FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - Darrelle Revis couldn't help but smile.
After so many years of disappointment with the Jets and the Buccaneers, he finally is on the brink of fulfilling his ultimate goal: winning a Super Bowl.
His laugh bellowed above the rap music playing at a low volume in the Patriots' locker room Sunday night. He slapped hands with teammates. And he beamed as he headed to the shower.
Amid the locker-room euphoria, Revis was a winner. But more importantly, he finally was an AFC champion.
The Patriots' 45-7 victory over the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship Game marked the eighth conference title for New England. It also earned the Patriots their seventh Super Bowl appearance under owner Robert Kraft.
"It's pretty awesome," Revis said. "There are rookies that play their first year and go to the Super Bowl. So eight years later for me, it's very surreal."
And in all the revelry, it was easy to see why the former Jet wanted to come to enemy territory.
"To play in these big-time games and to play for the obvious reason: to play in the next game, the Super Bowl. And we, collectively, as a team, we've done that now. We've made it," said Revis, who was drafted 14th overall by the Jets in 2007. "Everybody stuck to our team goals in what we wanted to accomplish, and now we get to live that and actually play in the Super Bowl."
Asked if this is the most versatile secondary he's been a part of, Revis didn't hesitate. "By far, this is the best secondary I've been on," he said, noting the group's veteran experience. "Across the board, we're just very talented."
Revis, who said he passed the concussion protocol tests after a teammate inadvertently kicked him during the game, later picked off Colts quarterback Andrew Luck in the third quarter and returned it 30 yards to the Indy 13. The Patriots capitalized on the very next play as LeGarrette Blount ran it in to put New England up 38-7.
The game was well out of reach for the Colts by that point, but Revis' instincts and sure hands were evidence that he's still got it.
Not too long ago, though, he wondered if any NFL team would believe he still was capable of living up to the "Revis Island" moniker.
"We had a great run in New York, man. Two back-to-back AFC Championship Games. But we just didn't have enough to win those games [after the 2009 and 2010 seasons],'' he said of his tenure with the Jets. "A lot of stuff happened after that. My ACL [injury], trying to get back and get healthy.
"It was a lot. Seeing if I'd be able to play at a high level. So at that point, I'm not even thinking about football. I'm trying to think about my health and to try to get back and see if a team wants me and wants my services."
After one season with the Bucs following his trade from the Jets in 2013, Revis found himself sitting across the meeting table from Bill Belichick.
"It's great, man," he said of being a Patriot. "Before I even signed here, I had meetings with Mr. Kraft and Bill, and they went well. The rest is history. And this is the reason they sat down with me and we had those meetings -- to be here . . . We've already hashed out what we needed to hash out and talked about what we needed to talk about. But it's awesome to be where we're at as a team."
So what exactly does it mean to be a Patriot?
"I guess it means, you bring the lunch pail to work, the helmet. You go to work, you prepare, you get yelled at -- you do all this kind of stuff. You work extra, you watch more film and it's for situations and things like this, to go and play the last game of the year."
For now, he seems to have found a home in New England. But the question everyone's wondering is how long that will last.
Asked if he would like to retire as a Patriot, the 29-year-old Revis laughed and said: "Um, I'm not thinking about retirement, man. I'm very young."
So could he envision spending the rest of his career in New England?
"That's something to talk about in the offseason," he said. "That's how I see it."
There's one other question Revis won't be entertaining during the next two weeks: how he stacks up against Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman.
"Uh, that's not going to happen," Revis said, laughing. "Because I'm going to deflect the questions."