As fans of the NFL, we know what it is like to feel a burning ire for another person simply because his team of choice does not match our own.
When a dyed-in-the-wool fan of one team encounters opposing teams' supporters, love for one's own overcomes common sense and produces emotions of extreme intensity. It's part of what makes this game so amazing and keeps us coming back year after year.
I am the kind of fan who would prefer to die rather than wave the flag of another team. I love the Dolphins more than a person should love anything—to the point where I must admit that my own personal happiness is inescapably fused to, and wholly dependent upon, the team's success.
I do realize, however, that without the teams that threaten to take away my happiness by defeating the Fins on the field of battle, there would be no Miami Dolphins; there would be no love.
That is precisely why I have decided to write this series, "It's Not All Hate"—to remind everyone that it is football that we truly love, to thank the fans of other teams for the competitive spirit that drives all of our passions for the game, and to acknowledge the fact that the symbiosis between us is what really fuels the sport.
I am going to attempt to say something nice about every single NFL team.
The New York Jets:
I absolutely had to kick this series off with the Jets edition. The current level of hatred between our teams is a beautiful thing! Division rivalries are the best kind, and with the best division in football (that's right AFC/NFC North & South, I said it) we have a lot to be competitive about. We are just about the only division that could see three teams make the postseason. (Sorry, Buffalo)
You guys realize how big of a thing it is for a Dolphins' fan to say he likes something about the Jets, and I admit this hurts a little, but let's face it—your defense is good. It isn't just good, it is really good. No non-Jets fan can possibly dispute that; the numbers don't lie. It certainly won't hurt if Darrelle Revis can match his 2009 performance this year.
I can't say I truly believe that Mark Sanchez is better than Chad Henne, and that is not my bias talking—Jets Nation knows it as well. Statistically, last year Henne did more with less, but there is something about Mark that makes me feel that he could be an effective QB one day without the kind of help that he received in 2009. I like his mobility over anything else, and he has that quality over Chad in spades.
Braylon Edwards was a genius addition to your offense—who'd have thought it? He was the reason we just barely bested you in Week Five. Sanchez threw up some questionable passes, and Edwards came down with them like they were right on the numbers. Plus, that TD he had when he caught the ball at the three-yard line and literally wrestled his way in with two Dolphins on his back was my pick for best individual effort in that game.
The rest of your receiving corps is money as well; Jerricho Cotchery, David Clowney, and now Santonio Holmes will give opposing secondaries plenty to study leading up to each game.
I tried to think of something nice to say about your running game, but I really don't like what management did to butcher it in the offseason. They had a winning formula and still decided to do some tampering. Even if you can squeeze a few more numbers out of LT, he is running on some serious borrowed time in this league. Additionally, Shonn Greene has a ways to go before he is someone you can rely upon—if you recall his fumble cost you the second meeting with the Dolphins last year.
Overall, the Jets are a good football team. There, you heard it from a Dolphins fan—try to contain your astonishment. Right now they make up one-quarter of the most competitive division in football and will cause my Dolphins and the Patriots to fight hard for the AFC East crown in 2010. None of us can honestly say that any of our teams are locks because the talent is so abundant across the board.
I appreciate Jets fans for this wonderful rivalry that injects life and spirit into our beloved game. You know as well as I do that the two upcoming meetings this year are going to be close games where the victor will be determined by who wants it more on that particular day. Best of luck in 2010. We can recommence our hatred for one another at this time.
If you enjoyed this installment of the "It's Not All Hate" Series, Go To My Archive to find the others, and more.