Heinz Field may be a 'House of Horrors' for the Jets. But that's not necessarily the case for Darrelle Revis.
Back in 2003, Revis’ Aliquippa (Pa.) H.S. team won the Western Pennsylvania Independent Athletic League championship at Heinz Field, defeating Jeanette HS (Pa.), 18-4.
Revis caught a 54-yard touchdown pass, recovered a fumble and ran for 67 yards in the game. He also helped the Aliquippa defense hold Jeannette to 87 yards in 51 plays.
“I played him everywhere, wherever we needed him," Aliquippa coach Mike Zmijanac recalled earlier this week. "And all he wanted to do was win. I played him at quarterback, wide receiver, running back and wherever it was, was fine with him. As long as he was on the field, he was happy.”
The only downside to Revis' day came in the third quarter when he had a 75-yard touchdown run called back because of a holding penalty.
Rod Forbes, the Aliquippa strength and conditioning coach at the time whose son, Will, played linebacker on the same defense as Revis, said the ‘Quipps’ post-game celebration at Heinz Field was subdued because the players knew they were still two wins from their ultimate goal – the ‘AA’ state title.
“We knew we had to win a game after that, probably two games, so it was pretty low-key,” Forbes recalled by phone earlier this week. “We enjoyed ourselves for the moment and after that we knew we had to get back to work if we wanted to eventually play for the state championship. So it wasn’t like winning the Super Bowl.”
The Jets and Revis face the same scenario at Heinz Field on Sunday evening in the AFC Championship Game. Gang Green is 1-3 all-time at Heinz Field, including a brutal loss in the 2004 playoffs. Overall, the Jets are 1-7 in road games against Pittsburgh, with the lone victory coming in Week 15 of the 2010 regular season.
But win Sunday, and they’re in the Super Bowl for the first time in 42 years.
Earlier this week, Revis, an Aliquippa, Pa., native, called the opportunity to win the conference championship at home “a dream come true.”
“I wouldn’t draw it up no better way than to try to get this win in Pittsburgh,” he said.
WELCOME HOME, WESTHOFF: Jets special teams coordinator Mike Westhoff is also going home on Sunday.
Westhoff, a Pittsburgh native, said on Thursday that he was a “gigantic” Steelers and Pirates fan as a kid. He also worked in local steel mills for five years.
“I love to go back to the city,” the coach said. “I played on an undefeated high school football team there. I coached an undefeated high school football team there…. I loved playing football in that environment. I thought it was a great place as a kid to grow up and then to come back, (it is) a big honor for me.”
Westhoff also said Thursday that he was friends with former Steelers great Joe Greene. He said he faced “Mean Joe”, who had to outweigh Westhoff by at least 50 pounds, when he was a center at Wichita State and Greene was at North Texas State.
“It was a different time back in the 60s,” Westhoff joked.