All right, youths, I see your “Bad Blood” and your “The Story of Adidon” and raise you:
(We’ll leave ‘Hit ‘Em Up’ for another day)
And while there’s no doubt that Jets-Patriots didn’t exactly pack all the East Coast venom of Red Sox-Yankees for the first, um, few decades after the Pats joined the NFL, there’s no doubt that it definitely got the spiciest when the post-18-1 Pats and the I’m-not-here-to-kiss-the-rings Jets got to the point anyone with brothers knows real well:
The part when the switch flips from “One more, double or nothing!” to “Say that ONE more time to my face, and see what happens”.
All that to say, after kickoff on Sundays in those days of Jets-Pats, Revis Island may not have talked as big a game as his boy Ty Law, but that’s probably more because he didn’t need to.
One could even make a pretty solid case that some of those games where Revis and the Jets actually managed to match the Patriots punch-for-punch not only gave Darrelle his legendary nickname that he’d ride all the way to the Hall of Fame (surely...right?), it also gave both teams plenty of chances for legitimate bad blood to get worse.
Which is how you end up with moments like Darrelle Revis calling Bill Belichick a jerk on ESPN in 2012!
Fast forward a tad to Revis getting traded to the Bucs, betting on himself with a $96 million contract with zero guaranteed dollars, and watching that bet backfire spectacularly when...wait for it...Lovie Smith took over for Greg Schiano in Tampa and promptly released a then-29-year-old Revis Island, making him an unrestricted free agent.
For roughly the amount of time of a three-course steak dinner, anyway.
Seriously though, here’s the timestamps on the NFL.com stories on the release and when Revis signed his 2-year (COUGH - more on that in a sec) deal with the team he’d called ignorant, disrespectful, and, in his words, made things personal:
Darrelle Revis released by Tampa Bay Buccaneers
March 12th, 2014, 3:35pm.
Darrelle Revis, New England Patriots strike contract
March 12th, 2014, 8:40pm.
Remember now: the Patriots had just lost Aqib Talib to the Denver Broncos on a $57 million deal - and by just lost, that means “March 11th, 2014” and the Patriots were back to the drawing board at CB1. This was also still pretty firmly in the era when we knew Bill Belichick surely wouldn’t pony up for a cornerback, and then he goes and signs a dude who ostensibly still hates his guts for...2 years and $32 million dollars!?!
So about that $32 million dollars...even with the second year as a $20 million poison pill that’d effectively guarantee the Patriots would cut him before the 2015 league year and make him a free agent, Revis’s $12 million for the 2014 season still was enough to give him the second-sweetest title of his career (or, knowing him, maybe the first-sweetest) - highest-paid cornerback in the NFL in 2014.
Also, witness this glorious episode of “Life is Tough When You Suck” from New York at the time - was there a Manish Mehta take? Funny you should ask!:
NYDN - Revis had told friends that he wanted to return to play for Ryan, who was his biggest fan. It’s believed that the coach who built his defense around Revis for years shared the same feeling.
However, Jets management and ownership weren’t amenable to bringing back Revis after their past rocky relationship.
Revis, who returned to the Pro Bowl in his first season after suffering a torn ACL, would have been the perfect piece for Ryan again.
Now, the Jets will face the best player in the Ryan era twice a year, a painful reminder of a bungled decision and flawed mindset.
The Patriot Way always seems to be the better way than their way.
aaaaaaaaaand the chaser from NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal referenced earlier:
This is a move made to put a solid Patriots team over the top. Peyton Manning isn’t the only all-time great quarterback with a short window left to grab a title.
Hey, wait, where’s everybody going? You know the drill, there’s always a post-credits scene! Put your keister back in the seat for 38 more seconds!
After the Patriots released Revis in the spring of 2015 due to the aforementioned poison pill in his (admittedly slickly negotiated) contract, Revis Island was BACK IN THE BIG APPLE BABAY....
....on a 5-year deal worth $70 million and a cool $39 million guaranteed. If you’re good at something, never do it for free.
Especially if you don’t really feel like doing it anymore! In a move any 30-year-old can relate to, Revis showed up and balled out his first year back with the Jets, making his 7th Pro Bowl while the Jets - the Jets - rolled to a 10-6 record in their first year under rookie head coach Todd Bowles.
And then, Revis shows up not exactly in peak Captain America type physical condition in 2016, comes to the epiphany “I don’t like my job, and I don’t think I’m going to go anymore”, allows a 91.7 opposing QBR (as opposed to his previous 59.3) on the season, and then promptly got released after the 2016 season ended.
While leaving the Jets with a $6,000,000.00 dead money cap hit for their trouble.
(Editor’s Note: an earlier version of this piece stated that Greg Schiano cut Darrelle Revis from the Buccaneers, because your writer should not have been editing after the Bruins game.)