Memo Mark Sanchez: You Play To Win The Game Before You Play The Field
Beware, New York Jets!
Be careful what you wish for.
Splashed in living color across the front-page cover of Tuesday's New York Post, New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez poses with steamy siren model Hilary Rhoda, her hand splayed suggestively across his naked six-pack of abs.
The hot photo is one of many featured in this week's GQ magazine. The story was so juicy it got coverage from the brainless Entertainment Tonight and Access Hollywood shows to talk sports radio across the country.
Clearly, Sanchez, who hails from Southern California and looks the like a Hollywood type, is very much distracted with himself. Even if he tells people, and the Jets PR people tell people that Sanchez is focused on football and football only, coverage like this before he even steps foot onto the gridiron should raise eyebrows.
This is what is wrong with the sports industry today.
Fans and media put tremendous stock into unproven commodities who come out of big time schools, and either have a great smile or big names or both. These athletes get treated like kings before they even prove that they are worth the millions of dollars overzealous owners shovel in their direction.
Remember Matt Leinart? Three years ago, Leinart was a can't-miss-prospect from USC with a big arm and great looks. Some even nicknamed him "Hollywood Leinart" because of his ability to attract beautiful women and "make nice" with the media.
Many teams stayed away from Leinart in the 2006 draft, probably out of fear that his Great Gatsby obsessed lifestyle would create a 52-and-1 mentality in the clubhouse. Leinart dropped to the Cardinals as the 11th pick, and everyone went crazy, claiming that the Cards finally had gotten the quarterback to fly them to the Super Bowl.
As fame and misfortune would have it, Leinart spent more time posing with models for magazine covers, more time making cameo appearances in Will Farrell movies, and more time partying than he did trying to help the Cardinals win games. As a result, it was 37-year-old Kurt Warner, who before making it big with the Rams in 1999 was bagging groceries at a supermarket and playing part-time in Arena Football, who took the Cards to their first ever Super Bowl only four short months ago.
Even Alex Rodriguez, for all the great numbers that he has put up in his career, can't seem to stay out of the spotlight whether posing half naked in Central Park, dating over-the-hill rock icon Madonna, being caught fooling around with drunken women in Puerto Rico, or parsing his reported abuse of steroids.
Undeniably, Rodriguez craves the media spotlight so much that he finds ways to publicly embarrass himself and the team for which he labors.
In 2000, when A-Rod first became a free agent, he demanded that the New York Mets pay him over $200 million, furnish him with a nice office and a secretary endowed with long legs. Steve Phillips balked, and for good reason, citing that Rodriguez would create a 24-and-1 rift in the Mets clubhouse that would be unfixable.
The Yankees know this, having spent five years trying to duck A-Rod's notorious follies.
Derek Jeter, the clubs leader, reportedly can't stand the guy even if he doesn't publicly admit it, and Yankee fans have no taste for Rodriguez' postseason struggles and his off field antics.
The only "pretty face" to succeed under the glare of media attention is Tom Brady.
The distinction is Brady first earned his battle ribbons. He was drafted in the sixth round out of Michigan and placed on the practice squad for a short time before being promoted by the Patriots to third string quarterback behind Drew Bledsoe and Scott Zolack.
Once Brady started winning big games for the Pats, taking the team to three Super Bowl Championships, only then did the glitz and glamour begin to follow. Brady is now married to supermodel Gisele Bundshin but still dedicated to his football team.
Brady has earned his place in the sun; Sanchez has not.
The question remains: Where does this leave the Jets? The Jets need a quarterback who can step in and lead this team to the Super Bowl, the ultimate prize for which Woody Johnson pays.
Is this rookie ready to take on that task?
How long will he be able to handle the New York media if the Jets start 1-7 with him under center?
Photo ops like this will not do. Such behaviors will likely draw the ire of his teammates, especially if it continues. On a football team, the quarterback is expected to be the guy whom everyone looks up to for leadership. He is supposed to put his teammates before himself. He will sacrifice his mind, his body, and his soul to make certain his club gets through 16 grueling games and the playoffs to the Promised Land.
That is why Chad Pennington was so revered by his teammates. Even though the fans grew to dislike Pennington for his lack of arm strength and poor winning percentage, the Jet players loved his leadership skills and dedication to the team.
Photo shoots won't win Sanchez support from the fans and media, who will quickly view them as the main culprits for Jet failures. Fans will call in talk radio shows demanding Sanchez be dumped, and media pundits will be poking fun at him day in and day out. New York can be a cruel place sometimes, especially to losers.
If Sanchez continues to pose with super models, make appearances on the new Late Show with Conan O'Brien, or appears in a cameo role in the latest frat/sorority house-type movie, Rex Ryan and company will pay; it could cost both Ryan and GM Mike Tannenbaum their jobs.
The Jets traded a lot to the Cleveland Browns in order to get Sanchez; if he fails to meet the expectations of his coaches and flops on the field, the Jets will be thrown back for a very long time. When a coach and GM draft a quarterback, they cannot afford to get it wrong, for, if they do, the franchise could be deep-sixed for five to eight years.
It is hard to believe that owner Woody Johnson, who is charging fans $70,000 to enjoy a primo seat in the new stadium, and who is paying top dollar to his new coaching staff and quarterback, will be pleased if Sanchez throws five interceptions and is spotted laughing it up at a strip club hours after the Jets get pasted by the Patriots 45-0.
Patience is only a word; victory is the essence in the billion-dollar world of the NFL.
What is the duplicate article?
Why is this article offensive?
Where is this article plagiarized from?
Why is this article poorly edited?