New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan finally benched quarterback Mark Sanchez on Sunday. After just 97 passing yards and three interceptions, he had seen enough and handed the reins to Greg McElroy—Tim Tebow was inactive.
Though it wasn't Tebow taking over and throwing the touchdown pass to tight end Jeff Cumberland to give the Jets a 7-6 lead over the Arizona Cardinals, the day he was acquired from the Denver Broncos signaled the beginning of the end of the Sanchez era in New York.
Before Tebow showed up, Sanchez was undoubtedly the Jets' leader. Though obviously not the most-gifted quarterback in the NFL, he did just enough to position his team for success—leading New York to the AFC Conference Championship game in both 2010 and 2011.
Sanchez also possesses a career record of 32-27, something many quarterbacks in this league would envy.
However, with an 8-5 record heading into the final three games of 2011, the view on Sanchez shifted. He would throw seven interceptions in leading the Jets to three consecutive losses—ultimately ending any hopes of a return trip to the postseason and possibly shaking their conference title demons.
While most organizations would be covetous of the Jets' recent resume, Sanchez's sudden fall from grace couldn't be ignored in a city like New York. And what better way to convey a sense of calm to a situation than bringing in the most polarizing figure in sports: Tebow.
Though Sanchez will never admit it, having Tebow lurking over his shoulder in practice and during games could not have lent itself to just going out and doing his job under the normal amount of pressure.
While Tebow wasn't who eventually replaced Sanchez, the quarterback being benched was arguably the surest bet in the NFL this season—assuming the circumstances.
How the Jets' quarterback situation shakes out the rest of this season is anyone's guess.
If Sanchez's story is any indication, does it even matter at this point?
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