At some point Saturday evening, the Jets wrapped up their positional meetings at a Nashville hotel and gathered as one to receive a final message from head coach Eric Mangini. Before the players exited to their rooms and got a good night's rest for today's critical AFC matchup in Tennessee, Mangini surely made a meaningful presentation.
Mangini has been known to bring in emotional speakers and show inspirational videos, a trademark that's a hit with his players.
"At this point, every game gets bigger," said defensive end Kenyon Coleman. "I don't know what he's thinking, but how do you keep trumping yourself?"
On the eve of the Jets' Thursday night classic with the Patriots, Mangini went the ultimate-fighting route in Providence, R.I. When the lights went down, the Jets watched tape of the second meeting between Quinton "Rampage" Jackson and Marvin Eastman.
Jackson, who actually lost to Eastman in his third professional bout, scored a second-round technical knockout in the long-awaited rematch after multiple unanswered shots. There were parallels in that return match that the Jets could relate to before they played the Patriots.
Like Jackson, the Jets had to even a score with their rivals. In addition to the fight, Mangini also included a package which showed how-well prepared "Rampage" was for his second shot at Eastman. And when Jackson seized control of his opponent in his triumph, he never let him recover.
"Rampage said he was going to execute his game plan and when he had his shot, he took it. He finished the deal," said defensive end Shaun Ellis. "You never know what's going to take place in a fight. Once you smear their blood, you have to go finish them."
"I liked Rampage's work ethic and how he trained and how much of an animal he was in the workouts and in the gym doing his thing," added defensive tackle Sione Pouha.
But long before the Jets scored a win at New England's Gillette Stadium on Nov. 13, they were moved by the stirring oratory of Bill Curry. With the 1-2 Jets in desperate need of a win over the Arizona Cardinals prior to an early bye, Curry, a two-time Super Bowl champion as a player, former ESPN commentator and longtime college coach, visited the club.
"He talked about the pain of discipline or the pain of regret," said veteran linebacker David Bowens. "I think that was one of the most memorable speeches I've heard in my life. He said he was just going to talk for a couple of minutes and it went to about 45, but he had full attention. There was no attention deficit disorder in the room that day."
"He put in perspective that quote and it just makes it so much simpler because that's what life is — not just football," added defensive end Kenyon Coleman. "If you don't stay on top of it, you regress."
Curry's "pain of discipline or pain of regret" theme was so impactful that the phrase is painted on the walls outside the Jets' locker room.
"It is a sign outside our door now, so it has meaning to everyone inside this organization," said fullback Tony Richardson.
After Curry's talk, the Jets laid a 56-spot on the Cardinals and have won six of their past seven games overall. At 7-3, they have sole possession of first place in the AFC East and now embark on their toughest test yet.
The 10-0 Titans are undefeated and they'll play this afternoon in front of a wild LP Field crowd. If they win this game, they'll practically seal up the AFC's top seed and the talk of an undefeated season will grow.
But the soaring Jets have confidence and they won't be intimidated by this road venue. After going to Buffalo and beating a 5-2 Bills team, then going to Foxboro and topping a 6-3 Patriots squad, a win over the undefeated Titans would complete perhaps the most impressive three-game road swing in franchise history.
Saturday night, Mangini left some kind of image in his players' mind that they might draw upon today. There were guesses this week before the Jets departed for Music City.
"He might go classic Mangini on us and throw in a Rocky Marciano fight," D-Bo said. "You never know because he always throws something that always relates."
"Probably Roy Jones," Ellis said. "He was undefeated [besides a disqualification loss] when he got knocked out by Antonio Tarver in 2004."
And Mike DeVito suggested it wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility for Mangini to use a Hollywood production.
"He could show a movie," DeVito said. " '300' was about the Spartans and those guys were noble, hard-working warriors. ... I have no idea."
No matter the Saturday night message, Jets fans can only hope today's outcome will parallel last year's boxing battle of 147-pound welterweights, Antonio Margarito and Miguel Cotto.
Margarito, who entered the ring with a 37-4 record, was a clear underdog against the 32-0 Cotto. But he prepared diligently, was strong throughout and wore Cotto down. After Margarito floored Cotto twice in the 11th round, the champion's corner threw in the white towel.
"Margarito was just a strong and determined fighter tonight," said referee Kenny Bayless in an ESPN.com article. "It's the best fight I've ever done. They started out throwing power punches and they never stopped. They were throwing bombs and they never stopped."
The Jets will also have to be strong and determined all afternoon because they're going to absorb some Titan punishment at times. If they can stop Tennessee, though, the Green & White will become a contender everyone fears.