KANSAS CITY, Mo. (WDAF) — Otis Taylor, one of the most prolific wide receivers in Kansas City Chiefs history, has died, sources WDAF. He was 80 years old.
Taylor is a Chiefs Hall of Famer whose name appears in the franchise record books 32 times. He still holds records for most games with 100 or more receiving yards in a season (Tied with six others with six) and highest receiving average in a season (22.36 yards per catch in 1966).
He and Len Dawson connected for 46 touchdowns, tied with Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce for most in Chiefs history. Among many other notable numbers, his 7,306 receiving yards are third in franchise history, and his 20 career games with at least 100 or more receiving yards are also third.
A 93-yard strike from Mike Livingston on Oct. 19, 1969, against the Miami Dolphins was the longest Chiefs pass completion for a touchdown until Trent Green hit Marc Boerigter for a 99-yard TD on Dec. 22, 2002, against San Diego Chargers.
In addition to being in the Chiefs Hall of Fame, many believed Taylor belonged in the Pro Football of Fame as well. He was among 25 senior candidate finalists in the most recent cycle, but he didn’t make the list when it was trimmed to 12.
Taylor was instrumental in Kansas City’s Super Bowl IV triumph, leading the team with six receptions for 81 yards and the game’s final touchdown in a 23-7 win over the Minnesota Vikings.
“I didn’t watch the offense when I was on the sideline,” Taylor’s teammate and Pro Football Hall of Famer Willie Lanier said about Taylor’s touchdown in the Super Bowl. “I really didn’t because I’m concerned with my work product.”
Lanier says as he was watching the replay, he knew Taylor was going to score a touchdown before he even broke that first tackle near the sideline.
“In seeing the play and seeing how he made his cut, take a step back toward the ball, secure it, get a pivot, and it’s over, alright? The first step means it’s over. I mean, seriously, it has nothing to do with who the skill person was defending.”
He was also said to be the greatest athlete to ever come out of Prairie View A&M.
“I grew up around the corner from Otis. Otis was a great QB in high school, great basketball player, he was just a great all-around athlete,” author Michael Hurd previously told WDAF.
“All of his former teammates who talk to me, to a man, say Otis Taylor was the best athlete to come out of Prairie View.”
WDAF profiled Taylor as part of a series highlighting the importance of Historically Black Colleges and Universities to the Chiefs, which includes an interesting story about how the franchise, then in the AFL, outfoxed the NFL to draft him.
He was a first-team All-Pro twice, finished second in MVP voting for the 1971 season, and was part of two AFL championship teams in addition to the Super Bowl IV championship.
After retiring from football, Taylor became a community ambassador for Blue Cross Blue Shield and helped continue the Third and Long Foundation after Derrick Thomas passed. He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 1990. Bedridden and unable to talk in recent years, Lanier told FOX4 the last time he and teammate Bobby Bell saw him was July of 2022.
“His sister [Odell] was caring for him, and he’s alive,” Lanier said Friday. “I looked at it specifically that if God had granted him that life that he still had…. regardless of whether you have the ability to do anything else other than give joy to your sister… who is taking care of you and your life… that’s a wonderful outcome.”
Chiefs chairman and CEO Clark Hunt provided this statement:
“The Kansas City Chiefs organization is saddened by the passing of Otis Taylor. 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 is survived by his wife Regina, his son Otis III, two granddaughters, and his sister Odell.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Derrick Thomas/Neil Smith Third and Long Foundation.
Information about a Celebration of Life for Taylor will be released after plans are finalized.