Jim Taylor, Hall of Fame fullback for Packers, 83
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.
Mr. 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.”
Mr. Taylor was voted into the Hall in 1976. David Baker, president of the Hall, lauded Mr. 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.”
Mr. 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 Mr. Taylor or Hornung running around the end. The 6-foot, 216-pound Mr. 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,” Mr. Taylor said of Lombardi, with whom he occasionally feuded, in a 2001 interview with the Pro Football Hall of Fame. “He established a caliber of football that he felt like would be championship.”