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Lionel Taylor

Inducted 1970


Lionel Thomas Taylor is a name that inevitably crops up in any conversation about professional football. It probably always will.

Taylor, prominent in establishing the American Football League’s record book as an original member of the Denver Broncos, was a foremost choice of the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame Selection Board in 1970 and was the first member of the Denver professional football club to gain a place in the state’s Sports Hall of Fame.

The six-foot two-inch, 205 pounder brought fame to Colorado sports by leading the American Football League five times in pass receptions and by being named to the league’s All-Star Team four times during his seven year career with the Broncos.

He dominated the team’s record book in career marks, single-season records and single-game performances.

Taylor, who retired from football after the 1968 season, held AFL records for the most pass receptions in a career (567), most receptions in a single game (13), which he shared with three others, and for leading in receptions five times.

In 1963, 1964 and 1965, Taylor was chosen as Denver’s MVP and received the Third Down Trophy after each season.

An exciting competitor who endeared himself to fans throughout the league, Taylor is another of the many professional stars produced by small college football teams. He graduated from New Mexico Highlands University and after a brief period with the Chicago Bears as a linebacker, was signed by the Broncos early in the 1960 season. He immediately became an exceptional wide receiver. Before the 1967 season, he was traded and concluded his career in Houston in 1968 after injuries curtailed regular duty.

In addition to football, the Kansas City, Missouri native lettered three years in basketball at Highlands. During his professional career, Taylor continued his education and earned a Master’s degree in education.

Among the Broncos career records he has held are: the most passes caught (543) from 1960-1966 (plus 24 for the Houston Oilers in 1967 and 1968); most yards gained (6,976); and most touchdown receptions (44).

In a single game, Taylor received thirteen passes against Oakland in 1964; gained 199 yards against Buffalo in 1960; and hauled in the most touchdown receptions (3) against Buffalo the same year.

After football, Taylor made his home in Littleton, with his wife Lorencita and their two daughters, Loretta and Lavern.

Lionel Taylor

He dominated the team’s record book in career marks, single-season records and single-game performances.