The NFL watched one of its all-time greats retire on Wednesday, with Darrelle Revis announcing that 11 seasons turned out to be enough.
Long live Revis Island. The final four words of Darrelle Revis’ retirement announcement via Twitter said it all, and will continue to do so.
When one thinks of Revis patrolling an NFL field for 11 seasons, the term immediately jumps to mind; Revis Island. It was the toughest place on earth to penetrate, and most didn’t dare try. It was the football version of Fort Knox.
Now, Revis goes into the next phase of his life both wealthy beyond words and with a Super Bowl ring to boot. While the Aliquippa native will largely be remembered for his time with the New York Jets, it was a sterling performance with the New England Patriots that brought home the hardware.
Revis, 33, was the most brilliant cover-corner of his generation. He’s arguably the greatest pure shutdown corner in league history, considering the era he played in, benefiting receivers at every turn. Some will argue that he flamed out over time, that he got lazy in his later years, and he did. Revis wasn’t the same player in Kansas City that he was in New York, due to a mixture of Father Time and a lack of hustle.
Still, his body of work speaks for itself. At his apex, Revis was the most devastating defensive player in the league, erasing one half of the field. He was the catalyst for the Jets reaching consecutive AFC Championship Games, only to be undone by a stubborn coach and lousy quarterback.
After a non-descript year in Tampa Bay, Revis landed with the Patriots and found his championship in 2014. It was also the fourth and final of his First-Team All-Pro years, showcasing a brilliance that lasted close to a decade. In five years, Revis will walk into Canton with a resumè almost unmatched, notching the aforementioned All-Pro accolades and seven Pro Bowl berths.
If history looks back and remembers anything of Revis, it should be this; nobody was more feared. In a time of unprecedented passing totals, teams willingly threw less with the knowledge that No. 24 loomed. For much of his career, Revis played in a system that constantly blitzed, leaving him in a true man-to-man scheme.
Unlike so many corners who have and had help — even the great ones — Revis played on his own aptly-named island, and he dominated.