Tim Tebow Phenomenon: Could High-Profile No. 2 Be Best Thing for Mark Sanchez?

John Dorn@JSDorn6Correspondent IIISeptember 18, 2012

Tim Tebow Phenomenon: Could High-Profile No. 2 Be Best Thing for Mark Sanchez?

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    On March 22, 2012, the New York Jets acquired Tim Tebow from the Denver Broncos, and it was the best thing that has happened to Mark Sanchez in his entire career.

    Through Sanchez's first three years as a Gang Green starter, he enjoyed plenty of success but in large part due to the team's defense and rushing attack. He was coming off his first failure to reach the NFL postseason, and many were doubting his ability to quarterback the Jets to the promise land.

    Then, in came Tim Tebow.

    Tebow has acted as the perfect motivational tool for Sanchez since the moment he arrived, and it will only become more apparent as the Jets season grows older. Let's go over the most vital reasons why Tebow is exactly what Mark Sanchez needs.

Added Strength This Offseason

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    With Tim Tebow, a 250-pound bull, as his competition at quarterback, Mark Sanchez showed up to New York Jets camp this spring at 230 lbs, according to ESPN New York's Rich Cimini

    During Sunday's CBS broadcast of the Jets game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the network's commentators noted how Sanchez believes the added muscle has immediately impacted his throws. He explained how he noticed the ball "flying" out of his hand with minimal effort, as compared to years past.

    This added arm strength and bulkier presence in the pocket can only help Sanchez finally become one of the NFL's top quarterbacks.

    By trying to one-up Tebow in the weight room, Sanchez can push himself to become bigger, faster, and stronger. This obviously can't hurt, as any progress would be vital for the fourth-year shotcaller. 

Rivalry That's Lasted Longer Than You Think

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    The Mark Sanchez-Tim Tebow pairing has dated back farther than you may know. 

    According to an interview with ESPN, Tebow explained that in his recruiting visit to USC, Mark Sanchez hosted him and was the one to show him around the school, and teach him about Pete Carroll's program.

    Tebow recognizes Sanchez as one of the reasons he chose to spurn USC and ultimately choose the University of Florida, knowing it would be tough to leap over Sanchez on the depth chart. Sounds familiar, doesn't it?

    As the years went on, Tebow became the first sophomore ever to win a Heisman trophy in 2007, as Sanchez was still fighting for snaps with So Cal starter John David Booty. Tebow wound up wining national championships in his sophomore and senior seasons.

    Sanchez was the one with the last laugh, however, as he was drafted fifth overall in 2009, earning himself a five-year, $50 million contract. Tebow was drafted 25th overall by Denver in 2010, and inked a deal for five years, but worth only $11.25 million.

Fourth Quarter Will Now Be Sanchez's Time to Shine

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    As a member of the Denver Broncos in 2011, Tim Tebow made a name for himself as a miracle-worker in the fourth quarter.

    As Broncos starter, he led the offense down the field for six fourth quarter comebacks and seven game-winning drives, and soon the concluding Broncos drive of fourth quarters were dubbed "Tebow Time."

    Now with Tebow's name underneath his on the depth chart, Mark Sanchez must quickly pick up his understudy's magic act. With a single failed comeback, expect the media to quickly turn in Tebow's direction, as the fans will soon follow. 

    Sanchez is perfectly aware of Tebow's track record, and he knows it'll only take one slip-up to turn the fans against him. Expect the USC alum to be at his best when the score is the closest, and bump "Tebow Time" out of everyone's memory. The fourth quarter will soon belong to Mark Sanchez.

Fantasy Factor

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    At the beginning of Week 1, Tim Tebow was actually more highly-owned in ESPN fantasy leagues than Mark Sanchez by 10 percent. Neither player likely knew that detail, but the Jets backup was valued more highly than the starter.

    Fantasy numbers are not exactly the best representation of players, but it was tough for Sanchez to dodge the Tebow-hype at the season's beginning. In fact, during training camp, he had to deal with reporters calling him Tim.

    The numbers have returned to normal, as Sanchez is owned in 38.5 percent of leagues, and Tebow only 16.6 percent. As the season has progressed, Sanchez has reiterated to football fans that he is still the only true quarterback on the Jets, or at least the only one worth owning in fantasy.

    Having Tebow on the roster is a great device for Sanchez to ensure he never lets his guard down. With a few poorly-played games resembling some of his performances in 2011, he knows America will be calling Tebow's name.