Yesterday, the radio dials shook with outrage when the Packers’ Charles Woodson, in the midst of a Hall of Fame career, won the NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award over Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis. (The Post actually led their story with “The Jets get no respect,” a viewpoint one suspects they’ll alter if the Jets happen to lose Sunday.) Revis is the best player on the Jets, the largest asset the team has against the cavalcade of powerful offenses left in the playoffs, and someone you probably couldn’t pick out of a lineup.
Revis is in his third year with the Jets, but has only truly exploded this onto the scene this year, despite a Pro Bowl berth last year. (When Deion Sanders, who would know, calls you the best corner in the NFL, you’ve arrived.) He came to the Jets highly regarded — we love this breathless story about him from high school — but has surpassed all anyone could have reasonably expected of him. The key to the Jets’ whole game plan, the rushing and the safe outlet passes and ball control, is keeping the other team from the throwing all over the place (like everyone does in the NFL these days). Revis is the main reason this works. (Though, of course, Bart Scott, Kerry Rhodes, et al, they don’t hurt either.) He’s quick and athletic, of course, but he’s particularly skilled at studying receivers’ tendencies and seeming to understand where they’re going before they do. That’s the mark of the film rat he is.
But again: We don’t remember ever seeing Revis in a commercial, or talking big before a game, or making a major impression off the field at all, really. You don’t see a lot of people wearing his jersey — Mark Sanchez remains the only Jet in the top twenty of jersey sales in the NFL, at No. 14, according to NFL Shop data — and as great a nickname as “Revis Island” is, it hasn’t caught on from a marketing standpoint. Revis might be too quiet and too dominant for his own good.
It’s not that he’s not charismatic. Witness this Revis appearance from October, at the 12 Angry Mascots comedy show at Comix:
Okay, maybe he doesn’t have the best lines, but you can at least see that he’s game. Revis is an underrated, underexposed superstar in the country’s biggest market, playing on the biggest stage. Mark Sanchez wins mainstream praise for not throwing interceptions. Revis wins quiet accolades simply for dominating the whole game. He’s got you covered.