(Long-time reader and one of our favorite commenters, Matthew Shearon aka Cinco Ocho, guest posts on the legends of Chiefs history periodically. “Chiefstory” continues with Otis Taylor, a player who helped revolutionize the receiver position. Enjoy! – Adam)
“The shortest distance between somebody’s head and the goal line is a good, swift stiff arm”. – Otis Taylor
“Otis Taylor did things that mattered, he was a big receiver, 6-3 or 6-4, he made acrobatic catches, he was a whole degree above everyone else, he belongs in the Hall”. – Lamar Hunt
“People don’t understand how big in size he was compared to other players.” – Merlin
“When we didn’t know what else to do, Otis would say “throw the ball to me ” and he never let us down” – Len Dawson
Otis Taylor was born on August 11, 1942 in Houston, Texas. He was a 6-foot-3, 215-pound sure-handed wide receiver with devastating downfield blocking abilities. More than anything, “Otay” was absolutely fearless going across the middle. Otis is remembered as possibly the greatest Chiefs wide receiver of all time, but there’s more to his Chiefstory than just that.
Otis attended Prairie View A&M University, where his No. 17 jersey was retired. In 1965, Otis was drafted by both the AFL Chiefs and the NFL Eagles. After the famous “babysitting incident,” in which Taylor managed to sneak away from the watchful eyes of NFL scouts, he was signed to the Chiefs by legendary scout Lloyd Wells. NFL scouts would “babysit” college players to make sure they didn’t meet with AFL scouts. In Otis’ case, Eagles scouts had him at a hotel and Taylor snuck out of a window to meet with Wells and the rest is Chiefstory. Sounds like something out of a movie, right?
In his rookie season, Taylor hauled in five touchdown passes. During the 1966 season, Otay led the AFL with a 22.4 yard-per-catch average and finished second in receiving yards with 1,297. At the end of the 1966 season, OTay was voted first team All-AFL and was selected to the 1966 AFL All-Star team. Taylor led the AFL in receiving touchdowns with 11 in 1967. He led the NFL in receiving yards in 1971 with 1,110 yards. Otay made the AFC-NFC Pro Bowl twice and in 1971 was named first team All-Pro by the Associated Press, the Newspaper Enterprise Association, the Pro Football Writers Association and Pro Football Weekly. The Pro Football Writers Association also named him first team All-Pro in 1972. Taylor finished his career with 410 receptions, 7,306 receiving yards, 57 receiving touchdowns, and 20 100-yard games. He led the Chiefs in pass receptions on five seperate occasions (1966-67 and 1970-72).
Taylor combined with RB Robert Holmes for the longest reception in Chiefs history in 1969 when he caught a pass for 79 yards and then lateraled to Holmes, who carried it another 14 yards for a touchdown. Otay’s most memorable highlight from that season came from the fourth and final AFL-NFL World Championship Game, when he snagged a short pass, turned up field and stiff-armed his way to a 46-yard touchdown in the Chiefs. This catch helped deliver an “upset” victory over the heavily favored Vikings, who before Super Bowl IV had been dubbed by some as “the greatest team in pro football history.” Otis spent several years as a scout for the Chiefs and was inducted into the Chiefs Hall of Fame in 1981. Otay is also a member of the AFL Hall of Fame. There is a book about Taylor called “Otis Taylor, the need to win”. He now suffers from Parkinson’s Disease.
When it comes to Otis Taylor’s football career, I’d say he was way more than just OOOOtay!