Broadway Joe Back In The Limelight As Comparisons To Sanchez Become The New Poise
Joe Namath’s name sure has surfaced in the news a lot recently. A few days before Christmas, Namath was sued by a former U.P.S. driver in West Palm Beach, Florida. The driver alleged that the former Super Bowl hero’s dogs attacked him while he was making a delivery.
It wasn’t a Merry Christmas in the Namath household, it seems.
Then New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan came out with his ridiculous statement last week, saying that his team was the Super Bowl favorite—a wet dream for the New York media. New York-based writers, as expected, acted upon the bold prediction swiftly, with many comparing Ryan’s remarks to Namath’s famous Super Bowl guarantee back in 1969.
After Mark Sanchez performed surprisingly well in the Jets’ first-round playoff win over the Cincinnati Bengals Saturday, though, the Broadway Joe comparisons reached a new level. Sanchez, who threw 20 interceptions during the regular season, managed the game effectively, going 12 of 15 for 182 yards and a touchdown. The Bengals forced him to beat them, and he did exactly that. But, as was the case with all of the articles about Sanchez’s tremendous poise from September, many are making way too big of a deal about his performance. After all, he still only threw the ball 15 times. If not for the Baltimore Ravens running wild over the New England Patriots, leaving Joe Flacco with just 10 pass attempts, he would've had the fewest pass attempts of any QB in Wild Card weekend. Since the Jets won—mostly because Darrell Revis is insanely talented and the Jets have a phenomenal defense as a whole—Sanchez is getting more hype than is merited.
Of course, because Sanchez plays QB for the same team that Namath did, the comparisons were inevitable from the day he was drafted out of USC. But they are getting out of control at this point. Indeed, the Namath-Sanchez comparisons are becoming the new poise, a word linked to the rookie QB far too many times this season as Deadspin has meticulously documented.
The most blatant example of this came from good ol’ Mike Lupica, who doesn’t have many friends among his colleagues at the NY Daily News and is someone many sports fans under the age of 30 love to hate. Lupica, who proceeded to express his man crush for Sanchez on the Sports Reporters, wrote in his Sunday column that Sanchez proves he’s worthy of a Broadway stage. It took him only one paragraph to make his ultimate point.
They got the kid to play like this, in games like this. The Jets got him to be a star, for them and their fans in Jersey and for New York. They worked the kid out in Southern California when they were deciding whether to trade up and draft him and Rex Ryan, a coach you may have heard of, said the kid didn't miss a throw. The Jets really got Mark Sanchez to win them their first Super Bowl since Joe Namath, the last star kid they had at quarterback. And Saturday, Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, first pro playoff game of his life, Mark Sanchez made you believe he will do just that, beat everybody some day the way he beat the Bengals.
Now, I like Sanchez. He's going to get better with more experience—he basically played only one full season before this fall since high school—and has the chance to be one of the Jets’ better players soon, as Ryan discussed in the Postgame press conference. Enough is enough, though.
Regardless, I’m sure that Namath enjoyed the attention and having reporters go to quotes for him about Sanchez more so than the latest story involving his daughter. As reported here by the New York Post, his 19-year-old daughter was arrested in the wee hours of Monday morning for possession of marijuana, intent to sell, and possession of alcohol under the age of 21. That’s hardly earth-shattering news, of course. If she didn't have the Namath last name, it wouldn’t even register locally down in Florida, let alone in New York and nationally.
Now that the story has picked up and gained steam, though, I bet Namath is hoping that Sanchez continues to play well to help Ryan make good on his prediction. Which will only lead to more comparisons and articles about his poise.
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