Louisiana State University

1957  Tigers "Jim Taylor"
(Authentic Reproduction)




There was a slight alteration to the new helmet design that Dietzel had the ’56 team wear. The 1957 Tigers had the addition of black two-inch “NCAA style” identifying numerals placed on each side of the helmet. An epidemic of Asian flu put a crimp in LSU’s execution as the season began and the 4-1 start deteriorated to a 5-5 finish as they lost four straight at the tail end of the schedule. However, there were a number of close losses, the super-sophs looked very good and there was other talent in backs Don “Scooter” Purvis and J.W. “Red” Brodnax. Taylor of course, remained the star, an All American, Conference MVP, and as he was in ‘56, the team’s scoring and rushing leader with 762 yards. QB M.C. “Chief” Reynolds showed a good arm and then spent five seasons with four teams in both the NFL and AFL.




Jim Taylor’s abnormally strong drive to succeed matched his abnormally strong leg drive, both attributed to his upbringing. Taylor’s academic and athletic participation at school was bracketed by a daily early morning before-school paper route that was matched by an evening delivery schedule that would have taxed most adults. He completed his hours’ worth of service each day on his bicycle, cycling to all points of his Baton Rouge route loaded down with newspapers, making him stronger and giving him what many believed was an uncanny sense of balance. Primarily a defensive star as a linebacker at Baton Rouge High School, he was a two-way terror as a senior and again for the LSU frosh. After a year at Hinds CC in Mississippi, Taylor and his young wife returned to LSU after missing all of spring practice, and he took almost half a season to adapt to the Army-T Formation that Dietzel had installed. Once he did, the Tigers improved drastically and he led the team in both 1956 and ’57, averaging an identical 4.7 yards per-carry average both seasons. Many don’t know that he excelled as a blocker and was an effective placekicker. The second-round draft choice of the Packers, he became Coach Lombardi’s go-to short yardage runner and was both feared and respected for his toughness. Compared throughout his career to Cleveland’s Jim Brown, the consensus often seemed to be that Brown had more physical gifts, speed, and grace but Taylor was the ultimate tough-guy who would go out of his way to run into and over defenders. He rang up five consecutive 1000 yard rushing seasons and peaked in 1962 when he beat Brown out for the NFL rushing title with 1474 yards and was the NFL Most Valuable Player. Taylor played in five consecutive Pro Bowls and was an integral part of the Lombardi Packers great seasons until playing his final year with his home state Saints expansion team. He finished a Pro Football Hall Of Fame career with 8597 yards on the ground and rushed for eighty-three touchdowns, having scored 558 points.

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