilled with the commercial in which a caricature-like king intercepts a pass and returns it for touchdown, even if it's possible he was playing Guyton's old position.

"I think the king should be out in the parking lot, bringing Whoppers to the tailgaters and telling them if you want a flame-broiled burger, go to Burger King," he said.

Burger King's ad wizards probably should heed Guyton's advice, given successful track record. Which brings us to his record on the racetrack.

Living in NASCAR country and having done some drag racing in his youth, Guyton jumped at the chance to accompany Redskins coach Joe Gibbs to a Legends series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Guyton would buy a Legends car and later become the first African-American to win a race (he won three) at the speedway.

Still, the centerpiece of Guyton's sporting life was That '90 Show.

"It was the most fun I ever had in sports," he reminisces. "Fun on the field and off the field. Looking at the D, we were the closest. We did everything together. LT would call all the guys and invite us over. We had Christmas at his house that year."

The Giants allowed only 211 points in 1990, the fewest in the NFL by 28. Guyton credits three people for leading the way: defensive coordinator Bill Belichick, Bill Parcells and Lawrence Taylor.

"Belichick ran our defense. Of all of the coaches I played for, he was one of my favorite, if not the favorite," Guyton remarked. "He always kept it simple. We didn't try to trick people. He expected us to win our one-on-one battles and to know our opponent. For example, wide receiver Ricky Sanders of the Redskins, when he was going to get the ball, he'd put his mouthpiece in. If he wasn't going to get it, his mouthpiece was out.

"My high school coach and college coach were similar to Parcells," Guyton continued. "He was a big psychology guy and he'd try to get in your head. I was used to it. The good thing about playing for a coach like Bill Parcells is you win. He told us in 1990, ‘If you get me to The Show, we'll win it. All you've got to do is get me there.'"

Guyton says LT led by doing, not talking, and that the linebacker's willingness to play hurt rubbed off on all of the Giants.

"I broke my nose on the first series in the Super Bowl," Guyton said. "I said to myself, ‘I didn't get this far to sit out.'"

Guyton played a big role in the Giants winning that game with some whopper hits on Buffalo receivers James Lofton and Andre Reed, eventually discouraging them from going over the middle.

Guyton and his wife Lisa have two children. Daughter Mikalah, 10, plays basketball, soccer, tennis and golf, competes in swimming and is learning piano. Son Myron Jr., 8, is into soccer and golf, having already won championships in pitch-and-putt.

While he's put football in his rear-view mirror, Guyton will always cherish being a champion.

"Whatever happens in my life," he said, "I played at the highest level you can possibly play, and we conquered it. It was a Cinderella year."

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