There is a feeling among AFL fans that the American Football League players are consistently overlooked for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. In truth there are many players, the bulk of whose careers were spent in the AFL, that deserve serious consideration, if not outright induction. In an effort to spark some discussion regarding their hall of fame worthiness, I will occasionally compare AFL players to their NFL (and Hall of Fame) counterparts. The short biographies on the NFL players have been taken directly from the Pro Football Hall of Fame website.
Today’s comparison is between Otis Taylor of the Kansas City Chiefs and two HoF receivers, Bob Hayes and Paul Warfield.
Otis Taylor, Jr. – Chiefs 4th round draft choice in 1965… Two-time All-Pro, three-time All-Star/Pro Bowl member… Two-time AFL champion (1966 & 1969) and Super Bowl IV champion… Arguably first of the large, strong, powerful receivers… Had 410 career receptions for 7,306 yards (17.8 avg.) and 57 touchdowns…
Robert Lee “Bob” Hayes – Selected as a future pick by Cowboys, seventh round, 1964 NFL Draft. . .Also drafted as future choice by Denver (AFL). . .Won a pair of gold medals in the 1964 Olympic Games earning him the title “World’s Fastest Human”. . .Four times was named first- or second-team All-NFL. . .. Three times led the Cowboys in receptions. . . Career stats include 7,414 receiving yards and 71 TDs. . .
Paul Dryden Warfield – Drafted by both Browns, Bills, 1964. . . Cleveland fixture before 1970 trade to Miami. . .Key element in Dolphins offenses. . . Mere presence on field forced defensive adjustments. . . Fast, super-smooth, precise pattern runner, sure-handed, excellent blocker. . .Caught 427 passes for 8,565 yards, 85 touchdowns. . .Had sensational 20.1-yard per catch average. . .All-NFL six years. . Named to eight Pro Bowls. . .
Here is yet another outstanding Kansas City Chiefs player from the late 1960s, which may or may not work in Taylor’s favor for hall of fame consideration. At 6′-3″ and 215 lbs., Otis Taylor brought a rare combination of size, strength and speed to the Chiefs offense. Taylor also excelled in both pre- and post-merger competition, which should make his accomplishments more attractive to HoF voters. His career numbers are certainly within HoF ranges, but those who saw Taylor play say that his dominance cannot be expressed simply with statistics. Take, for example, the SI article of November 15, 1971, which is subtitled, “Otis Taylor of the Kansas City Chiefs (89) has no peer at receiving a football—left-handed, right-handed or with his hands behind his back.” And yet Taylor has received no call from Canton. In fact, quarterback Len Dawson is the only offensive player from those great Chiefs teams that has a HoF bust. It seems to me that like other AFL stars, Otis Taylor has not received his due from the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Thoughts?