Former Green Bay Packers fullback and Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Taylor passed away Saturday morning. He was 83.
I never saw Taylor play, but I do know this. He was about the toughest son of a bitch to ever carry a football.
Not only would the guy take a pounding and keep right on going, but he dished it out too. Throw in the crew cut and you’ve got the epitome of the way football used to be played. By men who liked violence. Who weren’t afraid to hit or get hit.
Taylor ran with a football as though he was hell-bent on turning each and every game into a human demolition derby. There was nothing fancy or pretty about his style. He ran with ferocity. He ran with power. He ran with grit. Bottom line: He played like a man possessed, a throwback to the days when football more closely resembled trench warfare and the sole mission of each player was to seemingly dish out more punishment than he took.
Taylor played for the Packers from 1958-66. Along with Paul Hornung, he formed one of the best backfields in the NFL and in team history.
Taylor rushed for more than 1,000 yards five times (1960 to 1964). He ran for a league-leading 1,474 yards in 1962, on undeniably the best Packers team of all time. Taylor won the league MVP that year.
To put the 1962 Packers in perspective, they scored 415 points. They gave up just 148. Both marks were tops in the league, as the Packers went 13-1 and won the NFL title. Just as impressive is Taylor averaged 105.3 yards per contest that season.
Taylor’s 1,474 yards was a team record that stood for 41 years. Ahman Green now holds that record after running for 1,883 yards in 2003.
Taylor also held the Packers career rushing mark with 8,207 yards until it was just slightly surpassed by Green (8,322 yards) in 2009. He still has the most rushing touchdowns in team history by far at 81. Green is second with 54. And finally, Taylor held the Packers single-game rushing record with 186 yards until Green broke that with a 218-yard day in 2003.
Taylor was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1976. He was named to the 1960s All-Decade Team, was named to five Pro Bowls and was a three-time first team and three-time second team All-Pro.
Jim Taylor was a man.