Otis Taylor, legendary WR for Kansas City Chiefs, dead at 80

Otis Taylor, who appeared in two Super Bowls and led the Kansas City Chiefs to an upset victory in Super Bowl IV, died on Thursday. He was 80.

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Taylor’s family said the former wide receiver had been dealing with Parkinson’s disease, ESPN reported. He died after a lengthy illness, according to The Kansas City Star.

Taylor, who caught the touchdown pass that clinched the Chiefs’ 23-7 upset victory against the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl IV, played for the Chiefs from 1965 to 1975.

He had two seasons of 1,000-yard receiving seasons and finished his career with 7,306 yards and 57 touchdown catches, according to

“When we didn’t know what else to do, Otis would say, ‘Throw the ball to me,’” Hall of Fame quarterback Len Dawson once said, according to the Star. “And he never let us down.”

Dawson died seven months ago at the age of 87.

In a statement, Clark Hunt, the Chiefs’ principal owner, described Taylor as “one of the most dynamic receivers of his era,” adding that he “helped revolutionize the position” and that “off the field, he was kind and dedicated to his community.”

Taylor’s numbers paled in comparison to receivers that followed him, but the Chiefs played a conservative offense and relied on its defense. He also played in the era of the bump-and-run defense, when defensive backs were allowed to hit receivers as they ran downfield, the Star reported.

“In today’s game, with today’s rules, Otis would catch 150 passes every year,” retired Chiefs kicker Jan Stenerud said a few years ago. “Who would stop him?”

Taylor was part of two AFL championship teams and played in the first Super Bowl. He was voted to the Pro Bowl in 1971 and 1972 and was inducted into the Chiefs’ ring of honor in 1982, according to ESPN.

In 1966, Taylor caught 58 passes for 1,297 yards, an average of 22.4 yards per catch, according to Five years later he led the league with 1,110 receiving yards.

“If a ball is thrown to me, I should catch it,” Taylor told Sports Illustrated in 1971. He added: “God did give me two hands to catch with, and if the ball comes when I can’t use one of them, I’ll use the other. I’m not defeated.”

In Super Bowl IV, the Chiefs were 13 1/2-point underdogs to the Vikings. However, Taylor’s six catches for 81 yards, including his 46-yard catch and run for a touchdown, sealed the upset in the final game before the AFL-NFL merger.

“People still talk about that catch,” Taylor said recently, according to the Star. “It’s so fresh in people’s memories, like it happened yesterday or last week.”

Taylor was a senior finalist this past year for the Pro Football Hall of Fame but was not elected, ESPN reported.

He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1990, the sports news outlet reported. In 2012 his family sued the NFL, claiming the league was legally responsible for health issues he had after he began having seizures in 1969.