I Don't Hate You, Jason Taylor

By Matt Gullette

Jason Taylor crossed over to the dark side. The smog-filled, arrogant and evil dark side. And because of this there are a lot of Dolfans who now detest the one-time face of the franchise, and I can’t say that I blame them.

[picappgallerysingle id=”648836″]As a Dolfan, it’s been my sworn duty to despise the New York Jets and Jets fans alike, but I can’t bring myself to hate this guy. Not after all we’ve been through (and I mean that as heterosexually as possible).

Am I disappointed that Jason is a Jet? Well, does Rex Ryan have an enormously thick gut protruding from his sewer-green windbreaker? There’s no question about it. It does kinda feel like getting cheated on – with your uglier, less charming step-brother. But no, I don’t hate Jason.

I honestly don’t know if it was Taylor or the Dolphin front office who got in the way of any kind of deal being made this off-season, but it really doesn’t matter much anymore since Jason decided to get all buddy-buddy with the team he’s claimed to hate his entire career. He even remarked how much “better” the team atmosphere is in New York, saying that it was like “night and day” compared to the Dolphins.

Now I don’t have access to all the behind the scenes activity in Miami, but I do know that it was good enough for Chad Pennington to take a paycut and the role of third-string quarterback, so it must not be too bad. I thought you had more class than that, Jason.

But I read a story yesterday about Jason Taylor picking a number for his new, god-forsakenly ugly jersey, and it put it all in a much better perspective. You see, his usual #99 was already taken by eight-year veteran linebacker Bryan Thomas, so Taylor chose to go with #95 in honor of the great Dolfin defensive tackle Tim Bowens.

“Timbo was one of my all-time favorites,” Taylor told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. “He’s the most unselfish, underrated teammate I’ve ever had.”

A classy move reminiscent to Jason’s better days in Miami.  Bowens, a two-time Pro Bowler, played 11 seasons with the Dolphins and retired after the 2004 season. He was a big (and I mean BIG) part of the great Dolphin defense that included Taylor, brother-in-law Zach Thomas, Brock Marion, and Sam Madison (to name a few).

That’s when it hit me. Things have changed in Miami since the Tim Bowens days; after Taylor departed in 2008 (presumably on bad terms), Bill Parcells and co. have turned things around – the atmosphere, the expectations and the mentality. Parcells hired a much tougher Tony Sparano, changed the offensive and defensive schemes and in doing so departed from the days of old (or atleast the one’s Jason remembers), and of course moved on from the awkward teenage years of Cam Cameron (thank God).

This transition all happened during Taylor’s stint in Washington, so when he came back last season we all (including Jason) assumed he would come back and be the same player he was before he left – the face of the franchise. His friends and family all lived in Miami, so it seemed as if he’d never left to begin with. Cue the warm and fuzzy nostalgic music.

That’s where the rift occurred.

You see, even though Jason is stuck in New York, his heart is still stuck in Miami and the year is 2001.

While we still love to think about the good ole days, we needed to move on. The new Dolphins are no longer a franchise that cares about individual faces. With Parcells in charge, the Dolphins have adopted a team-first mentality where things like missing training camp for Dancing With the Stars and individual egos are discouraged because they don’t benefit the overall good of the team (that’s not socialism, that’s football).

Yes, it’s a new era in Miami. An era that doesn’t include a much older Jason Taylor, as much as I hate to admit it. Sometimes it hurts to grow, but it’s an inevitable process of getting better. It was time for both parties to reach a clean break – a no-strings-attached divorce. I guess that meant Jason Taylor would have to be a New York Jet.

So no, I don’t hate you, Jason Taylor; I don’t even blame you for playing in New York, because it was the best (and maybe the only) offer on the table. In fact, I hope the Dolphins and Taylor can eventually resolve their issues and do the same thing Zach Thomas did this week – that is if Taylor stops talking trash about us.

But as for Jason the Jet, he is nothing more than the enemy dressed in puke-colored clothing, and while I wish him the best, I also wish him the bitter taste of defeat…it’s a little something I like to call FINDICATION.

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