Jim Tay­lor, Pack­ers full­back dies at 83

The Record (Troy, NY) - - SPORTS - By Ge­naro C. Ar­mas

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, Louisiana, the team said.

Tay­lor played on the great Packer teams and was the league’s MVP in 1962. 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 cali- ber of foot­ball that he felt like would be cham­pi­onship.”

In 1960, Tay­lor ran for 1,101 yards, top­ping Tony Canadeo’s fran­chise mark of 1,052 yards in 1949. It was just the be­gin­ning. He Tay­lor 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, when Green Bay fin­ished 13-1 in the reg­u­lar sea­son, stood out for him.

“Be­ing voted the MVP of the league in 1962 is some­thing that I look back and cher­ish,” Tay­lor said. “I felt like I ac­com­plished and achieved my goal.” The 1962 ti­tle game pit­ted the Pack­ers and the Giants, this time in New York, and was played in 40 mph winds and 13-de­gree tem­per­a­tures at Yan­kee Sta­dium. Tay­lor was at his tough­est, pick­ing up 85 yards on 31 car­ries against the vaunted Giants de­fense fea­tur­ing linebacker Sam Huff. Tay­lor sus­tained a gash to his el­bow that re­quired seven stitches at half­time and cut his tongue dur­ing the game. “If Tay­lor went up to get a pro­gram, Huff was sup­posed to hit him. Wher­ever Tay­lor went, Huff went with him,” Kramer told The As­so­ci­ated Press in 2008. “I re­mem­ber sit­ting next to Jimmy on the way home and he had his top­coat on. He never took it off. He had it over his shoul­der and the guy was shiv­er­ing al­most all the way home. He just got the hell beat out of him that day.”

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