To generations of football fans, Jim Taylor was that Packers running back thundering downfield on power sweeps, all captured by NFL Films in the 1960s.
To those who saw him play, or shared an NFL field with the bruising running back, Taylor was one of the toughest players to play the game.
Taylor, one of the stars of legendary coach Vince Lombardi’s Green Bay Packers in the 1960s, died Saturday in his native Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He was 83.
Hall-of-Fame FB Jim Taylor, who starrred for the Green Bay Packers from 1958-66, passed away Saturday morning.
Taylor was 83. pic.twitter.com/zpZQoHgeDl
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 13, 2018
Taylor played nine seasons in Green Bay (1958-66) and was the first player from that Lombardi era to be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Taylor’s list of accomplishments is long: five Pro Bowls, 1962 NFL MVP, four NFL championships plus another title in Super Bowl I. He rushed for 8,207 yards (4.5 yards per carry) and 81 touchdowns for the Packers. His 1,474 yards rushing in 1962 – in a 14-game season – stood as a Packers record for 41 years. A standout at LSU, Taylor finished his career with one season in New Orleans for the expansion Saints in 1967.
“Jim Taylor lived life the same way he played football, with passion, determination and love for all he did,” David Baker, Pro Football Hall of Fame president and CEO said in a statement. “The Pro Football Hall of Fame will keep Jim’s legacy alive so generations of fans will remember his rugged running style, ability to block, and leadership in Coach Vince Lombardi’s ‘run to daylight’ philosophy that made him the first from the Lombardi-era Packers to earn a place in Canton.”
That “rugged running style” defined Taylor and left a mark on opponents.
“Jimmy was a very physical guy,” remembered Packers teammate and Hall of Fame guard Jerry Kramer in a video released Saturday by the Pro Football Hall of Fame. “Jimmy loved to make contact and knock a defensive player on his backside. He probably could have gained a lot more yards if he hadn’t done that, but maybe they weren’t quite as anxious to tackle him the next time, either.”
[email protected] on the great Jim Taylor #RIP pic.twitter.com/xpkdbrDJJI
— Pro Football Hall of Fame (@ProFootballHOF) October 13, 2018
That attacking style was by design, Taylor told NFL Films.
“Each individual runner has his own personality,” Taylor said. “I wasn’t real big, but I had good balance and I had good second effort and some things that made me the player I was.
“I want to attack the tackler in essence instead of him attacking me. I’ve got the football, but I’m going to attack him.”
RT packers “Remembering the legendary Jim Taylor.
? nflnetwork pic.twitter.com/UKmTq2wexr”
— Jonathon Haar (@tankman12) October 13, 2018