New York Jets fans ponder whether Darrelle Revis’ number should be retired
On Wednesday morning, New York Jets fans on Twitter began to debate whether or not former Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis deserves to have his number 24 jersey retired by the team.
Should the Jets retire #24? ⬇️
— NYJ Matt (@NYJ_Matt) December 15, 2021
As of this writing, the above poll stands at 78.6% “Yes” and 21.4% “No” with 665 votes.
The case for Yes
The Jets currently have five retired numbers:
- Joe Namath (12)
- Don Maynard (13)
- Curtis Marin (28)
- Joe Klecko (73)
- Dennis Byrd (90)
Revis may not have the longevity of some other Jets legends, playing 108 games with the team over eight seasons (58th-most games played in team history).
But on a per-game basis, there may not be a player in franchise history other than Namath who made a bigger positive impact than Revis.
Pro Football Reference tracks a stat called “Approximate Value” (AV) that estimates the impact that a player makes. Revis ranks 17th in Jets history with 88 AV despite tying for 58th in games played (108).
His average of 0.815 AV per game trails only Namath (0.824) in franchise history among qualified players.
Here are the Jets’ best players in franchise history based on AV per game (minimum 65 games played):
- Joe Namath (0.824)
- Darrelle Revis (0.815)
- Curtis Martin (0.772)
- Don Maynard (0.767)
- Kevin Mawae (0.763)
- Marvin Powell (0.734)
- Larry Grantham (0.714)
- Mark Gastineau (0.708)
- Chad Pennington (0.696)
- Ken O’Brien (0.685)
Revis barely trails Namath and sits ahead of Martin and Maynard, who join Namath as three of the four players who have their numbers retired due to on-field performance (Dennis Byrd’s number was retired in his honor after a career-ending neck injury in just his fourth season).
Joe Klecko, the fourth of the four players whose numbers were retired due to their on-field accomplishments, ranks 19th out of 162 qualifiers with an average of 0.600.
To boot, Revis is tied for fourth in Jets history with five Pro Bowl selections despite tying for 46th with eight seasons played.
Revis is clearly the most dominant defensive player in Jets history and arguably their second-most impactful player at any position after Namath. That sounds like a player who should have his number retired.
The case for No
Longevity is the first point in the case against Revis.
As previously mentioned, he only ranks 46th in team history in seasons played and 58th in games played. Klecko, Martin, Maynard, and Namath all played at least 15 more games with the Jets than Revis. Martin played the same number of seasons but the other three each played at least three more seasons.
The main point against Revis is the off-field drama.
Revis became infamous for his contract disputes with the Jets. He held out of training camp ahead of the 2007 and 2010 seasons. There was also controversy surrounding his future in the 2012 offseason as he was set to hit free agency the following year.
The Jets declined to give into Revis’ demands and traded him to Tampa Bay ahead of the 2013 season.
Adding to the case against Revis is what happened next: he joined the hated New England Patriots in 2014 and helped them win a Super Bowl.
Revis returned to the Jets for the twilight of his career from 2015-16 but was nowhere near the player he once was. New York released him after the 2016 season and he finished his career in 2017 as a member of the Chiefs.
Revis’ Jets legacy is certainly not as pure as the ones put together by Klecko, Martin, Maynard, and Namath. Could you retire the number of a player who was well-known for constant contract drama and then helped a division rival win a championship? I can see why some people would not be on board with that.
My vote: Yes
In my opinion, Revis’ unmatched excellence at his peak makes him worthy of having his number retired. No Jet in history can claim to have hit a higher ceiling than Revis did. Plus, he was the best player on the only pair of Jets teams in franchise history to win a playoff game in back-to-back years – he was the face of one of the Jets’ best eras.
Revis is one of the all-time greats of the cornerback position and will surely be in the Hall of Fame one day. He is the first player that comes to mind for many people when they hear the term “shutdown corner” – and such a player may never exist again as the NFL’s rules continue to become more pro-receiver and anti-corner.
What Revis did as a Jet only becomes more impressive as time goes on and the league fails to produce any cornerbacks who come close to matching Revis’ dominance. The numbers he produced are absolutely mind-boggling and may never be matched.
What do you think? Should the Jets immortalize No. 24 in green?