Tim Tebow Fuels Mark Sanchez Meltdown: Sanchez's Career as Jets QB Finally Over?

Alan HorvathCorrespondent IDecember 3, 2012

Mark Sanchez getting sacked by Sam Acho to end a Jets drive
Mark Sanchez getting sacked by Sam Acho to end a Jets driveEd Mulholland-US PRESSWIRE

Tim Tebow could not have anticipated the huge impact his joining the New York Jets would make. For anyone who believes otherwise, just ask Mark Sanchez his thoughts on the subject. Since Tebow's arrival, Sanchez's status as the Jets' starting quarterback has come under intense scrutiny, while his on-field performance has plummeted to near-career lows.

Does this make Tim Tebow guilty of causing the meltdown of Mark Sanchez's Jets career? Yes and no.

On one hand, just by being the wildly popular "Tebow", he instantly became a sure bet to fuel a Jets quarterback controversy. Both players and coaches began defending Sanchez—before Tebow threw a single pass for the Jets.

What did that say about Mark's job security or track record? If they were rock solid, there would have been no reason to defend Sanchez in the first place.

On the other hand, Tebow has been a model teammate and has done everything asked of him. In interviews, Tebow says all of the right things. Unfortunately, for Sanchez, the fire-starter Tebow wins out hands down. There is nothing that Tebow could have said or done, short of quitting the team, that would have prevented the intense pressure from being heaped on top of Sanchez.

Still, Sanchez held the magic key in his own right hand. All Sanchez had to do was deliver on the playing field and win football games for the New York Jets. Instead, Sanchez responded by playing the worst football since his rookie season. Costly sacks, back-breaking interceptions and poor throws have become Sanchez's norm this season instead of the exception.

The Jets were a disappointing 3-7 under Sanchez entering Sunday's game.

On Sunday, the heat finally became too much for Sanchez. His meltdown at home against the 4-7 Arizona Cardinals had the entire stadium screaming for his benching. Mercifully for all, including Sanchez, he was replaced by Greg McElroy, who led the Jets to a fourth-quarter 7-6 comeback victory.

When the smoke had cleared, Sanchez finished the day with 10 completions out of 21 attempts—to go along with three interceptions and a paltry 97 yards passing.

More problematic for Mark Sanchez is how he is going to recover from not only himself but also regain the confidence from his teammates, coaching staff and the Jets' fanbase. While the addition of Tim Tebow has not been an improvement to the Jets this season, it has exposed Mark Sanchez as a weak link who cracks under pressure.

From his on-field performance, it appears that the Mark Sanchez ship has already sailed. Sadly, that ship has more holes than the Titanic—and is on its way down.