"It will be special for me, but I'm a competitive guy," Ward told reporters. "I want to win. I want to beat the Steelers as much as anybody in this building, trust me. I'm telling my guys, 'You have to win this for me.' I want the Gatorade shower and all that if we win."
The 43-year-old University of Georgia product spent his entire 14-year NFL career in Pittsburgh. The wide receiver earned four Pro Bowl selections and helped the franchise win two Super Bowl titles.
"It's kind of weird," he said. "I played my entire career there. Having people on the staff department, they want to go out to dinner [Saturday], things like that. It's Christmas weekend in New York City, so everybody wants to come in."
Ward retired as a player in March 2012. The Jets hired him in September under new head coach Adam Gase. It marks his first full-time coaching role at either the collegiate or NFL levels after serving as a coaching intern with Pittsburgh in 2017 and the Jets this past summer.
Although Gang Green are eliminated from playoff contention, they can play the role of spoiler with a victory Sunday. The Steelers' only direct path to the postseason is winning their final two games. A loss to New York would drop their odds of reaching the playoffs to 17 percent, per FiveThirtyEight.
If the upset does occur, Ward will be waiting for the Gatorade shower on the MetLife Stadium sideline.