Brian Miller is correct. Only three jersey numbers have been retired in Dolphins history. Where Brian is wrong is saying there is “little debate” over Taylor’s case to be the fourth.
What are the criteria for retiring a player’s jersey? Does Jason Taylor fit those requirements?
Top player at his position
There is no question that Jason Taylor fills this requirement. As I wrote in my rankings of Dolphins players last month https://phinphanatic.com/2017/05/19/top-10-defensive-ends-dolphins-history/ Taylor is widely considered the best defensive end in Dolphins history.
On the other hand, other all-time greats haven’t had their numbers retired. Take Bruce Smith for example. He had more 60 more sacks than Taylor in his career and Buffalo hasn’t retired his number.
Best Dolphins player of his generation
I’m not sure how this rationale makes a player deserving of having his jersey retired. However, I bring it up because, in his article,
Miami hasn’t retired a jersey number since Marino and Taylor in some way is more representative to a whole generation of fans more than Marino… all of us, young and old saw Jason Taylor play. –Brian Miller
Brian Miller makes the point that “Taylor in some way is more representative to a whole generation of fans more than Marino…Miami hasn’t retired a jersey number since Marino and Taylor in some way is more representative to a whole generation of fans more than Marino. Believe it or not there are a lot of Dolphins fans who never saw Marino play or Don Shula, Larry Csonka, and Bob Griese but all of us, young and old saw Jason Taylor play.”
Using this line of thinking, will Joe Thomas have his number retired by the Browns? Why haven’t the Lions retired Barry Sanders’ jersey?
Just because the Dolphins haven’t retired a player’s jersey in 20 years doesn’t mean that the Dolphins should do it to appease the current generation of Dolphins fans.
Importance to the franchise
There is no doubt that Jason Taylor was the ‘heart and soul’ of the Dolphins from 2000-2007. (In Taylor’s first three seasons 1997-99 Dan Marino was still the marquee player on the team.)
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However, where exactly did Taylor take Miami during his career? The 2000 season represents the ONLY time that Jason Taylor made the playoffs without Dan Marino. Meanwhile, the other three players that have had their numbers retired all won the Super Bowl or, at least, routinely made the Dolphins Super Bowl contenders.
I understand that it’s a ‘team game’ and one player cannot be held solely responsible but, then again, aren’t fans knocking Ryan Tannehill for the same exact reason?
Does Jason Taylor deserve his name on the “Walk of Fame”? ABSOLUTELY!
Does Taylor deserve to be enshrined in the “Ring of Honor”? HECK YEAH!
From a sentimental standpoint, do I think Taylor’s number SHOULD be retired? I DO!
Does Taylor DESERVE to have his number retired? Not necessarily.
Brian said it himself here: https://phinphanatic.com/2017/06/03/miami-dolphins-retire-number-99/
"It’s hard to imagine any player in Dolphins history that truly deserves a retired jersey.–Brian Miller"
And he’s probably right.