Only two New York Jets draft picks made it to Canton in the first 60 years of the Pro Football Hall of Fame -- quarterback Joe Namath and running back John Riggins, who reached his greatest heights with Washington.
The Jets equaled that number in the 61st year, as cornerback Darrelle Revis and defensive lineman Joe Klecko were introduced Thursday night as members of the Hall of Fame's class of 2023.
It was a homegrown home run.
"I think it's pretty incredible to represent the organization in a way that two of their best defensive players are being enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame," Revis told ESPN. "It's a big night, obviously."
Revis was thrilled to see the Jets “take over the whole NFL Honors show.” He was referring to wide receiver Garrett Wilson and cornerback Sauce Gardner, who won the NFL Offensive and Defensive Rookie of the Year awards -- only the third time in the 56-year history of the awards that teammates won in the same year.
"You have the past, present and future," Revis said. "You have the past in Joe, who's now being honored. You have the present -- myself. And you have the future with Sauce Gardner and Garrett Wilson."
Revis, 37, said "chills came over my body" when he learned of his Hall of Fame selection. A first-round pick out of Pitt in 2007, he was selected in his first year of eligibility as a modern-era candidate. He joins a select group. In recent years, the only defensive backs to make it on the first ballot were Charles Woodson (2021), Troy Polamalu (2020), Champ Bailey (2019) and Ed Reed (2019). Before them, you have to go back to Deion Sanders (2011) to find a DB who broke through in his first try.
"It's just a testament to my body of work during my career ... all the work ... all the overtime hours I put into my craft as I continued to work on my game as a cornerback," said Revis, cherishing his first-ballot entry. "For me, with the imperfections of playing the position, I tried to be as consistent as I could to play a stellar way of playing the game of football."
Canton is a land-locked city, but it will be an island on enshrinement weekend (Aug. 3-6) -- Revis Island.
Klecko, 69, came up a different way than Revis. Despite an excellent career at Temple, he lasted until the sixth round of the 1977 draft -- the 144th pick. He also had to wait a long time for Canton to call. After failing for 20 years as a modern-era candidate, he moved into the seniors category and waited another 15 years.
"I don't know who said this -- it's not my original quote -- but someone said, 'We leave football and we go on with our lives, but football never leaves us,'" Klecko told ESPN. "When it gets brought back into your life in such a tremendous way, like the Hall of Fame ... wow. You relive every moment, you think about your teammates, the special moments, the big plays, the bad plays ... all those things come flying back to you. It's a wave of all types of emotions."
When Klecko got his made-for-TV, Hall of Fame knock on the door, it was Namath on the doorstep of his New Jersey home, delivering the good news. At first, Klecko thought it was food delivery; he had ordered out. Namath, who flew up from Florida for the occasion, was decked out in his gold Hall of Fame blazer.
Upon opening the door, Klecko made a crack to his wife about Namath showing up for lunch. Then it turned emotional. Embracing Klecko, Namath welcomed him to the greatest fraternity in pro football.
"I've been retired for so long now -- and people know who you are, of course -- but when they tell you, 'You're a member of the Hall of Fame,' it is just different. It's so special and it's so exhilarating when they tell you. There are no words. It's very, very special feeling that you get. It's an emotional feeling. It's very hard to express, it really is."