JASON TAYLOR: DANCING WITH THE STARS. WRITING FOR US—THE FINALE!
Jason Taylor won't admit it or even imply it, but Kristi Yamaguchi's unfair advantage finally reared its head in the Dancing With the Stars finale. She dances on ice for a living, so, on solid ground, she was bound to overwhelm the judges. She scored a perfect 60 on Monday night, compared to Taylor's 51, although it's now up to the public—whose votes will be combined with the judge's scores—to pick a winner. Taylor's clear superiority, according to most experts, is that he and his partner, Edyta Sliwinska, were the best "couple'' in the competition; they had more chemistry on the dance floor than Yamiguchi and her partner, Mark Ballas. Taylor and Sliwinska received a standing ovation for their free-style routine Monday night, after which judge Bruno Tonioli said, "It's like watching centerfolds. And the dance wasn't bad, either.'' But win or lose, Taylor is going home to Miami soon. Whether he's reporting to minicamp Friday with the Dolphins, that's a whole other story. —Tom Friend
Kristi will win. She's been great all along. She came out of the gate, Week 1, as the best dancer, and we've been chasing her all season. I'm still trying to give her a run for her money, and I'm not giving up. That standing ovation was a great validation for Edyta and me. The crowd buys us as a couple, and that's the whole idea when you're dancing. You have to portray that you have a chemistry—not that you're coach and student. I think we've done that. And now we can sit back, hope people dial 1-800-868-3402 and whatever happens happens.
After the final show Tuesday night, we'll take the red-eye to New York to be on Good Morning America and Live with Regis and Kelly. And a lot people are wondering if I'm then going to fly to Miami for Friday's voluntary minicamp. Well, I won't be there. I'm going to be in L.A. on Friday. Got some things to do there.
I know what the reaction's going to be: Oh, he's the leader of that team, and he needs to be there. But, see, there're different types of leadership in sports. There're guys that can talk all the time, and try to lead by saying: "Oh, this is what we need to do, let's go, rah, rah rah.'' They're rah-rah guys. And then they're guys, like me, who lead by example. And people are saying now, "Your example should be being there working out with the team.'' Well, at the end of the day, I will show up and I will do anything I need to do, and I will be the best football player I can be. And one thing you can always hang your hat on is that on Sunday, you're going to get my best effort, and I'm going to run through hell or high water to make it happen.
I think the guys on that team know me. The guys in that locker room know me. And they know what I bring to the table. Look, they're supporting me like crazy, so they're not griping about it. Those guys love me and I love them. It's great. They understand and don't have a problem with it. That's why I don't understand why everybody else does.
Yes, there's a new defense to learn. But we've had a lot of coaches the last five years, and I've learned all those defenses. We'll make it work, trust me. We're not reinventing the wheel here.
People also make a big deal about Bill Parcells and me. I have not talked to Bill. It's fine. It's not that big a deal. He's a busy man. He's got a lot to do. He's got to run a football team. At this point, it should be laid to rest. We'll be fine. We'll sit down and talk in the near future when this is all done. I'll get back to Miami and we'll all sit down and talk and figure it out.
I'm not mad at him. No. Are you kidding? I'm fine. I'm fine. I'm not even going to get into it. I'm not going to sit here and squabble like some school kids. We're professionals, and he has a job to do, and I have a job to do and we'll both try to do our jobs the best we can.
Trust me, I like football. I did the Sunday Conversation on ESPN Sunday night, and some people took it wrong when I said in 10 years I hope I'm remembered for acting. Well, I wasn't trying to minimize what football means to me. The thing people need to understand is: Say you're 38 or whatever it is when you retire from football and you change careers. You want to be successful in anything you do in life. Well, I want to be successful in anything I do in life. So whatever that next chapter is for me, whether it be in Hollywood, or whatever, selling insurance or announcing football on TV or coaching high school football, I want to be remembered for whatever I'm doing at that particular time, because I want to be successful. It had nothing to do with saying football wasn't important or minimizing my passion for football. You're kidding me.
Sometimes people are looking for something different than what is actually said. I saw a couple comments today. People were like, "I can't believe he'd say he wanted to be known more for acting than for football.'' Are you kidding me? I mean, I want to be known as the best football player I can be. We all have dreams to win Super Bowls and make the Hall of Fame and all that, absolutely. But then, where does life go from there? You have to continue to grow. You can't just stop and shut it down, because you've accomplished things. That's not me. I won't shut it down. When I accomplish something, I want to keep going.
So, I guess I don't get all this over-the-top reaction. I agreed to do this show before we even made our coaching change, and, obviously, I don't see the huge deal about it. All I'm doing is going about my business and trying to be the best I can be and shine a positive light on the Miami Dolphins, my NFL, and on me and my family. That's all I'm about.
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