A Wisconsin sports legacy

We’ve had better sports weekends here in Wisconsin.

Our Badgers lost 38-13 at Michigan, our Brewers lost 4-3 to the Dodgers, and we lost a Hall of Fame Packer running back Jim Taylor, who died Saturday morning in Baton Rouge.

But, here’s the thing about sports and the athletes who play them: their legacy lives on.

Today, we’ll head to Lambeau Field, where we’ll honor Taylor’s legacy, just as we did the man a few short weeks ago. He was the first of Coach Lombardi’s Packers to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and his name has held a place of honor in Lambeau Field since 1976.

Last year, the Packers honored the first Super Bowl team and Mr. Taylor spent the weekend reminiscing with teammates and fans. He came back this season for the annual alumni game, and stood in the tunnel one last time, heard his name called out, and waved to the Lambeau faithful.

That’s a lasting image and one he enjoyed thanks to the Packers’ consistent efforts to honor their alumni.

Jim Taylor played for 10 years in the NFL (nine with the Packers) and was named MVP of the NFL in 1962. From 1960 through 1964 he had five straight 1,000-yard seasons and led the Packers in rushing for seven consecutive years.

If you ever saw him play, you could close your eyes right now and picture him muscling down field, dragging defenders with him as he hurled his body forward.

That’s the Jimmy Taylor we’ll always remember.

The Badgers play Illinois next week, and the Brewers play the Dodgers tonight.

Here’s hoping both teams take full advantage of the opportunity to craft their Wisconsin sports legacy.

And, as for our Packers, who play tonight, here’s a chant Mr. Taylor heard a time or two thousand over the past 60 years:

Go Pack Go!

Gregg, Taylor,
I took this shot of Jimmy Taylor during last year’s reunion because I thought it looked like he was discussing game strategy with fellow Hall of Famer Forrest Gregg and “Dapper Dan” Currie, who played linebacker for the Packers from 1958-64.  He was 82-years old then and he still looked like he could still haul a defender or two at least a couple of yards down field. 
Grabowski, Taylor and Brockington
Jim Grabowski, Jimmy Taylor and John Brockington, three of the greatest running backs in Packer history. Rest in Peace, Mr. Taylor.
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I loved the way the fading light traced a path across the field at Miller Park on Saturday. There’s plenty of room in that stadium for a couple more players to make history.

 

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