Mark Sanchez

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Mark Sanchez
Mark Sanchez - Jets - Sept 2009.jpg
Sanchez during a preseason game in 2009.
No. 3     Philadelphia Eagles
Quarterback
Personal information
Date of birth: (1986-11-11) November 11, 1986 (age 27)
Place of birth: Long Beach, California
Height: 6 ft 2 in (188 cm) Weight: 225 lb (102 kg)
Career information
High school: Mission Viejo (CA)
College: USC
NFL Draft: 2009 / Round: 1 / Pick: 5
Debuted in 2009 for the New York Jets
Career history
Roster status: Active
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of 2013
Pass attempts 1,867
Pass completions 1,028
Percentage 55.1
TDINT 68–69
Passing Yards 12,092
Passer rating 71.7
Stats at NFL.com

Mark Travis John Sanchez (born November 11, 1986[1]) is an American football quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles of the National Football League (NFL). He was drafted in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft as the fifth overall pick by the New York Jets and the second quarterback taken overall. He played college football at the University of Southern California (USC).

Sanchez grew up in a well-disciplined and athletic family. In the eighth grade, he began to play football and learn the intricacies of the quarterback position, training with his father, Nick. A well-regarded prospect, Sanchez committed to Southern California following his successful high school career in which he led his team to a championship title during his final season. At USC, Sanchez was relegated as the backup quarterback during his first three years though he rose to prominence due to his brief appearances on the field in 2007 due to injuries suffered by starting quarterback John David Booty. Sanchez also became popular within the community due to his Mexican-American heritage. Named the starter in 2008, Sanchez led USC to a 12–1 record and won the Rose Bowl against Penn State for which Sanchez was awarded the Most Valuable Player award for his performance on offense.

Although USC coach Pete Carroll and many scouts considered him too inexperienced, Sanchez announced his intention to enter the 2009 NFL Draft. He was selected by the Jets after they traded up with the Cleveland Browns, and was named the starting quarterback prior to the start of the season. Despite a subpar performance, Sanchez led the Jets to the AFC Championship Game, a losing effort to the Indianapolis Colts, becoming the fourth rookie quarterback in NFL history to win his first playoff game and the second to win two playoff games. In his second season, Sanchez continued to develop and led the Jets to the playoffs and the team's second consecutive AFC Championship Game where they narrowly lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers, 24–19. With the win over the New England Patriots the week prior, Sanchez tied four other quarterbacks for the second most post-season road victories by a quarterback in NFL history. In leading the Jets to two consecutive conference championships, Sanchez joined quarterback Ben Roethlisberger as the only two quarterbacks in NFL history to reach the conference championship in their first two seasons in the league.[2]

The next two seasons would be a regression for both the team and Sanchez as they failed to reach the playoffs. Fans and media critics called for a struggling Sanchez to be benched. He eventually was replaced towards the end of the 2012 season by Greg McElroy. Sanchez suffered a season-ending shoulder injury during the preseason in 2013; he was released after the season concluded and was subsequently signed by the Philadelphia Eagles.

Early life

Mark was born in Long Beach, California to Nick Sr. and Olga Sanchez.[3] When Mark was four, his parents divorced; Mark and his brothers, Nick Jr. and Brandon, stayed with their father but their mother remained involved in their upbringing.[4] Mark initially lived in Whittier and Pico Rivera; when he was six his father moved with the children to Rancho Santa Margarita, a predominantly white neighborhood of Orange County.[3][5]

Mark's father remarried and raised them strictly, seeking to influence them to become leaders.[4][5] Throughout his childhood and teenage years, Mark's father would have him combine athletic and mental training. Mark would have to dribble a basketball without looking at it while reciting multiplication tables; practice baseball swings in a batting cage while answering questions about the periodic table and similar combined drills that his father hoped would develop quick thinking and self-confidence that would guide Mark in all areas of life and not simply sports.[5]

By the time Mark entered the eighth grade, he had developed an interest in football but was unsure of what position to play. His father consulted coaches Bill Cunerty, who formerly coached at Saddleback College, and Bob Johnson, the head coach at Mission Viejo High School.[3] Both coaches stated Mark could be a quarterback if he applied himself and was open to learning the intricacies of the position.[3] Nick Sr. trained Mark during sessions in their backyard or at the park.[3] Mark, who was attending Santa Margarita High School, joined the football team. During his first pass attempt as a sophomore, Mark threw a 55-yard touchdown.[3]

