A lot of Jets players are heading into the game just before the Super Bowl for the first time in their NFL careers. So naturally they'll be a little nervous, right?
"This will be as loose a team as you'll ever see going into an AFC Championship Game," head coach Rex Ryan told reporters during a national news conference this afternoon. "Loose because we're going to prepare to the best of our abilities and we look forward to the opportunity to compete against a good football team.
"We're not afraid to compete against the Colts — we're excited to."
Sure, the Jets know the magnitude of this game, but there's no reason to switch things up too much when they've gotten this far. Quarterback Mark Sanchez, who admits some of coach's superstitions have rubbed off on him, said he'll keep the scraggly beard that he's been growing since the Week 16 game at Indianapolis.
"Why change now?" Sanchez said. "We've gotten into a little routine thus far these last couple weeks and we've been on our game as a team. Nobody wants to change. I sure don't.
"Just go play and have fun, do what you've done forever. The field is going to be the same size, the ball is still a Wilson NFL ball. Just go throw it like you know how. I think once you eliminate the distractions and everything surrounding the game and just go play, you try to set yourself free with your preparation."
"I think it's all about repetition with us," said cornerback Darrelle Revis. "We're doing the same thing, but you have to be great at it. I think that's the thing about it. We're not scared to put it out there in what we do. You're just going to have to beat it, that's the simple fact."
Jets Nation doesn't want its team's winning ways to change, either. With one more victory, the Green & White will be heading to the Super Bowl for the first time since Broadway Joe was calling the snap count in the 1968 season.
And although they've gotten so far when expectations coming in for this team with a rookie head coach and quarterback were so low, a loss in this game would likely be considered a letdown by many.
"In games like this, you can't be afraid to fail," said linebacker Bart Scott. "You can't play tight. If you draw it up and play it exactly how it's supposed to be played on paper, [Peyton Manning] will complete the pass every time. You have to trust your preparation, trust your schemes, and trust the man next to you.
"We understand it's tough sledding but we're not afraid to fail. If you're not afraid to fail it gives you a better chance at succeeding."
Even with the Jets' bandwagon filling up more and more as each day passes, if they don't believe they'll win, nobody really will. The confident bunch has overcome adversity all season and stayed together through it all. You could even say that the tough losses and hard times prepared them more for where they are right now.
Revis said that the great receivers he's covered all year have prepared him for the task at hand. This week the Pro Bowl corner will be moved around on Indy's elite receivers just as he was on San Diego's targets last week.
Even though New York's AFC representative will be playing in a temperature-controlled Lucas Oil Stadium, No. 24 forecasted some turbulent weather on Revis Island.
"There's going to be a lot of storms. It's going to be crazy. You just have to fight through the storm," he said with a smile. "This is a big challenge for me as well because Reggie Wayne is a great receiver. But it starts with Peyton Manning. He's a great quarterback, he throws the ball where defenders can't reach it, can't find it. I think that's the thing — his guys are better by him putting the ball in places where defenders can't find it."
The Green & White know all that's standing between them and a Super Bowl appearance is No. 18 and the top-seeded Colts. Surely not the easiest trip a team's had on its quest for the Lombardi Trophy, but for the Jets, that's about as nice a script as you could've drawn up.
"You play this game to get one of those rings," said Scott. "It's one of those things that you can't buy — you have to earn it. That's what makes it so special. It's an opportunity to etch your name in stone and be a part of history. It's something that can live far longer than you."