How New York Jets' Mark Sanchez Lost His Swag

Alessandro MiglioFeatured ColumnistJuly 18, 2013

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 23: Mark Sanchez #6 of the New York Jets puts on a coat during a game against the San Diego Chargers at MetLife Stadium on December 23, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky /Getty Images)
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

Mark Sanchez has basked in the limelight of the New York media since he burst onto the scene in 2009.

But somewhere along the way, he lost his swag.

Oh, he still emanates that offseason swagger—if you can call confidence in beating out a rookie for your own job swagger—but he has fallen a long way since his days as a GQ cover boy. But swag? That dried up long ago.

He was certainly the butt of many jokes before the infamous "buttfumble."

His well-publicized off-field relationship with a 17-year-old and subsequent overcompensating with Eva Longoria were the subject of public scrutiny and mockery. 

Sanchez couldn't even hold a no-pants party in his own condo without it getting all over the Internet, an incident that he said was a nice reminder that he is in the spotlight.

Hello? Is anybody home?

When exactly did Sanchez turn into a pariah? Did he lose his swag when the Jets fell out of playoff contention in 2011?

Did Tim Tebow travel back in time to steal his mojo while Sanchez was in cryogenic stasis? 

Did he regain his swag for one game last season when he crushed the Bills? Or was that simply a fluke?

Don't answer that.

Tebowmania blew through the New York Jets like a Sharknado, leaving wanton destruction in its wake. Sanchez might have been its biggest victim.

Rex Ryan on Mark Sanchez: "I think it's safe to say that maybe some of his confidence was shaken last year." #nyj

— Manish Mehta (@MMehtaNYDN) May 30, 2013

Tebow is gone, but the Jets have not exactly expressed their confidence in Sanchez this offseason after signing—though eventually losing to retirement—David Garrard and drafting Geno Smith.

Mark Sanchez began his NFL life as a charmed fifth-overall draft pick. Rex Ryan loved him so much that he moved up to take Sanchez, who had only started for one full season at USC.

The Jets proceeded to make back-to-back AFC Championship games in Sanchez's first two seasons. At one point, Sanchez was an MVP candidate.

Hilarity ensued.

Much of New York's success had to do with a dominant defense and effective running game, but Sanchez was sitting pretty, poor play notwithstanding. After all, few quarterbacks can boast that sort of start to a career. 

His shaky rookie year gave way to a promising sophomore season.

Mark Sanchez threw an interception once every 18.2 attempts in 2009. In 2010? Zero interceptions in 103 attempts.

— Bill Barnwell (@billbarnwell) October 12, 2010 

Sanchez would wind up throwing 13 interceptions to just 17 touchdowns that season, but none of that would have mattered had the Jets made the Super Bowl. They got closer than 29 other teams.

The Jets stumbled off their perch in 2011, finishing 8-8 and out of the playoffs. The boo birds began coming out for Sanchez in earnest that year, sparking debate about his work ethic and playing ability.

What is your reaction to several Jets players anonymously ripping QB Mark Sanchez? Best Tweets air on SportsCenter! pic.twitter.com/cGce5hpC

— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 11, 2012

Has Mark Sanchez ever had swag? At least on the football field, his statistics (from Pro Football Reference) don't exactly say he did.

Year QBrecCmpAttCmp%YdsTDIntY/ARateQBR Sk
20098-719636453.8244412206.76331.6426
201011-527850754.8329117136.575.348.0227
20118-830854356.7347426186.478.233.6239
20126-924645354.3288313186.466.923.3734
Career33-291028186755.11209268696.571.7-126

There's no real improvement through four years in the league for Sanchez outside some volume statistics. But if pure statistics aren't your thing, Pro Football Focus' tape-inspired grades and advanced statistics don't paint a pretty picture. 

Since entering the league, Sanchez has been among the worst quarterbacks in PFF's overall grades, accuracy percentage and adjusted accuracy percentage under pressure, among other categories.

There is certainly some blame to be shared for his failures, namely some poor offensive coordination by Brian Schottenheimer and Tony Sparano and a dearth of offensive talent at skill positions in recent years. 

Nobody will mistake New York's receiving corps for Green Bay's, but great quarterbacks make their receivers look better.

The new contract the Jets gave Mark Sanchez has to be one of the worst re-up deals in all time, no? Total albatross on that team

— Smart Football (@smartfootball) April 28, 2013

That deal was richer than Aaron Rodgers' until the Packers quarterback signed a massive extension this offseason.

All is not lost. Mark Sanchez is not devoid of talent, and he can get his mojo back. 

The odds get longer every day, but he will have one more chance to take his job by the horns and prove the naysayers wrong. 

Mark Sanchez says he will "absolutely start" for the Jets. Finally some good news for the Patriots this offseason.

— Faux John Madden (@FauxJohnMadden) July 13, 2013

If he surprises everyone and plays well en route to a playoff run, nobody will care that they saw his bare bottom on a viral Internet video in the middle of the offseason.

 

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