It’s the 2009 NFL draft. The Jets were coming off of a 9-7 sesaon with Brett Favre at the helm, and Eric Mangini as the coach. Following the season, Mangini was fired, and replaced by a first year head coach named Rex Ryan. Subsequently, Brett Favre retired again. The Jets were without a quarterback.
Ironically, it was Eric Mangini, from his new position with the Cleveland Browns, helping the Jets get their quarterback. He and the Jets organized a blockbuster trade that moved the Jets to the number five pick overall in the draft. With that pick, Mark Sanchez was chosen out of USC, and the era began.
By the way, there was a roar from the Radio City Music Hall crowd when Mark was chosen, probably from some of you that wanted him out the door like yesterday’s garbage. Just saying.
In 2009, Sanchez and the Jets came out like gangbusters, winning their first three games. This made Mark the first rookie quarterback to win his first three games since Greg Cook did it for the Bengals in 1969. That year, Mark set franchise rookie records in passing yards with 2,444 and completions with 196.
The Jets went 9-7, and made their first of two trips to the AFC title game. They took out Carson Palmer and the Bengals, and Phillip Rivers and the Chargers. Finally, although they were winning at the half, they fell in the title game to Peyton Manning and the Colts, 30-17. Mark Sanchez completed 60.3% of his passes and posted a passer rating of 92.7.
Were you all calling for his head then? Just asking.
In 2010, the Mark Sanchez era peaked, with the Jets posting their best record of the Rex era at 11-5. This included Mark leading come from behind wins against the Detroit Lions, Cleveland Browns, and the Houston Texans.
The playoffs that season led the Jets through Peyton Manning in the Wild Card game, and Tom Brady in the divisional playoff game, before falling to Big Ben and the Steelers in the title game by a score of 24-19. He nearly led them all the way back in the second half, but the first half was just too big of a hole to climb out of.
In the postseason, Mark threw five touchdowns versus only one interception, and his overall passer rating was a 95.5, showing a guy that can step up in the big spot.
Oh, and I am sure you all wanted this guy shipped out with the recycling when he was completing this pass:
It did fall apart, as we all know….