Yes, there was a post-New England hangover, according to Darrelle Revis.
The New York Jets' star cornerback, speaking Thursday at the Pro Bowl in Hawaii, said the team was "relaxed" during a listless first half in the AFC Championship Game.
Several players admitted after losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers that the team came out flat, but they refused to connect it to the previous week's emotional and stunning upset of the Patriots -- until Revis.
Asked by the NFL Network if there was a letdown after the divisional win in New England, Revis said, "I think ... you could say that. Yeah, you could say that. On people's body language, you can kind of see guys just relaxed. Guys are relaxed and didn't know what was at stake. That's why we came out so flat and we didn't finish strong."
It's mind-boggling to think a team could lack emotion in a championship game, especially a franchise that hasn't been to the Super Bowl in 42 years, but the Jets got pushed around and fell behind 24-0. Unofficially, they missed 11 tackles in the first half, unable to slow the Steelers' powerful running game.
Revis said several leaders spoke up in the locker room at halftime, including him, and the Jets made a game of it before losing 24-19.
In his Pro Bowl interview, Revis revisited his summer-long holdout, claiming he was prepared to sit out the season if he didn't receive a new contract to his liking. He eventually signed a four-year, $46 million deal, finalized one week before the season opener.
"Yeah, I mean, we prepared for the worst," said Revis, whose holdout was highly contentious. "[I] didn't think I was going to play this year."
Asked if he would've sat out the season, he replied, "We was leaning on that way to do that. We didn't want it to go down that road, but I have to do what's best for me and my agents have to do what's best for me as well."
"I just think the whole situation got out of hand, it really did," he continued. "That's why I wasn't in the media, not trying to say nothing, just keep quiet and relax and one day it's going to get done, and I'll be playing football again."
Revis made the Pro Bowl for the third time in four seasons.