Last night the almost 80,000 Jets fans each received a towel, on which was printed: "WE WIN AND WE'RE IN!" Well, they won and they're in.
Game temperature never got above 20 degrees, with a windchill of four and yet almost the entire Jets squad was in short sleeves. (Rob Turner did his pregame "warmup" wearing only shorts and a sleeveless shirt.) Statement or insanity? Not sure, but they pulled it off and have now earned a rematch with the Bengals on Saturday in Cincinnati. Kickoff at 4:30pm ET on NBC.
The mood last night in the locker room was upbeat, but relatively even-keeled. The players seem to know that there's no room for major celebrations at this point. Mark Sanchez was the most buoyant of anybody in the room, bouncing around to the music playing on the iPod in his locker. By the way- Sanchez is old school when it comes to music. A lot of '80s and '90s stuff. Gotta love it, although it occasionally made it hard to hear his teammates doing interviews. I'm just saying.
Darrelle Revis was all smiles after shutting down Chad Ochocinco. He laughed when I told him that Ochocinco had promised to change his name back to Johnson if Revis shut him down.
As for Ochocinco's response when one of the Bengals beat reporters asked him after the game if he were in fact, planning to do that? "Child, please." Not entirely sure if that means yes or no.
On a more serious note, Calvin Pace, who is now in his seventh season, is overjoyed to be going to what will be his first-ever playoff game. "I'm proud. I'm proud of everybody," he said. "When things were bad, everybody stuck together. There's a lot of times we could have folded our tent. We didn't leave any doubt. We kind of stubbed our toe along the way but we got back on track. It was the best game I ever played in."
He talked about how teammates started getting together as a group around Thanksgiving, watching Monday Night Football games. It helped add to the camaraderie and team unity that they had been building since Rex Ryan arrived.
Curious about who hosts the best event? "Bart (Scott) has the best setup," Pace said laughing. "It's like being in Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch." Knowing Scott, this surprises me not at all.
As for me, I'm just glad no one set my car on fire in misguided celebration.
More to come as what promises to be an interesting week unfolds.