Mark Sanchez: Future Victim Of Tebowmania?

The incumbent Jets starter better be prepared to feel fans' wrath

James LeBeauby James LeBeau

So you thought your life was rough enough being the starting quarterback of a professional sports team in New York, Mark Sanchez? Well, you haven’t seen anything yet buddy.

With the New York Jets trade to acquire quarterback Tim Tebow from the Denver Broncos on Wednesday, the Jets have assured that despite a five year, $58 million dollar contract–which is so fresh the ink hasn't dried yet–starter Mark Sanchez will be sleeping with one eye closed and one eye on his job for the foreseeable future.

Coming off of a disappointing season that didn't see Sanchez make the advancement that was expected of him, the Jets organization gave him a pat on the back with that contract extension. They then delivered a kick in the gut with the Tebow trade, a trade that basically tells Sanchez 'hey, you're our guy…but you really need to improve that game a bit….or else'.

With Tebow behind Sanchez, it is to be expected that Tebow will receive as much fan support as he received in Denver and you can bet that at the first sign of blood, or in Sanchez's case, early mistakes, the Tebowmania will build to full crescendo fast. And if that's the case, I wouldn't want to be the guy in front of him on the depth chart. Just ask Kyle Orton.

Though it's unlikely that Tebow will see the field as a regular starter of the Jets, the acquisition of him does emphasize that the time is now for Sanchez to prove his worth. A Super Bowl contender heading into last season, coming off of an 11-5 year in 2010, the Jets faded late in the season–dropping 5 of their final 8 games–to finish 8-8 and out of the playoff picture for the first time since 2008. Most of this blame was placed on the lap of Mark Sanchez, who was unable to pull all the considerable ego's in the Jets locker room into one unit.

Instead of rising to the task of being a leader, Sanchez fell into anger and depression, losing control of the offense to some of the more outspoken players.

This year, with the increased pressure that Tim Tebow represents, Sanchez will have to prove his worth early and often if he wants to keep at least some of the fan pressure off of him. The job is his, and his for the entirety of the season, barring injury or an even bigger decline. But nobody would want to be in his shoes if he puts up another statistical season like last year and the Jets again fail to make the playoffs.

Again, Just ask Kyle Orton how that feels.

Photo Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS