It's official: The New York Jets have nothing left to play for in 2012.
So if Greg McElroy and Tim Tebow do not get a shot now, they never will.
UPDATE: Tuesday, Dec. 18 at 2:09 p.m. ET by Jessica Isner
All signs seem to be pointing toward someone other than Mark Sanchez starting on Sunday.
ESPNNewYork.com's Rich Cimini tweeted his thoughts on who would be under center this weekend:
I'm told Rex still discussing QB dec with staff, but looks like McElroy. However, Tebow still involved in equation. This could be weird.— Rich Cimini (@RichCimini) December 18, 2012
And the New York Daily News' Manish Mehta got someone within the Jets organization to take a stronger stance on the subject:
Prominent member of organization on Sanchez: "Home or away... I don't care where game is being played. There's no way he starts" vs Chargers— Manish Mehta(@MMehtaNYDN) December 18, 2012
---End of Update---
New York's postseason aspirations officially came to an end on Monday Night Football against the 5-9 Tennessee Titans. Starting quarterback Mark Sanchez picked the big stage to present us with one of his most pitiful performances of the season, throwing four picks and fumbling on the Jets' final drive of the game en route to a 14-10 loss.
And with that, the debate about Sanchez should come to an end, but it likely will not. Despite his futility this season, some still believe he holds the keys to the Jets' future—and one of those believers still seems to be his head coach.
Last month, a reporter rather tactlessly asked Rex Ryan about his "fatal attraction" to Sanchez, via The Wall Street Journal, and truthfully, the sentiment could not be more accurate. Ryan has somewhat nobly backed Sanchez all season, but for what? This team is 6-8. It will miss the playoffs for a second straight season. Sanchez has thrown 17 picks, the third-most in the NFL, and he had the fourth-worst completion percentage.
There is the argument that Sanchez can win, as long as he's surrounded by good players—and truth be told, he did not have many this season. There is the argument that even now, when there's nothing to play for, benching Sanchez would be yet another unnecessary blow to his confidence. But it is not like Sanchez is being benched in the midst of a playoff race, a la Alex Smith, and plus, it is hard to believe that there is anything left for him to lose in terms of self-esteem.
At this point, it is not personal. It is not about finding the guy to engineer a playoff push, at least this season. It is about seeing what some of the other guys can do if they are given a shot.
Sanchez needs to return with a clean slate—and not in 2012. There is nothing left to be gained this season. Any accomplishment will be hollow and meaningless.
So why not give McElroy a shot instead of letting him continue to waste away on the bench?
The one time the Alabama product was given a shot this season, he led New York to a 7-6 win over the Cardinals, engineering the game-winning drive in the fourth quarter that, at the time, kept the Jets' playoff hopes alive. He did what was asked of him, and even when he has been benched and inactive, he has not complained.
And who knows? Maybe he will actually be good. Maybe this team could win.
If McElroy is terrible, then it reaffirms Ryan's position that Sanchez was the best option. And if McElroy is good, the Jets end the season with a promising prospect on their hands. What is the worst that could happen?
Ryan insists that Sanchez gives this team its best shot of winning. Well, now that that is no longer an issue, maybe it is time for a change of pace.