All-American Jimmy Taylor on Football

Whole Foods at Towne Center is the closest thing Baton Rouge has to Main Street.  If you go to the coffee shop and sit long enough, you will see just about everyone you know or want to know.  One day last month, I was having coffee when I saw former Baton Rouge High, LSU, and Green Bay Packer great Jimmy Taylor come in.  “Join me, Jimmy,” I said, and he did.

Moments later, former Olympian Billy Hardin came in.  “Hey, Billy, come sit down with Jimmy and me!”  He did.  At this point, the best thing to do is let the legends do the talking!

I asked Jimmy, “What’s the secret to being a great running back?” One of the greatest running backs in history replied, “It’s really simple. You always initiate contact. When you have the ball, don’t let anyone hit you. You hit them! If you let them hit you, you are likely to be injured. You hit them first, drive through, and you’ll be a champ!”

How is pro football different today?  Jimmy said, “I played with some of the greats like Bart Starr and Paul Hornung. Our coach was Vince Lombardi. My average salary was $18,000.  We were just boys who wanted to play the game. It was all about the team, not about me. Today, these players are making millions, and some of them have no loyalty to the team. It’s all about me!  You can’t be a champion unless you put the team first!”

What made Lombardi so great?  “He was an inspirational leader, who always did what was best for the team.  He was a straight shooter and told you the truth.  I loved him!”

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