Glazer: Curley Was Cool But Otis Taylor Was Sublime, Deserves NFL Hall

It’s official, former Chiefs star Curley Culp is a finalist for the NFL Hall of Fame…

A senior finalist. Hey, Culp totally deserves the honor. I believe he’ll be elected and into the Hall because he was one of the better defenders on what I still believe was, in its day, the BEST DEFENSE in pro football.

But the crime continues because the best player on the team was Otis Taylor.

Outside of Len Dawson anyway. So why in God’s good name is Taylor not put where he so richly deserves to be, in the NFL Hall of Fame. Guess they’re waiting for him to die. Damn.

That 1969 Chiefs defense already has Buck Buchanan, Willie Lanier, Bobby Bell and Emmitt Thomas enshrined. The offense has Len Dawson and kicker Jan Stenerud and of course, coach Hank Stram. There are others who could join them including Jerry Mays (Defensive End) and EJ Holub(linebacker and center), to name a couple.

But the man who’s missing is Otis Taylor simply the best pure receiver of his day.

Nobody was better.

I have written this before. I got involved in the 90′s and early 2000′s trying to get Otis in the Hall. We worked with the Strams, Len Dawson, Billy Grigsby – anyone who could help. Westport featured Otis Taylor at several Red Fridays, Stanford’s had an Otis Taylor Day with Mayor Cleaver, Dawson, Grigsby and even my old enemy Kay Barnes.

But still no Hall.

We turned in over 15,000 signatures and nothing. Writers like Jeff Flanagan, Hearne Christopher and several sports writers wrote about the issue, but nothing was done.

I know most Chiefs fans today never saw Otis Taylor play.

For that matter they have never seen a great Chiefs team.

The late 60′s early 70′s Chiefs were one of the best all -time football franchises in the game. Ever.

Because of them this team has any proud history.

Same for the Royals, the George Brett Era is all the team has and it ended in 1985,. The Chiefs golden era ended in 1972 after what was at the time the longest game in history. A double overtime loss to Miami at Municipal Stadium.

The most popular Chief, maybe ever – including the overrated Tony G – is and was Otis Taylor.

He was the Chiefs offense. In fact along with Lenny The Cool Dawson he was the snapshot of greatness. What it once meant to be a Kansas City Chief.

It’s a real crime this great player is not in the Hall of Fame. A real crime.

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9 Responses to Glazer: Curley Was Cool But Otis Taylor Was Sublime, Deserves NFL Hall

  1. mike says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more about Otis Taylor. What is hurting him now is that when his stats are compared with receivers that came along later, they don’t look all that impressive. The game has changed since then favoring receivers and quarterbacks. Taylor had to deal with being mugged all the way down the field. His stats and accomplishments should be compared with others in his era. If he is looked at in that way, he should have been in the hall of fame easily. He was one of the best 2 or 3 of his era. I wonder how much his play had to do with Dawson getting in as he would often turn a short pass into a big gain.

  2. Rick Nichols says:

    Who could ever forget Taylor’s catch and run for a 46-yard touchdown in Super Bowl IV (the final AFL-NFL Championship Game) to essentially seal the deal for the Chiefs? That had to be the highlight of his career, of course, but there were any number of other stellar plays he made down through the years. He should have received that coveted call from Canton long ago!

  3. Hot Carl says:

    The longest game ever played was on Christmas Day, 1971, not 1972. As usual, your horrific writing skills are on display but I do agree with you that Otis should be in the Hall.

    • Craig Glazer says:

      I was at the game, man am I a jerk for saying it was 72 instead of 71…it was the 71 season and I thought the game was played after the first of January didn’t remember it was Xmas day…. but hey I am not as smart as you huh…

      • mike says:

        I remember watching it on TV. It to this day was the most heartbreaking game I have ever watched. The Chiefs have not ever been the same since that game.

        • Craig Glazer says:

          yes it was the breaking point…another Super Bowl lost…or just getting there…no the Chiefs were never the dominent team again…I did see some Marty teams that could have gotten it done, but poor decisions ended the seasons with no play off wins…Since Marty we have been a average or poor team, save the 03 fake team…thats it..

          • mike says:

            That one playoff game where Lin Elliot missed 3 easy field goals was the next worst. They had a legitimate shot that year as well.

  4. smartman says:

    Garo Yepremian vs Jan Stenerud!

  5. Kerouac says:

    CG, while I concur with most of what you say, Otis Taylor will never get into the NFL Hall of Fame, likely. If he does, perhaps won’t be around enjoy it; life is indeed unfair.

    ~

    On a team rife with exciting players offense and defense (Noland ‘Supergnat’ Smith, Mike Garrett, Frank Pitts, Bobby Bell, Buck Buchanan and Emmitt Thomas among them), Otis Taylor took a back seat to none of them, in terms of the ‘WOW!’ factor – but – is excitement the same as merit?

    #89 was my second favorite Chief behind Len Dawson – which in essence means that he was also my #1 because really the Chiefs teammates were almost connected at the hip, radio Hedrick and Grigsby’s usual “TD, Dawson to Taylor!” refrain a familiar one.

    Alas, wasn’t familiar enough, truth be told.

