Jim Taylor (American football)

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For the offensive lineman, see Jim Taylor (tackle).
Jim Taylor
refer to caption
Taylor in 1967
No. 31
Position: Fullback
Personal information
Date of birth: (1935-09-20) September 20, 1935 (age 81)
Place of birth: Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Height: 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Weight: 215 lb (98 kg)
Career information
High school: Baton Rouge (LA)
College: LSU
NFL Draft: 1958 / Round: 2 / Pick: 15
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Rushing yards: 8,597
Average: 4.4
Rushing touchdowns: 83
Player stats at NFL.com

James Charles Taylor (born September 20, 1935) is a former American football fullback. He played professionally in the National Football League (NFL) for ten seasons, with the Green Bay Packers from 1958 to 1966 and with the expansion New Orleans Saints in 1967. He played college football at Louisiana State University (LSU) where he was an All-American. Taylor was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1976.[1]

Early years[edit]

Born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Taylor had two paper routes, to help his widowed mother make ends meet. He delivered the morning and afternoon routes by bicycle for three dollars a week, which helped to develop his leg muscles.[2] Though he did not play football until his junior year, he was a star athlete in four sports at Baton Rouge High School, and graduated in 1954.[3][4] He stayed in town and played college football at LSU and was an All-American in 1957. He scored 20 rushing touchdowns over his college career, and led the Southeastern Conference (SEC) in scoring in 1956 and 1957.[5] His final game at LSU was a 25–6 victory over Tulane, which was the start of a 22-game unbeaten streak for the Tigers.

Professional career[edit]

Green Bay Packers[edit]

Taylor was selected by the Packers in the second round of the 1958 NFL draft, the 15th overall pick,[6] taken in December 1957 while Lisle Blackbourn was still the head coach. That draft for the Packers included Dan Currie (3rd), Ray Nitschke (36th), and Jerry Kramer (39th), but the 1958 team finished with the worst record in the league (and the franchise's worst ever, through 2015), under first-year head coach Scooter McLean. Taylor was used sparingly as a rookie, but in the penultimate game at Kezar Stadium, he gained 137 yards on 22 carries in a 48–21 loss to 49ers, and his running style brought cheers from the San Francisco fans.[7][8] With a one-year contract that was not to be renewed, McLean resigned days after the season and was replaced by Vince Lombardi in January 1959.

Taylor holds many Packers' records, including both career and single-season touchdowns. He was the Packers' all-time leading rusher until Ahman Green broke his record on November 8, 2009. Taylor won the NFL rushing title in 1962, the only season that Jim Brown did not lead the league during his nine-year career. His single-season yardage mark (1474) was not surpassed by a Packer until Green ran for 1883 yards in 2003 (a 16-game season, as opposed to the 14-game 1962 season). At retirement, Taylor's 83 career rushing touchdowns placed him behind only Brown.

Taylor was a member of four Packer NFL championship teams (1961, 1962, 1965, and 1966), where he was teamed in the backfield with halfback Paul Hornung. In the Packers 16-7 championship win over the New York Giants in 1962, Taylor set a championship record with 31 carries (for 85 yards) and scored Green Bay's only touchdown of the game. In Green Bay's 1965 championship win, he rushed for 97 yards. In January 1967, Taylor and the Packers played in Super Bowl I in Los Angeles, in which they easily defeated the Kansas City Chiefs. Taylor was the top rusher of the game with 56 rushing yards and a touchdown (with his score being the first rushing touchdown in Super Bowl history); it was his last game as a Packer.

New Orleans Saints[edit]

During his ninth season in 1966, Taylor did not sign a new one-year contract and played out his option; he made no secret that it was likely his last season as a Packer.[9][10][11] In July 1967, Taylor left the Packers for the expansion New Orleans Saints[12][13][14] to play under head coach Tom Fears, a hall of fame receiver and a former assistant coach for five seasons in Green Bay under Lombardi. The following year, Taylor was reduced to special teams duties and retired from pro football in September, at the end of training camp.[15][16][17]

He finished his ten-year playing career with 8,597 yards and 83 rushing touchdowns, highlighted by his five straight 1,000-yard rushing seasons from 1960 to 1964. Taylor also caught 225 passes for 1,756 yards and 10 touchdowns, and returned seven kickoffs for 185 yards, giving him a total of 10,539 net yards and 93 touchdowns.

Taylor was the first running back in NFL history to rush for over 1,000 yards for five consecutive seasons (19601964).

