Eight-time Pro Bowl defensive back Charles Woodson was released by the Green Bay Packers Friday, ending an illustrious seven-year stint in Green Bay, after spending his first eight NFL seasons with the Oakland Raiders.
Among his many accolades, Woodson was the 2009 NFL Defensive Player of the Year, when he recorded a league-best nine interceptions with three touchdowns, and 36 defensive stops.
However, what many outside of New York may not remember was that in 2009, Woodson was not the league’s most dominant defender. In fact, he wasn’t even the best cornerback that year, at least as far as coverage goes.
New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis is a household name these days, but back in 2009, as a 24-year-old in his third NFL season, he got snubbed from the DPOY award, despite putting up one of the greatest seasons ever.
This was the year “Revis Island” was born, when Revis faced the likes of Andre Johnson, Randy Moss, Marques Colston, Terrell Owens, Steve Smith, Roddy White, Reggie Wayne and Chad Johnson, and shut them all down.
In fact, Revis faced Moss, Owens, Wayne and Johnson twice each, including playoffs, and nobody could get the upper hand on him. He shadowed number one receivers, week in and week out, and completely dominated them.
Revis was targeted in coverage 111 times, allowing a league-best 36.9% catch rate, with six interceptions and a league-high 23 passes defensed, seven more than anyone else.
The quarterback rating on passes thrown into Revis’s coverage that season was just 32.3, nearly 20 points better than any other starting cornerback. He only allowed 10.4 yards per reception when passes did get completed.
One could argue that, in the modern era of football, with a greater emphasis on illegal contact than ever before, cover cornerbacks have a distinct disadvantage over the cornerbacks of the eras before them.
That’s why, put in the proper context of how hard it was to play the position, Darrelle Revis’s 2009 season is one of the greatest, if not the greatest seasons that a cover cornerback has ever had in NFL history.
Here’s a short highlight clip of Revis’s 2009 season, including the ridiculous interception he had against the Raiders that’s pictured above, from 0:30-1:00 in the video:
I don’t mean to take away from Charles Woodson, or his excellent 2009 season. It certainly was tremendous, and anybody who argues that he deserved to win the award definitely has a case. I tip my proverbial cap to him.
However, as the 15-year veteran hits a crossroads in his career, I can’t help but think back to that 2009 season, when Darrelle Revis put up one of the most dominant seasons anyone’s ever seen, and may ever see again.
Revis has never won a DPOY award, as teams have since learned the hard way that throwing in Revis’s direction is not worth the trouble. Jets fans will never forget that incredible season, though. Neither will opposing receivers.