FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – It wasn’t quite former Indianapolis Colts head coach Jim Mora’s epic rant during the 2001 NFL season (“Playoffs?! Don’t talk about playoffs!”), but New England Revolution boss Jay Heaps made it clear on Wednesday afternoon that he isn’t interested in talking about the postseason just yet.
The Revs, who currently sit on 30 points, enter the weekend locked in a tie with the Houston Dynamo for the fifth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference following back-to-back wins over the Columbus Crew and D.C. United. But Heaps – who has pushed a one-game-at-a-time mantra all season – is of the opinion that you’re not in a playoff position until the standings are set in stone.
“We are not in a playoff position here,” Heaps said. “I don’t look at that right now. I look at what we have ahead of us, what we need to do. We have benchmarks of where we think we need to be at the end of the year that will get us into the playoffs. Right now, if you follow that table, you’re in big trouble, because that line is a never-moving target.”
Fans and media will continue to assess exactly where the Revs stand after each game through the season’s final three months, of course, but Heaps has gone to great lengths to make sure his players stay focused on the next opponent. No past results. No future fixtures. No standings. Just the next opponent.
This week that means staying locked in on Sunday night’s meeting with Toronto FC, which picked up its third win of the season in dramatic fashion last weekend, scoring twice after the 85th minute to down Columbus, 2-1. Heaps noted the developing cohesion between players like Matias Laba, Jonathan Osorio, Bobby Convey and Jeremy Brockie as something the Revs will need to be prepared to handle.
And on Monday morning, after the dust has settled from Sunday night’s result, only then will the Revs turn their attention to next weekend’s meeting with Sporting Kansas City. And so on and so forth.
Do that 13 more times, and maybe then Heaps will be ready to talk about the playoffs.
“We have a benchmark of where we need to be, to be in the playoffs,” he said. “When we hit that, that’s when we’ll feel comfortable.”