Prior to his junior year of high school, Mark transferred to Mission Viejo,[6] where Johnson, who was recognized as a "quarterback guru", having trained professionals like Carson Palmer, was head coach. Under Johnson's tutelage, Mark felt he would have a better opportunity to become a better player.[3] Johnson tutored Mark on the complexities of the position and in two seasons with the team, Mark led the Diablos to a 27–1 record culminating with the California Interscholastic Federation Division II championship in 2004.[3]

Mark was named football player of the year by several major college recruiting services and was considered the top quarterback in the nation upon the conclusion of his high school football career in 2005.[7] In July 2004, Mark announced his commitment to the University of Southern California.[8]

College career

Being named the nation's top quarterback coming out of high school, Sanchez was well regarded upon his arrival at USC.[9] With upperclassmen Matt Leinart and John David Booty returning, Sanchez did not play during his freshman year in 2005, opting to preserve a year of eligibility.[10] During this time, he participated as the quarterback of USC's scout team, earning the Trojans' Service Team Offensive Player of the Year Award.[10]

Sanchez in 2008

In April 2006, Sanchez was arrested after a female USC student accused him of sexual assault. He was released from jail the following day and suspended. On June 3, 2006, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office announced no charges would be filed, and Sanchez was reinstated, though he was disciplined by the football team for underage drinking and using false identification on the night he was arrested.[11][12][13]

At the outset of the 2006 season, Sanchez competed for the starting quarterback position; once Booty, a junior, suffered severe back spasms caused by a pre-existing back condition, surgery was required and Sanchez was promoted to run the first-team offense during the spring as Booty recovered.[14] Coaches stated Booty would be considered the starting quarterback when he returned for fall practice.[15] During the 2006 season, Sanchez saw limited playing time in games against Arkansas, Stanford and Oregon. Through those three games, Sanchez completed 3 of his 7 pass attempts for 63 yards and 1 interception.[16] He also saw additional action against Arizona, Michigan, and Notre Dame but he did not attempt a pass in those contests.[6]

In fall practice, before USC's 2007 season, Sanchez broke his right thumb, missing the first game against Idaho; he returned the following week and served as the primary backup to Booty.[6] Sanchez earned limited playing time in wins against Nebraska and Washington State.[16] Sanchez was named the starting quarterback by head coach Pete Carroll against Arizona after Booty suffered a broken finger during a 24–23 loss to Stanford.[15]

Sanchez runs off the field after pregame warm-ups before the 2008 season opener at Virginia.

On October 13, Sanchez led USC to a 20–13 victory, overcoming a wavering performance during the first half of the game in which he threw two interceptions, as Arizona went on to tie the game heading into halftime.[17] During the second half, Sanchez was more proficient in passing the ball and ultimately finished the game completing 19 of his 31 passes while throwing for 130 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.[17] With Booty still recovering, USC elected to start Sanchez for a second consecutive week against Notre Dame; he made significant improvements, completing 21 of his 38 passes for 235 yards and four touchdowns in a 38–0 victory over Notre Dame.[18]

On October 27, Sanchez started for the final time in place of the injured Booty, an away game against Oregon.[19] USC lost, 24–17; Sanchez had two passes intercepted by Oregon safety Matthew Harper in the second half.[19] The first interception led to a fourth-quarter touchdown that gave Oregon a 14-point lead; the second interception ended USC's final chance for a comeback.[19] In spite of a myriad of mistakes committed by his teammates in addition to his own, Sanchez publicly accepted blame for the loss.[19] The following week, against Oregon State, Booty returned as USC's starting quarterback, with Sanchez resuming his position as Booty's backup.[20] Sanchez did not perform in subsequent games and finished the season with 695 yards and seven touchdowns with five interceptions.[16][21]

