The New York Jets and Pittsburgh Steelers will play in the AFC Championship game Sunday evening and for Dolphins fans the most compelling part of that might be that long-time Dolphins defender Jason Taylor will be involved.
You remember Taylor?
JT played 12 seasons for the Dolphins. He never got past the divisional round of the playoffs. He's in the AFC title game in his first season with the Jets.
So how does that make you feel?
Most long-time Miami fans invested much full-throated support on Taylor. Those same people probably invested as much in rooting against the Jets. So how does one reconcile that?
Before you answer, remember some facts.
Taylor was a free agent this summer. He wanted to return to the Dolphins. The Dolphins did not offer him a contract and gave him no guarantees they would. The Jets did. He signed with New York because he wanted to continue playing.
We're beyond whether the decision by the Miami braintrust was a mistake or not. But we are not beyond how Taylor will go down in Dolphins history, go down as a Miami all-timer. The guy was arguably the most effective pass-rusher of the past decade (2000-2010). He will be a Hall of Fame candidate some day.
I, frankly, hold nothing against Taylor. I wish him the best. I personally want the Dolphins to succeed anytime they play the Jets. But the Dolphins are long gone from the picture this season. So I'm not about to use energy on rooting against a guy who is a good man and was a fine player for Miami and still loves this town.
So where are you at with this?
Let me plant this seed for you: How do you feel about Larry Csonka as an all-time Dolphin? Do you hate him? How do you feel about Paul Warfield? Jim Kiick?
The truth is those three are esteemed among Miami all-timers. Csonka and Warfield are in the Hall of Fame and the Dolphins claim them as favorite sons despite the fact they played elsewhere. So if you love them and claim them, how can you possibly say you won't claim Taylor some day?
I know, I know. None of those guys played for the reviled Jets. I get that. But you know what? They left the Dolphins in their prime to chase more money in the WFL. They left for selfish reasons, however way you cut it. And in doing so, they probably dashed the chances the Dolphins had of repeating as Super Bowl champions for an amazing third consecutive year in 1974-75.
The Dolphins lost a thisclose game to the Raiders that year in the divisional round. I'm saying if Warfield, Kiick and Csonka had been on the team, the Dolphins might have, and probably would have, won.
[Correction: The trio of Csonka, Kiick and Warfiled played in the game against the Raiders and migrated to the WFL following the game. Sorry for the error.]
Before you make your final decision and post a comment. listen to the interview Taylor did today on my radio show Armando and the Amigo on 640-Sports. Judge the words for yourself. Click to listen. And then do what you do in the comments section.
And, oh by the way, I'm picking the Jets on Sunday.