It was announced on Tuesday that former New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez would be retiring from the NFL to join ESPN as a college football analyst.
The last Jets quarterback to lead the team to the playoffs has thrown in the towel. Mark Sanchez has retired from the NFL and will be joining ESPN in a high-profile college football analyst role.
Most will remember Sanchez for his infamous “butt fumble” play, where he ran into his offensive lineman’s backside and coughed up the football. The play wound up becoming a nationwide meme, with every major sports network replaying it over and over again.
However, Jets fans have plenty of great memories to reminisce on from “The Sanchise” era. He’s the last quarterback to lead the team into the playoffs, and brought them to the AFC championship two years in a row.
After being drafted with the fifth overall pick in 2009, Sanchez immediately brought Gang Green to their first playoff appearance since 2006. They went in as a wild card team, but they came to play. After beating the Bengals in week 17 to make the playoffs, they beat them again in the Wild Card round a week later. Sanchez posted a 139.4 quarterback rating in the wild card round while completing 80% (80%!) of his passes.
The following week, the Jets faced the 13-3 San Diego Chargers. The Jets were pretty much written off going into that game, but they shocked the world yet again. The Jets defense held Phillip Rivers and the Chargers to just 14 points, and Sanchez threw for a touchdown and the Jets walked out victorious. Sanchez did the unheard of: lead a team to an AFC Championship game as a rookie.
The following year the Jets grabbed a wild card spot for the second straight season. His game against the Patriots in the divisional round was arguably his most memorable performance ever. Coming in as big underdogs, the Jets showed up to play in Foxboro. One man put on a stellar performance: Mark Sanchez.
Sanchez put on a show, putting up 195 yards and 3 touchdown passes. One touchdown pass was special, and personally my favorite Jets play of my lifetime: Sanchez finding Santonio Holmes in the back corner of the end zone. Sanchez dropped a perfect dime right into the corner, and Holmes did what Holmes did best: make a play.
We won't forget this one.
— New York Jets (@nyjets) July 23, 2019
Many Jets fans will say this is among their favorite games ever, and it’s hard to argue against. There wasn’t a better feeling than beating the Patriots, in Foxboro, and in the playoffs. Sanchez pulled it off and led his squad to their second consecutive AFC Championship game.