Hall of Famer Q&A with Jim Taylor

Hall of Famer Q&A with Jim Taylor

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Was Vince Lombardi so intense and single-minded about football and family that he didn't have time or the desire to laugh? Could Vince laugh at himself?
Yes he could. You know, things in the cocktail hour and things with close friends of his. Yes. He had some enjoyment, pleasure, and some humor, and some stories, and jokes. He relaxed after he got off the field.

Hello Jim! In all your many years in the league and many carries, who was the most intimidating defensive player that you ever encountered? Thanks Jim, it was a pleasure to watch you play! - MS in Fla.
JT: Well, thank you. I would like to say Ray Nitschke because I faced him day in and day out. But, Dick Butkus and Joe Schmidt were probably two of the top middle linebackers and defensive people that really played very tough and very aggressive against the Green Bay Packers.

Jim - I was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio and am a huge Browns fan. I recently moved to Chicago and made my first trip to Green Bay to get a sense of the town. What are your memories of the 1965 Championship Game? Who on the Browns defense did you respect the most? - Tom Baird
JT: The Browns always had a good, solid defense and this was the championship game that you're referring to in 1965. They just were real solid in their front four, and their linebackers were outstanding and always played a real sound, solid defense. Paul Brown was way ahead of the game in his coaching techniques and philosophy. They were just a good football team.

Jim - What was it like to play for Vince Lombardi, and how did he affect your life after football? - Randy Voss
JT: I was real fortunate to come along as coach Lombardi came to Green Bay in 1959. He established a caliber of football that he felt like would be championship and would get into world championship games. And he certainly did that in the seven or eight years that I was there with him. He taught me lots of character, and virtues, and principles, and values to carry over after my football days were completed with the Green Bay Packers, and I think quite a few of the other players would certainly agree to that.

Mr. Jim Taylor - As a lifelong Packer fan, I have a question regarding the end of your Packer career. What were the emotions between you and Lombardi, as the New Orleans Saints move loomed? Thank you. - Scott
JT: We had a mutual understanding and agreement that it was probably best for me to go on and move with the New Orleans Saints their first year. Afterwards, when he was general manager at Washington, we had some good laughs and some good camaraderie after the couple of years that I retired and he was also retired.

Hi Jim. In 1962 you led the NFL in scoring and rushing. Is there any particular game that year that stands out in your mind?
JT: Oh, probably the game in Milwaukee County Stadium and I had 180-something yards and a couple of touchdowns. And, we were just very dominant in that particular ball game and that reflects back from time to time.

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Jim, is it true that in a game after taking and/or giving some punishment your mouth was bleeding and in the huddle you said to Starr, "give me the ball?" You were one heck of a player and are a true Hall of Famer. - Dave Volkert, Hubertus, Wis.
JT: I don't recall saying 'give me the ball' to Starr. But, in the championship game in 1962 in Yankee Stadium, I think I bit my tongue and was bleeding a little bit from the mouth, and I had an elbow that at halftime had four or five stitches put in. That game was probably one of most tough and physical games I ever competed in, and we won the championship game there 16-7. The temperature was 25-below, and ice formed around your eyelids and your nasal (passages) from that air with condensation pouring through. So, it was just a good, tough football game.

What do you recall most from your one season in New Orleans?
JT: It was a season where you had players coming from all the different teams that came together, and it was difficult to get some teamwork, get some timing, and tempo, and some real camaraderie with the football team. Tom Fears was the head coach at that time. It was just difficult. Any expansion team goes through that particular process of trying to establish a good, solid offensive unit. Defense comes a little bit easier than the offense, and we had a little bit of a tough year. And, at that time, I felt that I would go ahead and retire after my one season with the Saints.

Do you have one moment that stands out the most during your Hall of Fame career?
JT: Probably being voted the MVP of the league in 1962 is something that I look back and cherish. I felt like I accomplished and achieved my goal for the 1962 season.


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