clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Chiefs legend Otis Taylor dead at 80

One the heroes of Kansas City’s first Super Bowl victory, Taylor played his entire career with the Chiefs.

Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images

According to the Kansas City Chiefs, their legendary wide receiver Otis Taylor has died at the age of 80.

The Chiefs have issued an official statement about Taylor’s death.

“The Kansas City Chiefs organization is saddened by the passing of Otis Taylor,” said the team’s Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt. “My family and I would like to extend our heartfelt condolences to Otis’ wife Regina, his sister Odell and the entire Taylor family as we mourn his passing. Otis was a Chief throughout his 11-year career, and he played an integral part in the early success of our franchise. He became a Kansas City icon with his signature touchdown in Super Bowl IV, as he helped the Chiefs bring home our first Lombardi Trophy. He was one of the most dynamic receivers of his era, and he helped revolutionize the position. Off-the-field, he was kind and dedicated to his community. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family. Otis’ legacy will live forever as a member of the Chiefs Hall of Fame.”

Taylor played his college ball at the Houston area’s Prairie View A&M before being selected by the Chiefs in the fourth round (29th overall) of the 1965 AFL Draft. Like many players of the era, he was also selected in the NFL Draft that year — in his case, by the Philadelphia Eagles in the 15th round (203rd overall).

That led to some AFL-NFL drama, which Jack Steadman (then Kansas City’s general manager) later recalled in a 2009 interview with the Albuquerque Journal.

“[The NFL] would take the top players coming out of college and set up small cities,” Steadman said, half-chuckling. “They’d take them so we wouldn’t find them, supposedly. They’d have them in a motel or small hotels.

“But we found where they were putting the players in Dallas that year and got Taylor to come out of the window where he was staying and we flew him out. He just disappeared on them.”

After climbing out of that window, the wide receiver (then called a “flanker”) collected 410 catches for 7,306 yards and 57 touchdowns over an 11-year career (all of it with the Chiefs) in which he appeared in 130 games. In 1971 — at the age of 29 — Taylor was named an All-Pro after leading the league with 1,110 receiving yards.

But in the minds of Chiefs fans of that era, none of his catches, yards or touchdowns were greater than the 46-yard touchdown reception he made during the third quarter of Super Bowl IV, which sealed Kansas City’s 23-7 victory over the Minnesota Vikings.

On a quick count against an all-out blitz, quarterback Len Dawson hit Taylor in the right flat with a hitch pass — and after breaking a tackle, Taylor was loose down the sideline. Dawson later said it was the only pass he could have thrown.

But as it turned out at that moment, it was the only one he needed.

NEW: Join Arrowhead Pride Premier

If you love Arrowhead Pride, you won’t want to miss Pete Sweeney in your inbox each week as he delivers deep analysis and insights on the Chiefs' path to the Super Bowl.