Hall of Fame Time for #89
Tall, angular, fast- a size mismatch for safeties and defensive backs. Sounds like the prototype for today’s NFL wide receiver, doesn’t it? Only this wide receiver doesn’t play today; he played nearly 50 years ago, revolutionizing the game and paving the way for today’s gamebreakers and game-wreckers. His name- Otis Taylor.
During his 11 year (1965-75) AFL/NFL career, Taylor caught 410 passes for 7,306 yards and 57 touchdowns. The two-time First Team NFL All-Pro (1971-72) led the NFL in receiving yards (1,110) in 1971 and was named Consensus All-Pro by the Associated Press (AP), Pro Football Writers Association (PFWA) and Pro Football Weekly. But he was a record setter long before the AFL/NFL merger.
In 1966, the 6’3”, 215 pound Taylor caught 58 passes for 1,297 yards and led the AFL with a phenomenal average- even by today’s NFL standards- of 22.4 yards per reception. In 1967, he caught a career-best – and AFL leading-11 touchdowns and in 1969- the last year of the AFL-caught seven more touchdowns passes. But his most memorable touchdown reception that season came in Super Bowl IV, when Taylor turned a seven yard ‘hitch’ route into a 46-yard game clinching score in the Chiefs 23-7 win. His Hall of Fame teammate, quarterback Len Dawson, once said of Taylor, “if you got the pass to Otis, you knew he’d catch it.”
Taylor’s statistics compare favorable to many current Hall of Famers, including the recently-elected Drew Pearson of the Dallas Cowboys. Like Taylor, Pearson played 11 seasons in the NFL and has comparable stats. Pearson caught 489 passes for 7,822 yards, not much different from Taylor’s career numbers. But Pearson falls short of Taylor in career touchdowns (60 Taylor- 50 Pearson), career touchdown receptions (57 Taylor-48 Pearson) and average yards per catch (Taylor 17.8- Pearson 16). Ten members of the Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl IV winning team are currently enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, OH. Otis Taylor needs to be the eleventh!