Fun Wall Street Article "Lets Play ..."
Let's Play 'Name That Jets QB'
Sanchez or Tebow? Tebow or Sanchez?
The Answers to a Few of These May Surprise You
By Mike Sielski, Wall Street Journal
The Jets begin training camp Friday, and once they do, America will resume one of its favorite pastimes of 2012: the second-by-second tracking and analysis of the play of quarterbacks Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow. And by "play," we mean the way that each of them takes a snap, throws a pass, talks to his teammates, drinks Gatorade, walks on and off the practice field, spits, talks, tweets or Tebows. (Would Sanchez dare to Tebow in the presence of Tebow? Imagine the delicious fallout.)
Part of what makes the Sanchez-Tebow competition such a flashpoint for discussion and speculation is that there's already a familiar, ready-made narrative in place for each player. The storylines go like this: Sanchez is the flashy quarterback from southern California who lost the trust of his teammates and coaches last season, who failed to lift his team into the playoffs, who now has to defend his reputation and his job against this incursion by the NFL's most popular and polarizing player. Tebow doesn't have the prettiest throwing motion and may not be able to read defenses with the acuity of, say, Drew Brees, but he's a leader in the locker room and a man of God who wins football games through the sheer power of his ability to do whatever must be done to win football games.
Those are two pretty distinct pictures, and they depict a pair of athletes who have little in common other than their position. So in the interest of showing that Sanchez's and Tebow's careers haven't necessarily always followed those arcs—that their paths to this point have been more similar than one might think—we've come up with the following quiz.
It's simple: We provide a detail about either Sanchez or Tebow. You guess the QB to whom it applies. You might be surprised at some of the answers, which are upside down below the quiz. (No cheating!)
1. He was the first rookie quarterback in NFL history to start and win the first three games of his team's season.
2. He was the first rookie quarterback in NFL history to run for a touchdown in each of his first three starts, though his team lost two of those games.
3. A writer for Esquire Magazine called him "anything but cool."
4. He has signed endorsement deals with Nike and Toyota.
5. He has signed endorsement deals with Nike and Jockey.
6. In his first postseason start, he threw for 316 yards, including a long game-winning touchdown pass in overtime.
7. A writer for GQ called him "the most eligible bachelor to hit New York in a generation."
8. In his first postseason start, he completed 12 of his 15 passes, including a long second-quarter touchdown pass that gave his team a lead that it never relinquished.
9. His career record as an NFL starter, including playoff games, is 31-22, a .585 winning percentage.
10. His career record as an NFL starter, including playoff games, is 9-7, a .563 winning percentage.
11. With a playoff berth at stake, he lost his final three regular-season games last year, completing 56% of his passes and throwing five touchdowns and seven interceptions.
12. With a playoff berth at stake, he lost his final three regular-season games last year. In those games, he completed just 41% of his passes while throwing only one touchdown and four interceptions.
13. Among the 31 quarterbacks who took at least 25% of their teams' snaps last season, none threw "the deep ball" (a pass attempt of 20 yards or more) more frequently than he did, according to Pro Football Focus.
14. Among the 31 quarterbacks who took at least 25% of their teams' snaps last season, just seven threw "the deep ball" less frequently than he did.
15. In his final college game, he threw for 382 yards and three touchdowns in the Sugar Bowl.
16. In his last college game,he threw for 413 yards and four touchdowns in the Rose Bowl.
17. He made a cameo on "Saturday Night Live."
18. He has not appeared on "Saturday Night Live."
19. He has led nine game-winning drives in the fourth quarter, including four last season.
20. He has led six game-winning drives in the fourth quarter, including five last season.
Answers: 1. Sanchez; 2. Tebow; 3. Tebow; 4. Sanchez; 5. Tebow ; 6. Tebow; 7. Sanchez; 8. Sanchez; 9. Sanchez; 10. Tebow; 11. Sanchez; 12. Tebow; 13. Tebow; 14; Sanchez; 15. Tebow; 16. Sanchez; 17. Sanchez; 18. Tebow; 19. Sanchez; 20 Tebow
A version of this article appeared July 23, 2012, on page A22 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: Let's Play 'Name That Jets QB'.