Sanchez entered spring practice after the 2008 season as the front-runner to take over the starting quarterback position, but faced strong competition from redshirt freshman Aaron Corp and Mitch Mustain, a transfer from Arkansas, where he had been the starting quarterback; Mustain, like Sanchez, was named the top quarterback in the nation upon the conclusion of high school career in 2006.[7][22] By the end of spring practice, Carroll announced Sanchez would be the starting quarterback heading into the fall.[23] During the first week of fall camp, Sanchez dislocated his left kneecap during warm-ups prior to practice; trainers immediately put the kneecap back into place.[24] After missing nearly three weeks, Sanchez was cleared to play in the opener against Virginia.[25] Before the opener, Sanchez was contacted by USC's previous three quarterbacks—Carson Palmer, Leinart and Booty—who wished him well and offered general advice.[26]

Sanchez, holding the sword of the USC drum major, salutes the fans after a victory in his final regular season game at rival UCLA.

In the opener at Virginia, Sanchez threw for a career-best 338 yards, completing 26 of his 35 passes for three touchdowns and one interception.[27] The Davey O'Brien Foundation named him the O'Brien Quarterback of the Week and his performance garnered early Heisman discussion.[28][29] The Trojans suffered a stunning 27–21 loss against Oregon State on September 25. By seasons end, the Trojans' lone loss was enough to remove them from contending for the BCS National Title and instead they were to play in the Rose Bowl against Penn State.[30] The Trojans defeated the Nittany Lions 38–24. Sanchez won the 2009 Rose Bowl Most Valuable Player award for his performance on offense; his 413 passing yards ranked second in the history of the Rose Bowl and fourth in Trojan history.[30][31] With Sanchez starting all thirteen games, the Trojans ended the season 12–1 and ranked number two in the Coaches' Poll and number three in the AP Poll.[16][32] Sanchez finished the season with 3,207 yards passing, 34 touchdowns, second most in Trojan history, behind Leinart, and 10 interceptions.[21][31]

Upon the conclusion of the Rose Bowl, Sanchez stated it would be "hard to say goodbye to [USC]. I don’t think I can do it."[33] However, with the subsequent announcement that other NFL-caliber quarterbacks, such as Sam Bradford, Tim Tebow, and Colt McCoy had decided to stay in school, rumors arose that Sanchez would use the opportunity to enter the 2009 NFL Draft.[34] On January 15, Sanchez announced his plans to forgo his final year of college eligibility and enter the 2009 NFL Draft, although he continued as a USC student and completed work on his degree in the spring of 2009 while preparing for the draft.[21][35]

Sanchez became the first USC quarterback to leave early since Todd Marinovich did so after the 1990 season.[36] During the press conference, head coach Pete Carroll made it clear that he did not agree with Sanchez's decision, and advised him of the low success-rate of quarterbacks who left college early.[21] Despite the public disagreement, the two remained close afterward.[37]

Professional career

Pre-draft

Sanchez hired his older brother and business litigator, Nick Sanchez, to be his agent alongside David Dunn, who represented Carson Palmer.[38] Sanchez received an invitation to the 2009 Scouting Combine where his performance was well received.[39] He was ranked as one of the top two quarterbacks, behind fellow junior Matthew Stafford from the University of Georgia.[40] In the final days leading up to the draft, several NFL teams expressed serious interest in Sanchez, including the Seattle Seahawks (No. 4 selection), Cleveland Browns (No. 5 selection), Washington Redskins (No. 13 selection), and New York Jets (No. 17 selection).[41]

Pre-draft measurables
Ht Wt 40-yd dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert Broad BP Wonderlic
6 ft 2 in 227 lb 4.88 s 4.21 s 7.06 s 32.5 in 9 ft 8 in 28
Did not attempt bench. Ten and twenty splits are not available.[42][43]

New York Jets

2009 NFL Draft

The New York Jets drafted Sanchez using the fifth overall selection in the 2009 NFL Draft, making him the first quarterback selected by the Jets in the first round since Chad Pennington.[44] To select Sanchez, the Jets traded their first and second round selections and three players, Kenyon Coleman, Abram Elam and Brett Ratliff, to the Cleveland Browns.[44] At the time, the selection was lauded as good value for the team and for Sanchez.[45] Sanchez reached an agreement with the team on June 10, 2009, signing a five-year, $50 million contract, with $28 million guaranteed.[46] It is the largest contract the Jets signed a player to in franchise history.[46]

2009 season

Sanchez (red jersey) at a June 2009 New York Jets mini-camp at Florham Park, New Jersey.

