The most conventional wisdom on how to win in the NFL has always been simple: Championship teams need a quarterback, and players who can disrupt the quarterback. Almost always, the latter was interpreted to mean pass rushers.
But not when Revis Island was on your side.
For most of his 11 years in the NFL, Revis was as disruptive to quarterbacks as any pass rusher has ever been. He was the definition of a "shut-down" cornerback - a rare defensive back that a coach could built a defense around. Just ask Rex Ryan who famously built his Jets defenses from back to front from 2009-11 because he knew he could get by with whatever he had up front, as long as Revis was a fixture in the back.
And it got the Jets to within a game of the Super Bowl twice.
That's why Revis was welcomed back so warmly to Jets headquarters in Florham Park, N.J., on Tuesday, where he signed a one-day contract and officially retired as a Jet. He was greeted by former teammates and current Jets, and honored with a makeshift "Revis Island" at the entrance to the team facility, complete with palm trees and sand.
He was remembered, correctly, as one of the greatest players the Jets have ever had.
"His dominance at cornerback was legendary," Jets owner Christopher Johnson said. "Forget giving up the catch. We were all shocked when quarterbacks would dare throw in his direction."
Quarterbacks rarely threw at Revis, a seven-time Pro Bowler, a four-time All-Pro, and a sure-fire future Hall of Famer. What all his defensive coordinators knew - what everyone knew - is that Revis' mere presence simply took care of one half of the field.
It didn't matter if the quarterback had too much time. It didn't matter who the receiver was. Nobody was dumb enough to throw much in his direction.
That's why Revis always meant so much to the Jets, through the holdouts, the painful contract negotiations, and even the sharp decline in play in his second tenure with the team (2015-16). He was thought of around the league as a great businessman, as much as he was a great player - an expert at maximizing his value and extracting every possible dollar out of his team.
Yet he remained a legend in New York, where Revis' familiar No. 24 jersey was worn by fans all around the Meadowlands, even after he left and spent one Super Bowl-winning season with the hated New England Patriots. He returned, at age 33, as something of a conquering hero on Tuesday, where Johnson hailed him as one of the all-time greatest Jets, and "one of the best players to ever play the game, period."
And that's exactly the way Revis had always hoped to be remembered by his fans and his peers.
"I feel I accomplished a lot in my career," he said. "The assignments that I had to face during my career takes a lot of toll on your body, week in and week out. Every day my purpose was not to just be the best at my position, but to be the best player on the field. That was my motivation."