With Brett Favre putting a Clubber Lang-level street beating on his reputation these past few seasons, the national media—most of which is tucked away neatly in the Northeast—was in dire need of a replacement.
The fans no longer cared that Favre called the media to chat, while he was mowing the lawn at his Mississippi farm or that if he did cartwheels down the field after a completion to show how much he loved the game. We didn’t want to hear about him anymore.
So the media needed a football player, preferably a quarterback, whose every move they could fawn over, as if he was the fourth Jonas Brother. They needed someone who they could create stories about out of thin air, who played in a market that allowed them to convince themselves that all football fans shared their passion.
Forget that he wasn’t even the first quarterback taken—really who cares about Detroit, right?—the fact that the Hollywood glamour boy who wasn’t afraid to wear something like this in public at one time, was snapped up by a New York team, to fill the position vacated by Brett Favre no less, meant that the media had exactly what they were hoping for on draft day.
Despite Sanchez having just 13 starts in college, he had become the de facto choice for most high profile NFL rookie, before ever throwing a pass in the league. His name flirted with headlines throughout the offseason, his pictures showed up in a Baywatch-inspired GQ photo shoot, he was as dreamy as Favre was rugged.
And when he did throw his first pass, he made hearts flutter in the press box when he completed it 48 yards downfield to David Clowney against a St. Louis Rams team that the Jets racked up 47 points against last year. When press time rolled around that night, the challenge was what word to use, while highlighting the QB—dazzles, sparkles, dazzles again.
Game recap headlines like this one appeared all throughout the web and print:
Damn those dastardly Rams for spoiling everything. Didn’t they know it was Mark's day?
As if his one series in the preseason opener wasn’t enough to weaken knees, when Rex Ryan announced that he would start the second preseason game for the Jets, the media tore into the story like it was a free press box buffet. It mattered not that Ryan insisted that Sanchez was scheduled to start regardless of how he performed in the first game, the combination of his debut, his nomination as the starter for Game Two, and his dimples was the dynamite that set off the Mark Sanchez avalanche.
And he’s even on Twitter.
Get ready, America, the media has found a new toy.