The 33-year-old defensive end is ready to put an end to a Super Bowl drought now 42 years in the making.
Ellis has been a Jet longer than any other player on the roster, having outlasted three head coaches and scores of teammates. The 11-year NFL veteran took last season’s AFC Championship loss to Peyton Manning and the Colts to heart.
“It seems like it was just yesterday,” Ellis said. “We were only 30 minutes away.
“While we were walking off the field, it was like, ‘If we get this opportunity again, we definitely have to take advantage of it.’ Now we’re here again, so guys are ready.”
Ellis now says “it’s time.”
Ellis has proved that he is taking this task to heart. The defensive end, affectionately known as the “Big Katt” among teammates, was absolutely on fire during the Jets’ 28-21 AFC Divisional playoff victory against the New England Patriots last Sunday.
Ellis sacked Patriots’ QB Tom Brady twice early in the game, and he constantly disrupted the Patriots’ quarterback at the line of scrimmage.
His outstanding play helped the Jets put their dismal 45-3 Week 13 loss to the Patriots behind them for good. Ellis admits his play, along with the rest of the team, was “lousy” during that embarrassing loss.
It’s safe to say that Ellis and crew are making amends for their disappointing performance.
Now they face what could prove to be their biggest obstacle on the road to the Super Bowl—the Pittsburgh Steelers. Jets fans are sure to remember the disappointing loss in their team’s last playoff game in Pittsburgh, a 20-17 overtime defeat in which Doug Brien missed two potential game-winning field goals in the closing minutes of regulation in 2005.
Shaun Ellis certainly remembers.
He has made it a point to recount the disappointment he suffered to his younger teammates. He is hopeful that his tale of woe will stoke the fires in the hearts of his teammates and ultimately help them get the much-desired win against Pittsburgh.
“To me, I’m taking it real personally,” Ellis said softly. “I want to go out there, do good and get this win for all of our former teams that tried hard to get to this point and never reached it. I want to finish this.”
Here are his career stats as of January 16 2011.