Heading into his rookie training camp, Sanchez was listed as the second quarterback behind veteran Kellen Clemens. Jets head coach Rex Ryan viewed the camp as an opportunity for both quarterbacks to compete against each other to determine the eventual starter for the 2009 season.[47] On August 26, 2009, Sanchez was named the starter, becoming the first rookie quarterback to start the season for the team since Dick Jamieson in 1960.[48]

Sanchez started his first regular season NFL game against the Houston Texans on September 13, 2009, throwing his first touchdown pass, a 30-yard reception, to Chansi Stuckey.[49] Sanchez and the Jets won the game 24–7, with Sanchez throwing for 272 yards, a touchdown and an interception.[49] He was named the Pepsi Rookie of the Week for his performance in the game, the first of three consecutive Rookie of the Week awards.[50] He played his first home game a week later versus the New England Patriots, a 16–9 victory; it was also his first division game and his first rivalry game.[51] It was the Jets' first victory over New England at home since 2000.[51] With a 24–17 victory over the Tennessee Titans in Week 3, Sanchez became the first rookie quarterback to start and win his first three games of an NFL season.[52] However, his performance began to regress as he had a pass intercepted for a 99-yard touchdown return, and fumbled another attempted pass in the end zone for another touchdown, as the Jets fell to the New Orleans Saints in Week 4.[53] These two plays were enough to spoil an otherwise strong outing from the Jets's defensive unit as the team dropped to a 3–1 record.[53] Following the loss to New Orleans, Sanchez received criticism in a 16–13 overtime loss to the Buffalo Bills in Week 6 when he threw five interceptions against a lowly Bills defense that previously had only four interceptions the entire season.[54] The Jets ended their losing streak in a 38–0 victory against the Oakland Raiders in Week 7 however, Sanchez was criticized after he was seen eating a hot dog on the Jets' bench in the fourth quarter.[55]

In the team's second meeting against the Bills on December 3, 2009, Sanchez suffered a sprained posterior cruciate ligament in the third quarter, prompting the veteran Clemens to take his place.[56] Though there were no setbacks to the injury, head coach Ryan benched Sanchez the following game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for precautionary reasons, much to Sanchez's dismay.[56] At 7–7, the Jets had a chance to secure a playoff berth if they won the remainder of their games.[57] One such game was against the Indianapolis Colts who had 23 consecutive regular season wins.[57] Sanchez and the Jets engineered a comeback win following Colts head coach Jim Caldwell's decision to controversially rest the team starters in the third quarter with a five-point lead.[57] The following week, on January 3, 2010, Sanchez led the team into the playoffs, despite a subpar effort, completing eight of sixteen passes for sixty-three yards, en route to a 37–0 win over the Cincinnati Bengals, who rested their starters as the team had already clinched the AFC North division title and a playoff berth.[58] The manner of the two wins, which gave the Jets their first playoff berth since 2006, caused many to claim the team had "backed into the playoffs".[59] Sanchez completed his rookie season with 2,444 yards, 12 touchdowns and 20 interceptions.[1]

2009 postseason

Sanchez after throwing a pass during a preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

In the wild card round, that took place on January 9, 2010 at Paul Brown Stadium, Sanchez led the Jets to another victory over the Bengals, 24–14, behind his positive performance where he completed 12 of his 15 passes while throwing for 182 yards and a touchdown with a passer rating of 139.4.[60] Sanchez became the fourth rookie quarterback in NFL history to win his first post-season contest, and the second to do so on the road.[60] The others were Shaun King ('99 Bucs), Ben Roethlisberger ('04 Steelers), and Joe Flacco ('08 Ravens).[60] On January 17, 2010, Sanchez, with the help of fellow rookie Shonn Greene, defeated the heavily favored San Diego Chargers 17–14 to attain the Jets' third AFC Championship appearance in franchise history.[61] Sanchez became only the second rookie quarterback to win two consecutive playoff games, behind Joe Flacco.[62] In a rematch of their regular season meeting with the Colts, Sanchez performed well in the first half however, the offense succumbed to the Colts' defense in the second half and the Jets gave up an 11-point lead, losing 30–17.[63] Sanchez was named to Sporting News' All-Rookie team for his performance during the season.[64]