Playing style and legacy[edit]

Although not exceptional in size (6 ft 0 in (1.83 m), 215 lb (98 kg)), Taylor was a physical fullback who often won legendary duels with linebacker Sam Huff.[18][19] Taylor was selected to five consecutive Pro Bowls from 1960-64. He fumbled only 34 times in the 2,173 times he handled the ball (1.56% of his touches.) His 8,207 rushing yards with the Packers remained a franchise record until Ahman Green surpassed it on November 8, 2009.[20]

Quarterback Bobby Layne listed Taylor as one of the one of "Pro Football's 11 Meanest Men" in an article for SPORT magazine in 1964.[21]


After his selection to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1976, Taylor participated in the Superstars competition in 1977[22][23][24] and finished fourth in 1979.[25] He was commissioner of the United States Rugby League in 1978 and attempted to start a 12-team competition.[26] Taylor was elected to the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame in 2001.[27]


  1. ^ "Former Packer Taylor named to Hall of Fame". Milwaukee Journal. January 27, 1976. p. 7, part 2. 
  2. ^ Mulé, Marty (2006). "Game of My Life - LSU Tigers: Memorable stories of Tigers football". Sports Publsihing. pp. 232–237. 
  3. ^ Clements, Mark (March 9, 2013). "NFL great Jim Taylor honored at Baton Rouge High". The Advocate. Retrieved January 16, 2016. 
  4. ^ "Jim Taylor – Super Bowl Honor Roll". Baton Rouge High School Foundation. January 7, 2016. Retrieved January 16, 2016. 
  5. ^ Higgins, Ron (July 30, 2014). "LSU and Packer great Jim Taylor is No. 23 on Louisiana's list of all-time top 51 athletes". Times-Picayune. New Orleans. Retrieved January 16, 2016. 
  6. ^ "Taylor and Nitschke sign Packer pacts". Milwaukee Sentinel. Associated Press. January 22, 1958. p. 4, part 2. 
  7. ^ Johnson, Chuck (December 8, 1958). "Taylor a bright spot in Bays' black day". Milwaukee Journal. p. 13, part 2. 
  8. ^ "Taylor cheers McLean". Milwaukee Sentinel. Associated Press. December 8, 1958. p. 3, part 2. 
  9. ^ "Jim Taylor playing out his option". Free Lance-Star. Fredericksburg, Virginia. Associated Press. October 24, 1966. p. 16. 
  10. ^ "Vince bans scribe after Taylor story". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. Associated Press. October 25, 1966. p. 15. 
  11. ^ Kuechle, Oliver E. (October 27, 1966). "The case of Jim Taylor of Green Bay". Milwaukee Journal. p. 17, part 2. 
  12. ^ "Taylor signs with Saints". Victoria Advocate. Texas. Associated Press. July 7, 1967. p. 8. 
  13. ^ "Jim Taylor leaves Packers". Nashua Telegraph. New Hampshire. Associated Press. July 7, 1967. p. 12. 
  14. ^ Lea, Bud (July 7, 1967). "Packers get top pick, player for Taylor". Milwaukee Sentinel. p. 1, part 2. 
  15. ^ "Jim Taylor, Saints huddle". Daytona Beach Morning Journal. Florida. September 10, 1968. p. 7. 
  16. ^ "Jim Taylor's fate undertermined". Spartanburg Herald. South Carolina. Associated Press. September 10, 1968. p. 12. 
  17. ^ "Taylor ends career". Milwaukee Journal. September 10, 1968. p. 13. 
  18. ^ "Huff describes difficulty in tackling Packers bully". Quebec Chronicle-Telegraph. Quebec City, Quebec. Associated Press. November 8, 1962. p. 13. 
  19. ^ "Violent world of Sam Huff tastes salty, says a bitter Jim Taylor". Evening Independent. St. Petersburg, Florida. Associated Press. January 30, 1963. p. 11A. 
  20. ^ Associated Press (August 11, 2011). "Ahman Green retiring with Packers". ESPN.com. ESPN. Retrieved March 29, 2016. 
  21. ^ "Night Train, Jimmy Hill, John Henry are 'meanest'". Baltimore Afro-American. October 6, 1964. p. 14. Retrieved September 26, 2016. 
  22. ^ Lasswell, Doug (February 18, 1977). "14 Superstars compete for big money today". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Florida. p. 1E. 
  23. ^ Feely, Mike (February 18, 1977). "Ex-Packer Jim Taylor stays in shape". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Florida. p. 1E. 
  24. ^ "Pros compete in 'Superstars'". Ocala Star-Banner. Florida. Associated Press. February 20, 1977. p. 5C. 
  25. ^ Wolf, Bob (February 15, 1979). "Packers' Taylor still an athlete". Milwaukee Journal. p. 3, part 3. 
  26. ^ "U.S. rugby league formed". St. Petersburg Times. Florida. August 16, 1978. p. 3C. 
  27. ^ D'amato, Gary (November 30, 2001). "Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame elects five". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. p. 47. Retrieved March 29, 2016. 

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