Rich Seiber @RichSeiber
Maybe Rex is required to play Sanchez during Hispanic heritage month.
I tweeted this last night after the Jets embarrassing 34-0 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. A game in which quarterback Mark Sanchez threw for only 103 yards on 13 of 29 passing. He completed just 44% of his passes and threw one interception.
By all accounts, that is a horrendous performance by your starting play caller. And yet, Head Coach Rex Ryan refuses to entertain thoughts of replacing Sanchez with back up Tim Tebow.
"I'm not ready to make a quarterback change," Ryan said after the loss. "Obviously we've got to get better play at quarterback, and we got to get better play at a lot of things. Mark's the answer at quarterback."
Many media pundits, including this one, disagree. Football Night in America’s Rodney Harrison is among the more prominent ones.
“Last week the Jets’ offense struggled against the Miami Dolphins,” said Harrison on the highest rated TV show in America. “They didn’t score a point today. The morale of the team is low,” he continued. “It’s time. They need a spark. Tim Tebow will give them that spark.”
Yet he can’t provide that spark if he’s not given the opportunity. So why won’t Rex make the move? I have one interesting theory.
You may remember a Monday Night Football game a few Octobers ago on ESPN. The NFL was just starting its push to gain more Hispanic viewers and fans. The league was celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month. During that MNF broadcast, Sanchez was touted as one of the leading Hispanic players who could help the league reach out and woo this growing constituency.
That celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month continues in 2012. You may have noticed that every stadium has the “Football Americano” slogan painted on the grass. The NFL is involved in a full-fledged effort to broaden the appeal of professional football to the Latino community and other cultures.
And there’s nothing wrong with that. Unless it means the league is putting pressure on coaches and teams to promote certain players by granting them unearned exposure and playing time.
I have no proof that this is indeed what is happening. It is just a theory. But the NFL seems invested in seeing Sanchez succeed. How far might that investment take them?