2010 season

On February 17, 2010, Sanchez had surgery to repair the patella ligament in his left knee that he originally injured when he played for USC. The surgery was successful.[65][66] Sanchez was expected to miss early workouts and return in time for training camp however Sanchez made a quick recovery and participated in team drills during Organized Team Activities (OTA).[66][67] The Jets opened the 2010 season with a 5–1 record however, the passing game was subpar as Sanchez struggled to accurately throw the football.[68] Sanchez recorded his first career 300-yard passing game in a win over the Detroit Lions on November 7, 2010.[69] At 10–4, the Jets faced the Chicago Bears on December 26, 2010 with a chance to clinch a playoff berth.[70] Though Sanchez injured his shoulder in a victory over Pittsburgh the previous week, he started the game completing 24 of his 37 passes for a touchdown and an interception.[70] However, the Jets were unable to defend the Bears' offense and subsequently lost the game 38–34 after a comeback drive was halted when Sanchez was intercepted.[70] Due to a loss by the Jacksonville Jaguars that same day, the Jets clinched the playoff berth.[70] Sanchez finished the season with 3,291 yards, 17 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.[1]

2010 postseason

The Jets finished the season with an 11–5 record and entered the wild card round facing the Indianapolis Colts in a rematch of their previous encounter in the AFC Championship.[71] Although Sanchez had a subpar performance completing 18 of his 31 passes while throwing an interception, he led the team in the final minutes of the game on a comeback drive culminating with kicker Nick Folk kicking the game-winning field goal as time expired.[71] The Jets went on to face the New England Patriots in the divisional round and upset the heavily favored Patriots, 28–21, as Sanchez completed 16 of his 25 passes for 194 yards and three touchdowns.[72] With the win, Sanchez tied Len Dawson, Roger Staubach, Jake Delhomme, and Joe Flacco for the second most post-season road victories by a quarterback in NFL history.[73] The team traveled to the AFC Championship, for a second consecutive season, to face the Pittsburgh Steelers on January 23, 2011.[74] Heading into halftime losing 24–3, the team, led by Sanchez, engineered a comeback following a heartfelt speech given by the quarterback at halftime.[74][75] However, the team fell short as their final offensive drive was stymied by the Steelers' defense and the Jets lost 24–19.[74]

2011 season

Prior to the outset of the 2011 season, head coach Rex Ryan named Sanchez a team captain.[76] The Jets opened the season with a 2–3 record leading to discontent within the clubhouse. The team had begun to stray from their philosophy of consistently running the ball and began to pass more often however, the offense struggled with this adjustment.[77] Receivers Plaxico Burress, Santonio Holmes and Derrick Mason approached coach Ryan to question offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer's system as Holmes and Mason averaged only 3 catches per game and Burress only 2.5 catches through four games.[77] Additionally, Sanchez drew criticism for his difficulties to effectively throw the ball to his receivers.[78] The struggles culminated with Holmes getting into a heated argument with another teammate in the huddle during their final regular season game against the Miami Dolphins. Holmes was benched in the fourth quarter while Sanchez threw three interceptions in the Jets' loss that eliminated the team from playoff contention for the first time in Sanchez's career.[79] Statistically, Sanchez had similar numbers in a comparison to Eli Manning when he concluded his third year of football however, there were concerns that Sanchez was simply an ineffective quarterback and therefore expendable.[78][80] During the offseason, Sanchez was criticized by anonymous teammates for his poor work ethic and his inability to improve; these claims were publicly refuted by other teammates.[81] Despite questions surrounding his job security, after New York acquired Tim Tebow,[82] the Jets agreed to a 3-year contract extension with Sanchez on March 9, 2012. The contract included $20 million in guarantees.[83]

Sanchez prepares to throw against the St. Louis Rams in 2012.

