Set Number: X12868 TK1 R5 F13
Former Kansas City Chiefs star, Super Bowl IV champion and two-time All-Pro Otis Taylor has died at age 80.
Taylor’s family confirmed his death, according to Dave Skretta of the Associated Press.
Chiefs President and CEO Clark Hunt issued a statement following the news.
“The Kansas City Chiefs organization is saddened by the passing of Otis Taylor. My family and I would like to extend our deepest condolences to Otis’ wife Regina, his sister Odell and the entire Taylor family as we mourn his passing. The Otis was a Chief throughout his 11-year career and played an integral role in our franchise’s early success, becoming a Kansas City icon with his signature touchdown in Super Bowl IV as he helped the Chiefs bring home our first Lombardi Trophy. one of the most dynamic wide receivers of his era and helped revolutionize the position. Off the field, he was gracious and dedicated to his community. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family. Otis’ legacy will live on forever as a of the Chiefs Hall of Fame.”
Taylor played for the Chiefs from 1965-75, catching 410 passes for 7,306 yards (third most in team history) and 57 touchdowns (also third-most). He added 161 yards and three more scores on the ground.
Taylor also eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark twice during an era where that wasn’t as common as it is today.
His first came for the 1966 AFL champion Chiefs when he caught 58 passes for 1,297 yards and eight touchdowns.
He added 57 catches, 1,110 NFL yards and seven touchdowns for the Chiefs in 1971, when he finished tied for the NFL MVP race with Dallas Cowboys quarterback behind Minnesota Vikings defensive lineman Alan Page.
Taylor starred for the 1969 Chiefs, who defeated the Minnesota Vikings 23-7 to win the franchise’s first Super Bowl in January 1970.
In that game, Taylor caught six passes for 81 yards, including a 46-yard touchdown in the third quarter for a 22-7 lead over the heavily favored Vikings.
Taylor has had some great playoff performances during his career. Notably, his five receptions for 78 yards and a touchdown against the Buffalo Bills led the Chiefs to a 31-7 victory in the 1966 AFC title game.
He had a fantastic relationship with Len Dawson, the late, great Chiefs quarterback who once said this about his top wideout.
“Otis made my job easy,” observed Dawson (h/t Chiefs report Matt McMullen). “If you got the pass to Otis, you knew he was going to catch it.”
Taylor spent 11 seasons as a scout for the Chiefs after his playing days.
In 1990, Taylor was diagnosed with Parkinson’s and related dementia.
Per Skretta, Taylor’s family “dropped a lawsuit against the NFL claiming it was legally responsible for health issues he experienced beginning with seizures in 1969.”
“With Taylor bedridden and largely unable to speak in recent years, the lawsuit seeks financial assistance for his care, which has been overseen for more than a decade by his sister Odell, a licensed practical nurse, along with his wife his, Regina, and his son Otis. Taylor III,” Skretta wrote.
Many condolences and remembrances poured in on Twitter after the news of his death.
Michael MacCambridge @MacCambridge
Otis Taylor, RIP. This one hits harder than most. As a kid, I used to watch Otis play basketball in the summer at the Parliament Oaks apartment complex in KC. As an adult, I met him again, holding up in front of Miss Maxine’s Fine Foods in Benton. A sweet soul. It changed the game. pic.twitter.com/3TWgUvNAsr
Todd Limbaugh @Leabonics
RIP Otis Taylor. My love for sports was reinforced when I bought books like this at the school book fair in elementary school. This image was ingrained in my mind for years. Otis was a kind soul. It was an honor to meet and interview him all those years ago. pic.twitter.com/AM7C7GjM8j
Brian Zandt @Brian Zahnd
As a kid my favorite sports hero was Otis Taylor. I had an Otis Taylor poster next to the Led Zeppelin poster in my bedroom. To this day I associate the number 89 with Otis Taylor. O.T. passed away at the age of 80. May he rest in peace. pic.twitter.com/WTbUYscXzm
Taylor’s immense legacy lives on far beyond his playing days. He will always be remembered as one of the top players in pro football before and after the AFL-NFL merger in 1970. Taylor was also an AFL star who capped that league’s era with a huge upset in Super Bowl IV.