New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez has a lot incentives to succeed: Generous contract, lucrative endorsements and all the perks that come with being a handsome quarterback playing in the media capital of the world.
These are carrots, if you will. His latest motivational tool, however, comes in the form of a stick – a stick named Tim Tebow.
One interesting development coming out of Jets training camp this summer is the body sculpting that these two quarterbacks are engaged in. Tebow is as likely to be seen without a shirt as with the red one bearing his number 15. Both have added muscle, a result of pushing themselves in the gym.
But let’s be clear about who’s behind the pushing – it ain’t Sanchez.
NFL quarterbacks are not known for leading the pace during team wind sprints, yet that’s what these guys are doing – Tebow in front, Sanchez right behind. Tebow is without argument a physical specimen – a lousy passer, but a gifted athlete. Sanchez has admitted that he can’t keep with the 250-pound 24-year-old in the gym, calling him an “ox,” (his belabored throwing motion might also warrant the comparison).
Tebow is the guy at the office who everyone hates, throwing back five-hour energy shots, using the word “great” in a non-sarcastic manner, wrecking it for the old-timers who’ve paid their dues and just want to coast – and worst of all, being genuinely nice about it the whole time, so you can’t hate him. And for the guy who has the job that the kid is bucking for, he’s probably not getting much sleep: Heavy is the head that wears the crown.
Of course, all this testosterone-driven competition is just peachy until the regular season actually begins. When that happens, Sanchez better deliver. If he doesn’t, the Tebow chant will begin, and even though coaches and higher-ups in the organization say they don’t make roster decisions based on popular opinion, the fact is, they absolutely do. Just ask Kyle Orton. And if Sanchez has a three-interception performance or loses back-to-back games, Tebow’s name will echo through the stadium like Maximus’ in the Colloseum.
But if the Jets do yank number six, in favor of 15, the grand incentivizing experiment will have failed, and woe to any team that has Tebow as their passer. At that point, it might be time to ship him off to some other town where the team’s starter needs a fire lit underneath him. And keep in mind that Sanchez would be considered damaged goods, and would in all probability get cut or traded, leaving the Jets to start from scratch on a question they haven’t answered correctly on since Joe Namath.