2012 season

The Jets opened their season against the Buffalo Bills with Sanchez completing 19 of his 27 passes for 266 yards, 3 touchdowns and an interception in a 48–28 rout of the Bills.[84] In the subsequent four games, Sanchez became the first quarterback since Stoney Case in 1999 to complete under 50% of his passes in four straight contests as the Jets fell to a 2–3 record.[85] This prompted fierce criticism from the media and the fans in regards to Sanchez's continued accuracy issues and prompted calls for the promotion of Tim Tebow.[85] Sanchez snapped this streak against the Indianapolis Colts on October 14, 2012 completing 11 of his 18 passes for 82 yards and throwing for 2 touchdowns in a 35–9 victory over Indianapolis.[86]

The following week, the Jets faced division rival New England Patriots. Despite a second-half lead by New England, the game was tied at the end of regulation forcing overtime. Following a Patriots field goal, Sanchez had the ball knocked out his hand by Rob Ninkovich who recovered the fumble and sealed the Patriots' victory.[87] This was Sanchez's best overall performance to that point in the season as he completed a career record 68% of his passes when attempting 40 or more passes.[87] Sanchez's struggles continued in the following two games against Miami[88] and Seattle;[89] in Seattle, Sanchez completed 9 of 22 passes for 124 yards while throwing his fourth red zone interception of the year and was the fifth game of the season where he completed under 50% of his pass attempts.[89]

The Jets snapped their losing streak in a 27–13 victory over the St. Louis Rams in which Sanchez completed 15 of his 20 passes for 178 yards and a touchdown.[90] However, his struggles continued in a rematch against New England. Despite completing 26 of 36 of his pass attempts for 301 yards and a touchdown and interception, the Jets were defeated by the Patriots 49–19 and fell to 4–7 as Sanchez turned the ball over twice—each turnover led to Patriots touchdowns.[91] The play that earned Sanchez the most criticism was a second-quarter fumble where he ran into the backside of lineman Brandon Moore and the Patriots scored on the resulting fumble; this play, becoming widely known as the butt fumble, was mocked in the media.[92]

Sanchez started the next week, but was benched in the third quarter of the Jets' contest against the Arizona Cardinals on December 2, 2012 in favor of third string back-up Greg McElroy.[93] Prior to being benched by Rex Ryan, Sanchez threw three interceptions. McElroy threw a touchdown to Jeff Cumberland to score the team's only points in a 7–6 victory over Arizona.[93] Rex Ryan renamed Sanchez the starting quarterback the following Wednesday after seeking out multiple opinions within the organization.[94] Sanchez returned to complete 12 his 19 passes for 111 yards against the Jacksonville Jaguars, fumbling once that led to a Jaguar field goal. The Jets won 17–10.[95] In a must win game against the Tennessee Titans to remain in playoff contention, Sanchez struggled; he completed 13 of his 28 passes for 131 yards while throwing four interceptions and fumbling the ball in Titans territory in the closing minutes of the Jets' 14–10 defeat.[96] A day later, Ryan named McElroy the starter.[97] Sanchez started the Jets' final game against the Buffalo Bills after McElroy revealed he had been experiencing concussion symptoms in the days preceding.[98] The Jets were defeated 28–9 with Sanchez completing 17 of his 35 passes for 205 yards and two turnovers.[99]

2013 season

Sanchez suffered a shoulder injury on August 24, 2013 in the Jets' third game of the preseason against the New York Giants after being tackled by Marvin Austin.[100] The Jets, who drafted rookie quarterback Geno Smith in the 2013 NFL Draft, named Smith the starter on September 4 with Sanchez still rehabilitating his injury.[101] On September 14, 2013, Sanchez was placed on injured reserve with the designation to return.[102] After undergoing shoulder surgery on October 8, 2013, it was announced he would miss the rest of the season.[103] After much speculation regarding his future in New York,[104] the Jets released Sanchez on March 21, 2014.[105]

Philadelphia Eagles

Sanchez signed a one-year contract with the Philadelphia Eagles on March 29, 2014.[106]

Player profile

Early in his career, Sanchez was praised for his ability to maintain composure in the pocket amidst defensive pressure and focus on finding an open receiver to extend the team's offensive series.[107] In his four-year career, Sanchez has had ten fourth quarter comebacks and twelve game winning drives.[108] These characteristics were highlighted by Bill Parcells and Sam Wyche and garnered comparisons to Ben Roethlisberger.[109] Sanchez was also noted for his proficiency in short passing situations[110] and competitive nature; in December 2010, following dismal performances, Rex Ryan threatened to reduce Sanchez's repetitions with the first team offense during practice which infuriated Sanchez.[111]

