NFL: Manhattan unofficially renamed at Jets pep rally
Associated Press Writer
NEW YORK — Manhattan is now Revis Island — at least for a few days.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg unofficially renamed Manhattan after Jets star cornerback Darrelle Revis during a rush-hour pep rally for the team on Thursday in Times Square.
The Jets face the heavily favored Indianapolis Colts on Sunday in the AFC championship game in Indiana for a trip to the Super Bowl.
Thousands of Jets fans roared their approval when Bloomberg unveiled a large municipal-style sign printed "Welcome to Revis Island" with the team's logo in one corner. Revis regular guards the opponents' best receiver one-on-one, and the Jets call being put on Revis Island.
The sign will be posted in Times Square as long as the Jets are in the playoffs.
New York Gov. David Paterson, Jets injured running back Leon Washington, former Jets running back Curtis Martin and New York general manager Mike Tannenbaum also attended the rally.
Broadway Joe Namath was the Jets quarterback when the team won their last Super Bowl in 1969 against the Baltimore Colts, before the team's move to Indianapolis.
Bloomberg said he had placed a friendly wager on Sunday's game with Indianapolis Mayor Gregory Ballard. If the Jets win, Ballard will send shrimp cocktail from a local steakhouse. If the Colts win, Bloomberg will send a pizza from a Staten Island pizzeria.
Despite the 37-degree temperatures, some fans arrived as early as 3 p.m. Thursday for the rally, about three hours before it began.
"You gotta be a part of history when you can," said self-proclaimed lifelong Jets fan Patrick Freer, 42, of Shelton, Conn., who brought his wife, Kim, and their 8-year-old son, Patrick, to the rally. "We'll also be at the Jets ticker-tape parade."
Brooklyn resident Urcel Williams, 54, decided to stop by the rally after a doctor's appointment nearby. On Sunday, she plans to be "frozen right in front of the television, watching the game."
"The Jets have the biggest heart in the NFL and we're going in as underdogs," explained Rubin Polizzi, 26, of Manhattan, whose face was painted green, white and black, and topped by a wig of spiky green-and-white hair.
"We have the biggest heart in the NFL, and we're going there as underdogs," Palizzi said. "It's not who you have on the team, it's the size of the heart in the team."