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NY Post
New York Post
5 Aug 2023

NextImg:Joe Klecko, Darrelle Revis’ Hall of Fame induction is Jets football heaven

CANTON, Ohio — First came Joe Klecko, from one corner of Pennsylvania.

Then came Darrelle Revis, from the other corner of Pennsylvania.

The two greatest defensive players in franchise history enshrined on Saturday as Gold Jacket guys.


Especially for Klecko, who had to unjustly wait 35 years for his day in the sun.

“Thirty years,” Klecko said, 30 years after he first became eligible for the Hall of Fame, “I’ve been waiting to give this speech.”

Tears of joy in Jetville, “J-E-T-S! Jets! Jets! Jets!” cheers that turned Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium into bursts of JetLife Stadium.

No. 73 Klecko jerseys and No. 24 Revis jerseys everywhere you looked. And, of course, those green Namath No. 12 jerseys.

Revis and Klecko, kings for a day, taking the baton for a day from Aaron Rodgers, future first-ballot Hall of Fame quarterback, all-in on chasing his second Super Bowl championship and first with the Jets.

Jets and cheer on Joe Klecko during his Hall of Fame speech on Saturday.
Charles Wenzelberg / New York Post

Who have been waiting 55 years with Namath for their second.

Super Saturday for Klecko and Revis.

Super Saturday for the Jets.

Klecko was the Great Disruptor. He is everything Quinnen Williams should aspire to become.

“I wanted to win every down and every battle,” Klecko said.

Revis, who only had to wait the obligatory five years after retirement, was the Great Eraser. He is everything Sauce Gardner should aspire to become.

Both of them: every quarterback’s worst nightmare.

Legends of the game.

Darrelle Revis is giving his Hall of Fame induction speech in Canton, Ohio on Saturday.
Charles Wenzelberg / New York Post

And when the day ends, when the lights get turned off, the busts of Namath and Don Maynard can now trash talk with Revis about how they would fare on Revis Island.

And the busts of Klecko and Winston Hill, Namath’s treasured bodyguard, can argue over who would get the better of the other in one-on-one pass rush drills.

Klecko — presented by his blood brother Marty Lyons, who helped unveil his bronze bust on stage — began his storied Jets career in 1977, one year after a hobbled Broadway Joe left the franchise to become Hollywood Joe for one last, unfulfilling season with the Rams. Fortunately for Namath, he didn’t have to play against Klecko.

“I wish I could play today, not so much for the competition,” Klecko said, “but for the money.”

Long before he became the highest-paid defensive lineman at — gasp — $700,000 in 1986, I remember interviewing Klecko in his cramped Hofstra hotel room not far from the Jets’ Weeb Ewbank Hall facility. He was the alpha male who once sparred with Joe Frazier, and if that didn’t get your attention, this would whenever he playfully cautioned what the consequences would be if you did him wrong:

“Six weeks,” he used to say, showing his left fist, “or death,” showing his right fist.

Klecko helped get the 1982 Jets 60 minutes from the Super Bowl before losing to the Dolphins in the Mud Bowl.

“We never made it to the big game,” Klecko said, “but the friendships I made are more valuable than a championship ring.”

Revis — presented by his mother, Diana Askew — helped get the 2009 and 2010 Jets 60 minutes from the Super Bowl before losing to the Peyton Manning Colts and Ben Roethlisberger Steelers, respectively. He captured his Super Bowl ring with Bill Belichick and Tom Brady.

Revis told me this early in the 2009 season: “Off the field I’m a laid-back guy, but once I put on that jersey and walk through that tunnel, you know the cartoon ‘Dragon Ball Z’? It’s like a ninja thing — they transfer over to these Super Saiyans when they fight and go to war, and they glow and all this stuff. … I just like scream when I go through that tunnel. I just think I’m like a Super Saiyan or a lion out there just trying to be hungry, and go out there and just dominate.”

Joe Klecko points to the fans during his Hall of Fame induction speech on Saturday.
Charles Wenzelberg / New York Post

Askew called her son a “superhero.” And he paid special tribute to her. “My first coach,” Revis said.

Quarterbacks could avoid trespassing on Revis Island. It was a rare occurrence if he got “Mossed.”

There was no escape from the raging bull that was Klecko. He was for the Jets defense what Lawrence Taylor was for the Giants defense in the 1980s. Even as his blue-collar style clashed with Mark Gastineau’s look-at-me sack dances.

“One of the biggest personalities in NFL history, my teammate Mark Gastineau … Mark, I know that through our competitive nature, we made each other better,” Klecko said.

His voice cracked when he honored former teammate and center Jim Sweeney, who died suddenly in October.

Revis thanked the Jets fans.

“The best fans in the world,” Revis said to cheers. “Feels like MetLife Stadium here,” Revis said. More cheers. “For all the boos here when I was drafted 14th overall and burning my jersey when I signed with the Patriots … I guess it’s safe to say we’ve been through a lot together,” Revis added. “Thank you for believing in me, supporting me every step of the way.”

“You will always have a place to stay on Revis Island.”

Fireman Ed leads “J-E-T-S!” chant at the Hall of Fame induction speeches on Saturday.
Charles Wenzelberg / New York Post
Former Jets Joe Klecko and Marty Lyons reveal the bust of Joe Klecko, who was inducted into the Football Hall of Fame during a ceremony at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio on Saturday.
Charles Wenzelberg / New York Post

After all the coaches and teammates and friends Klecko thanked, and of course God, he turned to Jets fans: “I can’t leave without acknowledging my faithful Jet fans,” Klecko said. A roar erupted. Fireman Ed now led that “J-E-T-S! Jets! Jets! Jets!” chant. “Thank you,” Klecko said, and stepped away.

Hall of a day for Klecko and Revis and the Jets.

A sign behind the stadium summed everything up perfectly for Joe Klecko and Darrelle Revis:

This is football heaven.