In December 2012, following a series of poor performances that eventually led to his being benched,[97] a panel of former NFL quarterbacks were questioned about Sanchez's different attributes. It was unanimously agreed upon that his arm strength was "good enough" to succeed in the league and that he could be effective while mobile in the pocket.[112] His regression was mainly attributed to his poor accuracy, a byproduct of his indecisive mentality once the ball is snapped, and the fact the Jets did little to help surround Sanchez with the talent to overcome his shortcomings.[112] Ron Jaworski commented that Sanchez had lost his confidence which contributed to his decline.[112]

While Sanchez has embraced a playboy lifestyle, drawing comparisons to former Jet Joe Namath,[113] he was praised by Brian Schottenheimer for his ability to work with various personalities and build relationships with teammates.[114] After undergoing knee surgery following his rookie season, Sanchez established "Jets West" in 2010, an annual off-season camp located in his home state of California. Sanchez hosts workouts and offers classroom review sessions for his skill-position teammates on offense for one week.[115] During the NFL labor dispute, Sanchez managed to organize private workouts with over forty of his teammates.[116]

Personal life

Sanchez on USC's traditional pregame "Trojan Walk"

Sanchez is an avid fan of musical theatre.[117] He was a presenter at the 2010 Tony Awards, where he introduced a number from the Broadway musical Memphis.[117] Sanchez has been involved in multiple charities including the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation to help raise awareness for Type 1 diabetes and Sam's Club's Giving Made Simple which, helps raise awareness about childhood obesity and how families can prevent it.[118][119] Sanchez has also worked with the Teddy Atlas Foundation through which he met Aiden Binkley, a terminally ill 11-year old struck with rhabdomyosarcoma. Sanchez developed a bond with Binkley and the two remained close friends until Binkley's death in December 2010.[120]

Sanchez's father is a fire captain for the Orange County Fire Authority and a member of the national urban search and rescue team. In college, Nick Sanchez played quarterback for East Los Angeles College and was later a sergeant in the United States Army.[5] His two older brothers both played college football. Nick Jr. attended Yale University where he played quarterback while Brandon attended DePauw University where he played on the offensive line.[4] Nick Jr. went on to attend the USC Law School and is a business attorney; Brandon became a mortgage broker.[5][121]

Mexican-American identity

"Some people wanted me to be the Latino quarterback. Some people wanted me to be the USC quarterback who happens to be Latino. [I decided to] just be me and do my best with everything and not try to be something I'm not."

— Sanchez on the challenge of being a role model[122]

When Sanchez was elevated to prominence at USC, he found himself a symbol of Mexican-American identity and a role model for younger generations.[4][122] Sanchez was placed on center stage in Los Angeles, home to more than 4.6 million Hispanics, the majority of whom are of Mexican descent.[123] While there had been previous, successful Mexican-American quarterbacks such as Tom Flores, Jim Plunkett, Joe Kapp, Jeff Garcia, Tony Romo, and Marc Bulger, unlike most of his predecessors, Sanchez is a third-generation, full Mexican and none had been embraced to the extent Sanchez was.[3][123] USC fans began playing up Sanchez's ethnicity by wearing items such as sarapes, lucha libre masks and homemade "¡Viva Sanchez!" T-shirts.[123] His rise to fame within the Mexican-American community was compared to that of boxer Oscar De La Hoya and baseball pitcher Fernando Valenzuela.[3][122]

While starting for an injured John David Booty in 2007, Sanchez wore a custom mouthguard that featured the colors of the Mexican flag in honor of his heritage.[123][124] It became a prominent issue after a nationally televised game against Notre Dame.[123] The mouthpiece became a symbol for two opposing viewpoints: for Mexican-Americans, it was a symbol of unity—Sanchez accepting his heritage; for critics, the gesture symbolized a radical political statement.[125] Sanchez, who was born and raised in the United States, received hate mail urging him to return to Mexico.[123] Sanchez responded to the controversy stating, "It’s not a Mexican power thing or anything like that. It’s just a little bit of pride in our heritage. Hopefully, it inspires somebody and it’s all for the best."[124] Overwhelmed by the attention and shying away from politics, Sanchez stopped wearing the mouthpiece, but began participating in other efforts to help the Hispanic community.[122]

