The epit­ome of ‘run to day­light’

Tay­lor was a force for 1960s Pack­ers dy­nasty built by Lom­bardi

Toronto Star - - SPORTS - GE­NARO C. AR­MAS

GREEN BAY, WIS.— Jim Tay­lor, the fe­ro­cious hall of fame full­back who em­bod­ied the Green Bay Pack­ers’ un­stop­pable ground game dur­ing the Vince Lom­bardi era and helped the team win four NFL ti­tles and the first Su­per Bowl, died Satur­day. He was 83.

He died un­ex­pect­edly at a hos­pi­tal in his home­town of Ba­ton Rouge, La., the team said.

Tay­lor played on the great Packer teams and was the league’s MVP in1962. He scored the first rush­ing touch­down in Su­per Bowl his­tory.

“He was a gritty, clas­sic player on the Lom­bardi teams and a key fig­ure of those great cham­pi­onship runs,” Pack­ers pres­i­dent Mark Mur­phy said of the player who left his mark on “mul­ti­ple gen­er­a­tions of Pack­ers fans.”

Tay­lor was voted into the hall in 1976. David Baker, pres­i­dent of the hall, lauded Tay­lor for not only per­son­i­fy­ing Lom­bardi’s “run to day­light” phi­los­o­phy but for liv­ing his life as he played game, with “pas­sion, de­ter­mi­na­tion and love for all he did.”

Tay­lor spent 10 sea­sons in the NFL af­ter be­ing drafted in the sec­ond round out of LSU in 1958. He joined a back­field that fea­tured Paul Hor­nung and be­gan to thrive when Lom­bardi took over in 1959.

Lom­bardi de­vised the Pack­ers’ “Sweep,” which fea­tured pulling guards Jerry Kramer and Fuzzy Thurston clear­ing the path for Tay­lor or Hor­nung run­ning around the end. The 6-foot, 216-pound Tay­lor best ful­filled the play’s pun­ish­ing ef­fec­tive­ness, a work­horse al­ways charg­ing for­ward, drag­ging would-be tack­lers along.

“He taught me lots of char­ac­ter, and virtues, and prin­ci­ples,” Tay­lor said of Lom­bardi, with whom he oc­ca­sion­ally feuded, in a 2001 in­ter­view with the Pro Foot­ball Hall of Fame. “He es­tab­lished a cal­i­bre of foot­ball that he felt like would be cham­pi­onship.”

In 1960, Tay­lor ran for a team­record 1,101 yards. He ran for five straight 1,000-yard sea­sons from 1960-64 and led the Pack­ers seven con­sec­u­tive times in rush­ing.

In 1961, Tay­lor ran for 1,307 yards and scored an NFL-best 15 touch­downs as the Pack­ers rolled to a 37-0 vic­tory over the Gi­ants in Green Bay for Lom­bardi’s first ti­tle.

The next year would be Tay­lor’s finest. He ran for 1,474 yards and 19 TDs in 14 games, and scored the only touch­down in the Pack­ers’ 16-7 vic­tory over the New York Gi­ants for the sec­ond of his four ti­tles.

Tay­lor said that sea­son stood out for him.

“Be­ing voted the MVP of the league in1962 is some­thing that I look back and cher­ish,” Tay­lor said. “I felt like I ac­com­plished and achieved my goal.”

That 1962 ti­tle game was one of sev­eral that helped launch pro foot­ball into the tele­vi­sion era, and Tay­lor’s con­tri­bu­tions to the Pack­ers en­dured.

Tay­lor also scored the Su­per Bowl’s first rush­ing touch­down when the Pack­ers de­feated the Kan­sas City Chiefs 35-10 in Jan­uary 1967 in the in­au­gu­ral cham­pi­onship game be­tween the NFL and AFL.

Tay­lor was of­ten com­pared to his con­tem­po­rary, Cleve­land’s Jim Brown, but Lom­bardi had dif­fer­ent views on two of the most pun­ish­ing run­ning backs in the league at the time.

“Jim Brown will give you that leg (to tackle) and then take it away from you,” Lom­bardi said. “Jim Tay­lor will give it to you and then ram it through your chest.”

PRE­STON STROUP THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS FILE PHOTO

Jim Tay­lor, who died Satur­day at the age of 83, was the first player from the 1960s Pack­ers dy­nasty to en­ter the hall of fame.

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