Mark Sanchez/Tim Tebow Controversy Dominates New York Jets Camp

Frank NappiSpecial ColumnistAugust 8, 2012

Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow have captured Jet fans' attention.
Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow have captured Jet fans' attention.Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

The New York Jets training camp has certainly had its fair share of drama this year. But then again, what else is new? 

For those of you who have been spared the roiling tremors of histrionics thus far, let’s roll the highlight reel. 

At the start of camp, Rex Ryan announced that he lost 100 pounds in the offseason before declaring himself the best defensive coach in the NFL; Jets Nation was subjected to, once again, the shenanigans of perennial malcontents Darrelle Revis and Santonio Holmes; defensive back Antonio Cromartie decided that he is perhaps better suited to play receiver and that he is, in  fact, the second best at that position right now; more than 20 Jet players were involved in a ridiculous brawl most likely precipitated in part by Cromartie’s incendiary comments; and owner Woody Johnson invoked the name of President Obama in perhaps an early attempt at declaring Gang Green “America’s” new team.  

Oh last thing...some of you may hear talk about the two quarterbacks in camp this year. 

While a reasonable amount of coverage of the quarterback issue in New York was expected, the proliferation of articles and spate of news reports chronicling the impending quarterback dilemma in the land of the green and white has surpassed the early predictions of even the most astute NFL prognosticators. In fact, it is the one story that has dominated coverage of the New York Jets camp with an alarming vitality. 

It just will not go away.

And truth be told, it is becoming a bit hackneyed and certainly tiresome, if not downright absurd.   

When was the last time a backup player in any professional sport received this much attention? When was the last time the sports world anointed a second-string athlete—as engaging and charismatic as he may be—to superstar status, as a player who is worthy of such attention and fodder for daily headlines and discussion with sports radio pundits? 

Actually, when has it ever happened?   

Tebomania is certainly quite a phenomenon, justified or not.  

However, not everyone is as intrigued with the possibilities presented by Tebow’s presence. In fact, some see no issue at all. Former New York Jet quarterback Boomer Esiason’s recent assessment of the situation in Jet camp was brutally candid and has (ironically) ignited yet even more discussion over  New York's newest lightening rod. 

"If I were the Jets,” Esiason said, “I would cut Tim Tebow, I really would. It's not in any way, shape or form, I think, benefiting this team. All you have to do is watch him throw the ball. I just think this whole thing, at least from my perspective right now in relation to who Mark Sanchez is—your starting quarterback—is a major mistake."


With all due deference to Mr. Esiason, whose insights may or may not be as valid as those uttered from others who have been clamoring for Tebow to be under center at the start of the season, can Jet fans be permitted to focus on—just for once—the entire team and what our season is going to look like? Without distraction? Can we hear about new offensive formations and defensive strategies, and about which young players are going to have the most significant impact on our Sunday afternoons?

Something? Anything?

We need to hear about some real football—if for no other reason than to just to allow us to shrug off the circus-like aura that seems to always attenuate anything Jets. We need any morsel of real football coverage that will divert us from the burgeoning fiasco in Cortland and return us to some semblance of normalcy.


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