Greg McElroy: Lighting the Spark for Jets Playoff Drive?

Alan HorvathCorrespondent IDecember 4, 2012

Greg McElroy
Greg McElroyThe Star-Ledger-USA TODAY Sports

Greg McElroy has fired up the New York Jets possible playoff hopes more than Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow had done combined on Sunday. It took McElroy just over 15 minutes to do it, leading the Jets to a fourth quarter come-from-behind victory against the Arizona Cardinals.

By Monday morning, instead of mourning a lost season, Jet fans were discussing the possibility of running the table with their new quarterback.

By defeating the 2-10 Jacksonville Jaguars next Sunday, coupled with losses by the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals, the Jets would be only one game behind those qualifiers for a playoff spot. With four games remaining on their schedule against opponents with a combined 15-33 record, the Jets are still mathematically alive.

Can McElroy do for the Jets what Tim Tebow did for the Denver Broncos in 2011? Tebow led the Broncos to six straight victories, thrusting them onto the playoff scene late last season.

An undefeated (5-0) December run by the Jets may be just enough to secure the final wild-card playoff seed. However, they will require the help from some other teams along the way. That help could come this weekend, from the Dallas Cowboys and San Diego Chargers, by beating the Bengals and Steelers respectively.

Should everything fall into place for the Jets, beginning with winning the rest of their games, the Super Bowl talk can begin. But, before we get ahead of ourselves, we must remember that it is yet to be seen if McElroy can succeed on the NFL stage. To his credit, he did a fine job getting the ball rolling on Sunday and is no stranger to winning big football games.

In 2010, McElroy led the Alabama Crimson Tide to the 2010 BCS National Championship.

Jets head coach Rex Ryan, who has yet to name Sunday's starting quarterback, holds the key to making this improbable Jets playoff dream a reality. Deep down, Ryan must realize that bringing Mark Sanchez back now would generate all the excitement of a wet straw.

No matter which direction the road taken from here leads, December football is alive and breathing for the New York Jets—according to the rejuvenated attention given them from both the media and fans.

That breath of life came from the entrance of McElroy. Ryan deserves credit for having the guts to replace the ineffective Mark Sanchez. In doing so, Ryan may have saved the Jets' season.

McElroy rewarded that decision.