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Jets Talk on Pro Bowl Past, Super Bowl Ahead


One drawback of having the Pro Bowl played in front of the Super Bowl instead of behind it is that all players except the Super Bowl participants have two fewer weeks to heal up whatever they have to heal up if they want to play in the annual all-star game.

Another drawback is that they get to field questions after the game, not about the game they just played in but the game they're not going to play in, the SB itself.

But the Jets were OK with that. They almost made the big game themselves, and they're considered experts since they arguably played the two NFL Championship combatants closest of all the teams that played the Colts and Saints.

And the Green & White choice to rule XLIV? Indianapolis.

"I think the Colts are going to win," cornerback Darrelle Revis said following the AFC's 41-34 conquest of the NFL at Sun Life Stadium in Miami on Sunday night. "Peyton's the difference, just because of how he operates everything and how good he is.

"Drew Brees is great, don't get me wrong. He's led his team to the Super Bowl. The one thing about those two, they're the heart of their teams. ... I know it's going to be hard-fought and I'm thinking it's probably going to be a high-scoring game because both offenses are explosive. But I'm thinking I've just gotta give an edge to Peyton Manning and the Colts."

Solid analysis. So it was also with defensive end Shaun Ellis.

"Pick the Colts? Yeah, I would," said Ellis. "I went to school with Peyton, so I kind of have to go with the Tennessee guy."

But there was more from the Big Katt. "I think the Colts' D-line can really get after them a bit with the speed of [Dwight] Freeney and [Robert] Mathis. And if Freeney's limited, Raheem Brock can get after the passer as well. It's going to be a challenging game. If the Saints let Peyton get into a rhythm early, it's going to be tough. I think it'll be a high-scoring game, but I think the Colts come out on top."

Doesn't anybody want to talk about the "other" bowl game in South Florida this fortnight? It was an entertaining affair, with the Jets' three offensive players contributing to a 517-yard, five-touchdown effort and kept the pressure away from Houston QB Matt Schaub to win MVP honors with his 13-for-17, 189-yard, two-TD passing game.

Meanwhile the two defensive stalwarts mentioned above, well, their defense allowed the Nationals 470 yards, but the NFC never got ahead by more than seven points, and that was for only a 51-second span of the third quarter before the score was tied again.

Here are some thoughts from the Jets quintet on their last game of a long season:

His Reputation Precedes Him: Darrelle Revis

Revis said getting the starting nod this year "doesn't mean anything. If you make the Pro Bowl, you make it, you're solidified, you can get the credit."

But as the starter and then as an almost-every-downs player after corner Nnamdi Asomugha left with a knee injury, he got a lot of treatment he was familiar with during the season from the NFC offensive coaches.

"Yeah, the first half, they didn't come to my side. I was wondering what the heck was going on," he said. "The second half they started coming at me, but I just relaxed. This is a game, but it's an all-star game, it's not really serious. You just want to take care of the guys out there and make sure everybody comes out healthy."

For the night, Revis compiled four tackles, all solos, tied for the team lead with none other than Baltimore LB Ray Lewis. He also got his hands on that Brian Dawkins interception that suddenly was being lateraled around the Sun Life Stadium pitch. And he came out of the game and heads into the off-season with no injuries. Mission accomplished.

Swing Man with a Dinged Hand: Shaun Ellis

Boomer Esiason, calling the game on radio, said he thought Ellis was playing every snap for the AFC defense. It only seemed that way. But the Big Katt was all over the front of the conference's four-man D-line.

"Yeah, we had a rotation. I played both ends, both inside positions," said Ellis, who was credited with two tackles. "I was the swing man today."

He didn't get to swing his "club" as much as he did at Indianapolis in the championship game a week ago. The NFC O-linemen weren't pulling on his broken hand like the Colts' O-linemen were. Regardless, the man obviously has one high pain threshold. Even after two weeks and a day of playing with a broken hand, he stood on the field for several interviews, holding his helmet in his left hand at his side, not grimacing once.

"No regrets. I just wish I would've been able to use this more," he said, lifting the offending hand. "Other than that, it's been great, man, it's been a ride. It took me 10 years to get to the AFC Championship Game. I came close one time and it didn't happen. But then to finally get there, it was huge."

It was also interesting this night to be the villain in Miami's home. As a member of the host AFC team, he even got to dress in the Dolphins' dressing room.

"I was teasing [Miami safety Yeremiah] Bell in the locker room," he said. "I was like 'Man, this is what your locker room looks like?' I got a bad feeling when I walked in there. I felt like I was a traitor or something. We kind of felt it when we walked out into the stadium and they booed us.

"But it was good. We had a great time. The Pro Bowl is a wonderful experience. You can't take it light. You have to enjoy every moment, cherish it."

The All-Decade Man: Alan Faneca

Faneca started at left guard as usual, and it was a typical Pro Bowl game for him, his ninth in a row.

"These games are always fun," he said. "There's something always crazy — the defensive return all the way for the touchdown that was called back. Always something fun and crazy going on. And when you come down to it at the end, when it's close, guys start taking it a little more seriously."

Such as when the AFC ran out the last 2:07 of the game with five plays, four runs, the coup de grace coming on Ravens fullback Le'ron McClain going for 3 yards on fourth-and-1 at the NFC-22 to ice the one-possession victory.

But Faneca was also aware of something that was made official in the half-hour before the game when the NFL announced its 2000s All-Decade Team. The only current Jet on the list was Faneca, and it is an award touches him.

"That's up there. That's huge to be on that list, to be a part of that. That goes above and beyond a Pro Bowl berth or All-Pro status," he said. "That's a collective award, my whole body of work in the decade. It's huge. I would value that very highly."

It's yours, Alan, and it's great that the last two years in this decade have been spent in green and white.

The First-Timer: D'Brickashaw Ferguson

Almost a half-year ago, Ferguson uttered those daring words at the start of training camp: "I'm definitely going to make the Pro Bowl this year." And in the minutes after the game was over, he was savoring his accomplishment.

"It felt real good, man," he said. "This was a chance to play in this game and have success in it. I felt good about it. It was a good time.

"We've played a lot of football. We've been going since August. What is it, the end of January? Now I can relax, kick back a little bit and enjoy the off-season."

For Brick there was also the wrinkle Sunday night of not only playing left tackle, his position forever, but also right tackle as the rotation called for it. Is right tackle in his pro future now?

"Not even a consideration," he said with a laugh. "Not even a consideration."

The Center of Attention: Nick Mangold

Mangold did seem just a little edge last year in Hawaii, when he earned his first Pro Bowl berth, then found out that he would be starting over injured starter and former perennial Jets Pro Bowler Kevin Mawae.

"This was good. A lot less stressful," Mangold said on the field in the minutes after the victory had been salted away. "I guess it's the joy of going back."

It also was perhaps the rotation that he worked out with Mawae, who this year was healthy and was voted in as Mangold's backup.

"The highlight tonight? Just keeping a good rotation," he said. "It was a collaboration. I think we came up with a good rotation."

Speaking of going back, how about returning next year to Hawaii for his third Pro Bowl berth?

"Fingers crossed," he said. "You don't want to count any chickens. It's a long road to get back."

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