It’s for all of those reasons that the Chiefs’ slim advantage nearly three quarters through this legendary bout was so improbable. The New York Jets’ victory in the previous AFL-NFL World Championship Game was largely regarded as a fluke by the public, but if the Chiefs could knock off the Vikings – who represented the absolute best that the NFL had to offer – the older league’s assumed superiority would be a relic of the past.
Taylor’s 46-yard touchdown scamper – which also included a terrific juke downfield – was a physical metaphor for exactly that. The AFL was officially on the NFL’s level, and professional football was changed forever.
“Otis made my job easy,” Dawson once said. “If you got the pass to Otis, you knew he’d catch it.”
It was one of the most memorable moments in a career filled with highlights for Taylor, who caught 410 passes for 7,306 yards and 57 touchdowns across 11 seasons while also serving as a tremendous downfield blocker. He was a two-time First Team All-Pro, an AFL All-Star and the UPI AFC Player of the Year in 1971. He led the NFL in receiving yards during the first year of the merger with 1,110, and his 11 touchdown receptions in 1967 led the AFL. To this day, Taylor ranks third in franchise history in receiving yards behind only Tony Gonzalez and Travis Kelce.
Taylor passed away on Thursday at the age of 80, but just as he sprung free for that 46-yard touchdown in Super Bowl IV, Taylor’s legacy will continue to gallop throughout franchise history forever.