For 15 seasons former Miami Dolphins defensive end Jason Taylor terrorized opposing quarterbacks. On Saturday, Taylor was voted into the Hall of Fame. That however is not his legacy.
The Hall of Fame is a cliche’ where inductees stand at a podium and accept a gold jacket and bronze bust. It’s where they tell the stories of how they got there and how they couldn’t have made it without the help of certain coaches but more importantly their teammates.
While that may be true, the reality is that a players induction into the HOF serves two things. It gives their team something to pound their chest on and the player himself an individual attainment. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
Jason Taylor deserves to be in the HOF and he is only the 5th DE in NFL history to receive the honor on a first ballot. That is impressive. But Jason Taylor, the HOF Jason Taylor has a bigger legacy that defines him. One that transcends his accomplishments on the field.
When people talk about football players in the past tense they so often talk about what they were able to do while they were players and that would be absolutely understandable when it comes to talking about Taylor. But there is so much more to why his legacy is strong in South Florida.
Off the field, Taylor is a non-stop servant of the community. Especially for children. His Jason Taylor Foundation raises money all year long as a 365 day a year business that helps those in need in South Florida. Through golf events to public appearances, Taylor has kept his face visible in Miami.
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His work through his charity has helped bring a voice to South Florida’s high-school and middle school students. Louder Than A Bomb, first part of Chicago was brought to Miami and Taylor’s foundation has made huge strides into bringing awareness to it.
LTAB is a poetry contest of sorts. What it really does is give its participants an outlet. A forum and a stage to speak openly about what drives them, holds them back, and more importantly instills in them confidence that they may not have had otherwise.
For Taylor this is a new adventure but Taylor is more than that as well. His legacy transcends that of charitable work as well. As pointed out by Armando Salguero last week in one of his articles for the Miami Herald, Taylor’s 1-2 hour autograph signing lasted three hours because he wouldn’t leave with people in line.
Taylor stands on similar ground as Dan Marino, Don Shula, and former Miami Heat’s Dwayne Wade. Casual fans will remember him for what he did on the field which is great. He sacked Tom Brady more than any other player in the NFL and more than any other quarterback in his career. He has danced with the stars, left for other cities and returned home. He is a Walter Payton Man of the Year winner and of course now a Hall of Fame but his legacy will continue to grow through his work in South Florida and sometimes that goes without being noticed. And Taylor is probably fine with that.
Jason Taylor never approached anything for himself. He just wanted to do the best he could. His story is far from written it’s just had another highlight added to his resume. A rather big highlight at that.
No matter what Taylor has in store or planned for his future the benefactors are the thousands of South Florida children and their families. The benefactors are the residents of South Florida and through those efforts, we all in some way benefit.
Congratulations Jason Taylor on your election to the Pro-Football Hall of Fame.