For a city with 8 million people in it, New York can feel like a pretty lonely place if you're in the spotlight and falling short. Mark Sanchez, in the crosshairs as the quarterback of the hapless Jets, must wake up every so often and wonder if Ricky Williams had the right idea by chucking it all and living in a tent in the Australian Outback. Shoot, hiding out under a Central Park bridge must have its attractions some days.
So it's good for Sanchez's sake that he's got the backing of one of the few incontrovertibly great individuals associated with the Jets franchise, one Broadway Joe Namath. Earlier this week, Namath told New York Newsday that not only does he have confidence in Sanchez, he believes Sanchez can lead the Jets to -- wait for it -- a championship:
"I believe Mark Sanchez can be a championship quarterback as long as he has the right supporting cast, yes I do," Namath said. "He hasn't shown me enough yet to give up on him. To say he can't? Excuse me, he's just finishing his fourth year. Who's to say he can't get better? He sure as hell works hard enough ... It takes Lady Luck to be on your side, but yes, I think he can do it."
Namath knows what he's talking about; shoot, he probably dated Lady Luck for a few weeks in the '70s. And he knows exactly what Sanchez, whose season -- pardon the pun -- bottomed out on Thanksgiving with a 49-19 loss to the Patriots, faces as the Jets' QB1:
"I feel the pain when something goes wrong with him," he said. "I know what he's going through. Every bad play I made was embarrassing and angered me. I went through a lot of stuff and wasn't happy a lot of the time. But Mark's handled it well. He just keeps plugging away."
As for the big question, what to do with Tim Tebow, Namath didn't even hesitate. "I think he should have that opportunity [to play]," Namath said, "and someone else should give him that opportunity if he wants to play quarterback." BOOM. Leave your playbook in your locker on the way out, Tim.
Namath has as much credibility as anyone; he's still the only guy who's ever quarterbacked a Super Bowl champion Jets team. So don't go packing to live down by the tracks just yet, Mark. There's still faint, flickering hope.
As always, thank you, Jets. Thank you for continuing to give us story material.