By Kristian Dyer
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He never became the “Sanchise.” By nearly every individual statistic, he has been underwhelming and perhaps even a disappointment. He has never made a Pro Bowl and looks he never will. It could even be argued that he is bordering on “bust” territory after being the No. 5 pick in the 2009 NFL Draft.
But memo to Jets fans: Don’t boo Mark Sanchez on Saturday night.
Love him (and there are few of those in this dwindling club) or hate him, Jets fans need to understand that Sanchez is still their starting quarterback, at least for Saturday night. And with a new season and a fresh slate, he doesn’t deserved to be booed.
Although it is still OK to smirk at “Buttfumble.”
Ironically, Sanchez probably got a better reception at Ford Field last Friday in the preseason opener against the Lions, where he was greeted by Lions fans with apathy as somewhat of a non-factor. But almost lustily, Jets fans are lining up to boo Sanchez when he takes the field with the starters on Saturday night at MetLife Stadium. This was a man who went from hero in New York – he of the consecutive AFC Championship Game appearances in his first two seasons in the league – to being a zero with playoff misses the past two years.
There are more and more Sanchez detractors each day, who seem to almost delight in his foibles from his hideous hairband kick recently to the head scratching Fu Manchu facial hair that he’s been styling recently. And then there’s his pass to no one last week that was intercepted by the Lions and turned into a Pick-6. With each bad decision, he gets ripped apart by Jets fans all too eager to see him stumble and ultimately fall.
To turn on Sanchez, whose stuff isn’t up to snuff by any standard, isn’t being a true fan. Booing the man before the season starts, booing someone who by all accounts tries his hardest despite the lack of results the past two years, is tantamount to hoping for not just his failure but that of the team as well. The problems with this organization have gone deeper than Sanchez the past two years, he just seems to have exacerbated the problem with his poor play on the field. But booing Sanchez at this point in the season as he steps on the field for a meaningless game is the wrong place at the wrong time.
In reality, this will be his last preseason with the Jets.
If Sanchez is the answer for the Jets, than the question is most likely “Who was the Jets quarterback before Geno Smith became the starter?” The future here in New York for a quarterback who was supposed to be the second coming of Joe Namath just hasn’t panned out. But to jeer him is, as a Jets fan, is the wrong decision every which way.
As of right now, whether by Smith’s ankle injury or perhaps through a bit of skill, Sanchez is the starting quarterback for this team and in all likelihood will be the starter come Week 1. This should be applauded by Jets fans as he, despite his recent shortcomings and downright failures, still represents this team’s best chance to win – for now. But Jets fans seem almost too eager to watch him fail, glibly waiting for his next mistake.
And that goes against being a fan at its very core. Boo Sanchez when he messes up – boo the whole team when they underperform – that is the prerogative and perhaps even the right of a fan who has forked over hard earned money to see a certain product. But to wait and hope for a player to fall and fail let alone boo him before the first snap is anathema to what being a Jets fan is all about.
Or at least what being a Jets fan should be about.
Kristian R. Dyer covers college football for Metro New York and also contributes to Yahoo! Sports. He can be followed for news and insight on Twitter @KristianRDyer.
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