Sanchez, who knew how to speak some Spanish but was not bilingual, began to take Spanish lessons during his junior year at USC so he could have conversations with others who share his heritage and conduct interviews with the media without the use of a translator.[3][4][122] The USC band played "El Matador" when Sanchez would come onto the field.[126] Sanchez participated in a fundraiser to help provide school supplies to first-graders in the city of Long Beach and region of South Bay, and helped Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa give holiday gifts to impoverished families.[122] By the end of his USC career, he had been hailed as a role model for Hispanic youth.[127] Sanchez serves as the Ambassador to the Inner-City Games Los Angeles, an after-school program that provides "at-risk youth" with positive, alternative activities.[128] ESPN Radio came to an agreement with the Jets to broadcast all of the team's regular season games in 2011 on 710 ESPN Radio in Los Angeles. The agreement came about due to Sanchez's continued popularity in California.[129]

Statistics

College

Year Team G GS Passing Rushing
Att Comp Pct Yds Y/A TD Int Rtg Att Yds Y/A TD
2006 USC 3 0 7 3 42.9 63 9.0 0 1 89.9 4 −5 −1.3 1
2007 USC 6 3 114 69 60.5 695 6.1 7 5 123.2 14 22 1.6 0
2008 USC 13 13 366 241 65.8 3,207 8.8 34 10 164.6 52 16 0.3 3
Total[130] 22 16 487 313 64.3 3,965 8.1 41 16 153.9 70 33 0.3 4

National Football League

Regular season

Year Team G GS Passing Rushing Sacked Fumbles Record
Att Comp Pct Yds Y/A TD Int Rtg Att Yds Y/A TD Sack YdsL Fum FumL W L
2009 NYJ 15 15 364 196 53.8 2,444 6.7 12 20 63.0 36 106 2.9 3 26 195 10 3 8 7
2010 NYJ 16 16 507 278 54.8 3,291 6.5 17 13 75.3 30 105 3.5 3 27 171 9 1 11 5
2011 NYJ 16 16 543 308 56.7 3,474 6.4 26 18 78.2 37 103 2.8 6 39 243 10 8 8 8
2012 NYJ 15 15 453 246 54.3 2,883 6.4 13 18 66.9 22 28 1.3 0 34 209 14 8 6 9
2013 NYJ Injured
Total[1] 62 62 1,876 1,028 55.06 12,092 6.48 68 69 71.7 125 342 2.74 12 126 818 43 20 33 29

Playoffs

Year Team G GS Passing Rushing Record
Att Comp Pct Yds Y/A TD Int Rtg Att Yds Y/A TD W L
2009 NYJ 3 3 68 41 60.3 539 7.9 4 2 92.7 6 −2 −0.3 0 2 1
2010 NYJ 3 3 89 54 60.9 616 6.9 5 1 97.3 5 11 2.2 0 2 1
Total[1] 6 6 157 95 60.5 1,155 7.36 9 3 94.3 11 9 0.82 0 4 2

Career highlights

Awards and honors

Award/Honor Time(s) Year(s)
National Football League
Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week[50] 3 2009
Sporting News' All Rookie Team[64] 1 2009
College[131]
Rose Bowl Champion 3 2007, 2008, 2009
Rose Bowl Offensive Most Valuable Player 1 2009
First Team All-Pac-10 1 2008
Sports Illustrated and Pro Football Weekly All-American Honorable Mention 1 2008
High school[131]
Super Prep All-American Player of the Year 1 2004
Parade All-American Player of the Year 1 2004
CIF Division II Champion 1 2004
All-CIF Division II Co-Offensive Player of the Year 1 2004

NFL records

New York Jets franchise records

  • Most career postseason victories by an NFL quarterback: 4[133]
  • Longest touchdown pass in a playoff game (2009): 80[63]
  • Most game winning drives in a single season (2010): 6[134]
  • Most regular season wins by a starting quarterback in 16 starts (2010): 11 (tied with Ken O'Brien in 1985)[134]

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External links