    There is a difference between Hall of Fame ‘talent’ and Hall of Fame ‘stats’. Otis stats exceed former Steeler WR Lynn Swann who ‘is in the HOF- so it must be that PITT greater ‘team’ success than the Chiefs as measured in Championships be the rationale.
    One can argue that Swann had more help on offense – which can also be the rationale for why Lynn’s stats were smaller than his teammate John Stallworth. On the other, that he had a HOF QB in Terry Bradshaw, an HOF RB in Franco Harris, an HOF C in Mike Webster, an HOF Coach in Chuck Noll, an… well, you get the gist.

    Specifically as to Otis Taylor, he played on a run-first team; even when KC did throw, it was more often than not short, and the graceful style as evidenced by an racehorse like gait of Taylor would take over. Unfortunately his stats were not as prodigious as guys like Lance Alworth & Garry Garrison SD with John Hadl, NY Don Maynard and George Sauer with Namath, and a Warren Wells & Fred Biletnikoff in OAK with ‘The Mad Bomber’ Daryle Lamonica. Otis had no more than 3 ‘great’ seasons stat-wise in his career…THAT is what may keep him out of the Hall of Fame.

    Justifiably? A matter of opinion.

    I heard Otis talking on a radio station many years ago and saying that if he were a WR playing today, he’d catch 150 passes a year (he caught 410 in 1o years his, his 11th as denoted the record books fails to elaborate that OT was injured on KC;’s first offensive series of the 1975 season in DEN, on the third play from scrimmage. That be tha fact, but then anyone can have a sob story.)

    What Taylor referenced (and I agree) was that playing today (advent liberalized rules for offense wherein the DBs can’t mug WRs all over the field as in his day) would’ve at minimum inflated his stats, as for all latter day WRs (translation: Otis stats would be at least quadrupled today. Too, I’ve often wondered (despite my true-blue red Chiefs heart) what numbers Otis might have put up in a more wide-open offense, or with a guy like Lamonica or Namath or Hadl throwing those long bombs down the field to Taylor. Lenny wasn’t a ‘passer’ in the same bent as those guys, but was a better QB than any them, that the tradeoff.

    Too, Otis had by his own admission many injuries which affected him & curtailed his production. That he as his peers thence did not work out & have access to the same training advancements today’s players have also plays a part in the gaudier stats an modern day WR, not to mention additional games per season compared yesteryear, and a far greater emphasis on the passing game.

    All of this to say: I have never seen a finer athlete playing WR than Otis Taylor. He was big for his time at 6’3 227 (those are his ht/wt as relayed to me by OT), an 4.5 guy (when that was considered ‘fast’) and had the strength of a TE (or maybe a DE – recall how he took down Ben Davidson of OAK in 1970 after the Raider speared Len Dawson.) He could also out-jump most DBs & had the greatest set of hands this side of a surgeon.

    On the downside, his concentration would lag at times, especially early in his career (think Dwayne Bowe’s propensity to drop balls.) The most memorable & painful I recall was in 1967 when he got behind HOF CB Willie Brown of the Raiders by about 5 yards at midfield & dropped a slightly under-thrown but still very catch-able pass from Dawson. The Chiefs lost that game 23-21 & it served as OAK’s springboard to a 13-1 season & Superbowl appearance, unseating the defending AFL Champion Chiefs in the process.

    Mostly though, Otis Taylor was ‘money’. Old timers will likely recall Otis TD catch vs MINN Superbowl 4, his long catch down the sideline vs OAK 1969 AFL Championship game, his 89 yard TD catch/run 1966 vs MIA at old Municipal Stadium as he eluded about half the Dolphins team in his broken-field masterpiece culminating in end zone – still as vivid in my memory today as it was 46 years ago.

    Who’s ‘the best’ WR ever? There is no such thing, be it WRs, QB’s, home run hitters or cars, etc. No one can agree on what ‘best’ entails, let alone consensus; even if they did, said would validate nothing. So many ‘greats’ have played the game, and each of those players has their own cheering section/fans, along with an equal bias courtesy said. I have seen all the ‘great’ WRs since the late 1950′s & all of them had their own ‘special’ gifts as it were. Modern fans might think of Moss or Owens to give them some insight on how Otis Taylor played his ‘game’. I say, Jerry Rice had nothing on Otis… neither too did Lance Alworth or any of the WRs that I’ve referenced in this blog. ALL these WRs are equal in memory, beauty in the eye of the beholder.

    Personal feelings aside (which has kept Chiefs OT Jim Tyrer out of the Hall of Fame), team and league bias aside (which has kept other AFL players/teammates of Tyrer’s out, like Johnny Robinson & Jerrell Wilson at minimum), Championships aside (it’s a team thing more so, HOF an ‘I’ conversely) , give me #89 Otis Taylor… you can have your choice of any the rest, today or yester, named or un.

    I could go on and on writing/placing #89 upon a pedestal. Fact is, we all get just one chance the gridiron of life… fact is too I don’t need someone else to tell me who is an Hall of Famer. Canton be damned – the real HOF/only one really matters lingers in the memory every fan who has their own: Otis Taylor is in my Hall of Fame.