BCS History & Legends

BLACK
COLLEGE
SPORTS

HISTORY & LEGENDS

John Taylor: An Unsung Star Became one of the Best

A Rocky Beginning...

John Taylor first played football at Pennsauken High School in New Jersey, but who knew he would end up being an NFL superstar and named among the Who’s Who from Pennsauken. He enrolled at Johnson C. Smith University and tried out for the football team and failed to make the cut. He transferred to Delaware State the following year…made the team and the rest is – well, you know.
In his career at Del State (1983-85), he became a perennial All-MEAC wide receiver.
He caught 10 touchdown passes in both his sophomore and junior seasons. (tied kicker David Parkinson for most career points (254) in the conference).
His 223 receiving yards in one game is also a conference record.
Taylor set a single-season conference record with 15 touchdowns (13 receiving) in his senior season and a career record of 42 touchdowns (33 receiving).
He has the two longest receptions in conference history, 97 and 93 yards.
His 24.3 yards/catch average was the NCAA record (eclipsed by Jerome Mathis, 26.4).
He held the conference record in career receiving yardage -2,426 (broken by Albert Horsey, 2,491)
He was one of the most dominant players in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC).
Honors
All-MEAC First Team, 1984-85
MEAC Offensive Player of the Year, 1985
Inducted into the Black College Football Hall of Fame

Taylor was drafted in the third round of the 1986 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers. He played for the 49ers from 1987 to 1995 and is best remembered for catching the winning 10-yard touchdown pass from Joe Montana during the final seconds of Super Bowl XXIII in 1989.
Despite playing alongside record-setting Hall of Fame teammate Jerry Rice, he still had record-setting stats of his own.

Super Moments

He led the National Football League in punt return yards (556) in 1988

*Set Super Bowl records for the most punt return yards (56) and highest punt return average (18.7 yards per return)

John held the record for the longest punt return in Super Bowl history, with a 45-yard return in Super Bowl XXIII (since broken by Denver Broncos’ return specialist Jordan Norwood – record with a 61-yard return in Super Bowl 50).

In the season after his Super Bowl-winning touchdown reception, Taylor established himself as one of the top receivers in the NFL. Despite not being the #1 receiver on his team, Taylor finished the 1989 season with 60 receptions for 1,077 yards and ten touchdowns (the fourth most touchdown receptions by a player in the NFL that year).

– scored touchdowns on two receptions of over 90 yards (92 and 96), an NFL first in a Monday night game against the Los Angeles Rams.

– Set a record for most receiving yards in back-to-back games with a total of 448, a record he held until November 2006 when Chad Johnson of the Cincinnati Bengals broke it with 450 receiving yards. He broke the 1,000 receiving yard milestone again in the 1991 season with 64 receptions for 1,011 yards and nine touchdowns (ranking him seventh in the NFL)

– In his nine NFL seasons, Taylor recorded 347 receptions for 5,589 yards (an average of 16.1 yards per catch) and 43 touchdowns.

He also gained 1,517 yards and two touchdowns returning punts, and added another 276 yards returning kickoffs.

He was selected to play in the NFL Pro Bowl twice, in 1988 and 1989.

He also won three Super Bowl rings in his career with the 49ers, in 1988, 1989, and 1994.

His combined total of 94 punt return yards in those three games are the most by any player in Super Bowl history, and his average of 15.7 yards per return is also the highest.

Career:
Receiving Yards: 5,598
Punt return yards: 1,517
Kick return yards: 276
Return touchdowns: 2
Receptions: 347

Inducted into the Black College Football Hall of Fame