Play Fantasy The Most Award Winning Fantasy game with real time scoring, top expert analysis, custom settings, and more. Play Now
Blog Entry

Taylor never got his due

Posted on: September 1, 2011 12:31 pm
 

Now that it is official, and running back Fred Taylor will announce his retirement Friday, I want to make something else official.

Taylor is the most underappreciated player of our generation.

I mean it.

When Taylor was at his best, he was as good as any back who has played the game. He was big. He was strong. He was explosive. He was the prototype for the current NFL style of play before it became chic to be what I call an "air" runner, a guy who operated in space.

Taylor was a home-run threat every time he touched the ball.

Taylor retires as the 15th-best rusher of all time with 11,695 yards. He is 617 yards behind Jim Brown's career total, which is significant because that's the number Taylor always yearned to surpass.

Injuries prevented that. They also helped unfairly tarnish his legacy.

Fragile Fred was a name given to him early in his career as he battled through some injuries. What people failed to realize was how significant some of those injuries were -- and how the team hung him out to take the heat.

Taylor actually ripped the muscle from the bone during in the second game of the 2001 season. The injury was so painful, it looked like he was shot and he actually dropped the football.

But the Jaguars kept saying he'd be back week in and week out -- even though there was no chance.

Fragile Fred was born.

It wasn't fair.

Taylor was an amazing runner. Here's how special: In his career, he averaged at least 4.5 per carry for an entire season eight times.

Of the 14 men ahead of him on the all-time rushing list, only Brown and Detroit's Barry Sanders got to 4.5 per-carry for a season eight times.

Emmitt Smith did it three times. Walter Payton and Marshall Faulk five times. LaDainian Tomlinson four times. Curtis Martin did it just once.

That puts Taylor's explosive ability into perspective.

What hurts Taylor is a lack of touchdowns. He rushed for only 66, which is the lowest of the backs in the top 15. The absurdity is that the Jaguars would take him out on the goal line. Dumb.

Not only was Taylor a great player, he's an even better person. When he walked into the locker room in 1998, he was a kid who barely talked. He was shy. He was cautious.

When he left the Jaguars in 2008, he was a changed man. He was mature. He was confident. He spoke his mind. He was the team's leader.

It was good to see him grow into that right before my eyes.

Taylor was one of my favorite players to deal with on a regular basis, but I also truly appreciate what he was as a football player.

My last assignment covering the Jaguars before coming to CBS Sports.com in November of 2000 was Taylor's Sunday night game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. He set a Three Rivers Stadium record by running for 234 yards and scoring four touchdowns.

It was a special night for a special player.

It's just too bad that not enough people appreciated his talents.  Taylor played in just one Pro Bowl. He also never played in a Super Bowl, losing once in the AFC Title game in 1999 when the Jaguars stopped giving him the ball.

But I want all those who vote for the Hall to look at his tape. Look at the numbers. No offense to Floyd Little, who just got in last year but he averaged over 4.5 once in his career and he is 64th all-time on the rushing list.

Taylor blows those numbers away.

So maybe now Taylor can finally get the appreciation he's so sorely lacked.

Category: NFL
Tags: Fred Taylor
 
Comments

Since: Jun 25, 2010
Posted on: September 3, 2011 7:12 pm
 

Taylor never got his due

I can't tell you how many times i drafted Fred Taylor in Madden over the years, but honestly, this guy was a beast for over a decade and fun to watch.  It sucks seeing guys like Taylor and Tomlinson lose their wings over the years, and it seems like just yesterday Tomlinson was rated 99.  Soon, my boy Frank Gore will begin his eventual decline into the low 80's, but hey, I can always edit the rating.  For Taylor, congrats on a great career and we'll see you in the Hall.



Since: Dec 3, 2006
Posted on: September 2, 2011 1:21 pm
 

Taylor never got his due

Well written, facts are spot on and I total agree with your opinion on this one Prisco. I enjoyed the read and wish Mr Taylor the best life has to offer as he rides off to the rest of his life.



Since: Sep 19, 2006
Posted on: September 2, 2011 12:50 pm
 

Taylor never got his due

Fred should make the hall, just for bitch slapping the steelers at heinz field. 147 yards! Fred was beast.



Since: Feb 9, 2011
Posted on: September 2, 2011 12:44 pm
 

Taylor never got his due

Got this one right Prisco.



Since: Sep 19, 2006
Posted on: September 2, 2011 12:43 pm
 

Taylor never got his due

But Im just a fat white guy from New Mexico....WTF do I know


Not much.



Since: Nov 14, 2010
Posted on: September 2, 2011 12:20 pm
 

Taylor never got his due

Happy trails and good luck.



Since: Dec 20, 2006
Posted on: September 2, 2011 11:38 am
 

Taylor never got his due

I'm a semi-fat white guy in NM too, but I know Fred deserves the HOF.  He played in a divison againt the Steelers & Ravens for years and faced the Titans 2'x  a year every year.  Every time he touched the ball he could go to the house.  The Monday night game against the Marino-led Dolphins, his first touch of the game was an 80 yard td non-stop to the end zone.  He carried them over the Steelers twice within a month in 2007.  Fred was Da Bomb. My handle is a givaway as to my feelings.



Since: Jul 14, 2010
Posted on: September 2, 2011 11:30 am
 

Taylor never got his due

Pete I've disagreed with you over a lot of things but you've absolutely nailed this on.   Thanks for that.  Freddy T is as clas an act and as capable a RB as there has been in this league.

I think it's a real black mark against Tom Coughlin (on an otherwise outstanding and high character coach) that he pulled that crap on Taylor.  It was complete BS and everybody but the fans knew it.



Since: Sep 6, 2006
Posted on: September 2, 2011 11:25 am
 

Taylor never got his due

One word with regard to Prisco's sentiment: AGREED. 

Fred Taylor will not be a first ballot HOF with it being such a struggle these days for even a Marshall Faulk to get in on the first ballot. But he is DEFINITELY, WITHOUT QUESTION a Hall of Famer. It will happen eventually.

Great career. Great man. Just Ask MJD what kind of player/guy he is.     &n
bsp; 




Since: Nov 7, 2009
Posted on: September 2, 2011 11:06 am
 

Taylor never got his due

I have no idea how some of you people can say that he is not deserving of the hall of fame.  You do not need to be Barry Sanders or Walter Payton to make the hall of fame.  They were by far the best at their position and that is an unfair comparison.  There are plenty of players who made the hall of fame and did not have the stats that Fred Taylor did.  The guy was 15th on the all time rushing list.  How is that not enough to deserve it?


The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com