When Jacksonville Jaguars running back Fred Taylor retired, he sat in the top 20 on the all-time rushing list. Despite the fact that a handful of players lower on that list have made it into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Taylor hasn’t received that honor.
Taylor, 44, isn’t necessarily bitter about that snub, but he has a hard time seeing some defensive players from his era get recognition over him. Or, as Taylor put it, “These are the same dudes that I murked every f- - - - - - Sunday.”
Taylor made those comments on the “I AM ATHLETE” podcast. The relevant portion of the conversation starts around 19:45.
As Taylor states, when he retired, he sat 15th on the all-time rushing list. He has since been passed by both Frank Gore and Adrian Peterson. Every single player ahead of Taylor on the all-time list — excluding Gore and Peterson — are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Taylor notes that plenty of players lower on that list are in the HOF, including players like Earl Campbell, Larry Csonka and Terrell Davis.
Taylor’s quote focuses more on the defensive players he went up against every week. He mentions Ray Lewis, Derrick Brooks, Ed Reed and Champ Bailey by name. Taylor also mentions John Lynch, saying people have tried to push Lynch into Hall of Fame conversation, but have neglected Taylor.
Does Fred Taylor belong in the Hall of Fame?
Taylor’s numbers speak for themselves. It’s hard to ignore his place on the all-time rushing list. So why isn’t Taylor in? It could have to do with his lack of awards or recognition when he played. Despite putting up tremendous numbers consistently, Taylor was named to the Pro Bowl just once. He never made an All-Pro team and he didn’t win any Super Bowl rings.
Those accolades shouldn’t necessarily be held against Taylor. He played in an era when running backs put up absurd seasons. Shaun Alexander, Davis, Priest Holmes and LaDainian Tomlinson all took focus away from Taylor. While Alexander and Holmes had some fantastic seasons that won plenty of fantasy championships, neither had Taylor’s longevity. The same can be said of Davis, who saw his production fall off dramatically after four seasons.
While Taylor’s stats are excellent, the longevity argument isn’t the sexiest. It’s far easier to make a case for Davis’ dominance and rings. What Taylor needs is someone to take up his case and vehemently argue he deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.
If that’s going to happen, it better happen soon. Taylor was named a semifinalist for the Hall of Fame on Tuesday. He still needs some luck to get inducted, but at least people are finally paying attention to his greatness.
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