Momentum gets talked about all the time in sports, but usually just in terms of the games themselves.
Teams go on a run in the second quarter or they get a couple of breaks to swing momentum their way early in the fourth. One win turns into two and three and then, suddenly, a team is riding big Mo all the way to a playoff berth or, in the case of the Giants this year, the ultimate prize.
You usually don't associate momentum with things like press conferences, but, then, you don't normally have press conferences to introduce your backup quarterback to a press corps larger than most of the ones President Obama faces when he does his own press conferences at the White House. That kind of press conference could generate plenty of momentum all by itself.
When Tim Tebow is the guy on the podium, things become a runaway train. While the Post might not have liked his outfit, everything else about the performance was gold standard stuff that mixed confidence, humility, arrogance and homespun likability into the kind of heady brew that's made Derek Jeter and Eli Manning the biggest stars in town.
Tebow looked like a starting quarterback on Monday, much more than Mark Sanchez has ever looked like one and he handled a pressured situation with considerable aplomb. In a perfect world, none of that would matter when it came to deciding who will be the starting quarterback for a football team but there's no denying that optics matter in these things.
The Jets can say that Sanchez is the starting quarterback all they want -- Rex Ryan did it again from the owners meetings in Florida -- but every other message comes screaming with boldfaced type announcing Tebow as the Jets' future.
It's almost as if Sanchez's demotion is just something the team takes so for granted that they don't even feel like they need to mention it as a possibility because everyone is left with the same impression of its inevitability.
None of this is fair to Sanchez, of course. He might not have played well enough to avoid this kind of situation, but when you're making allowances for guys winning despite mediocre results there should certainly be some given to a guy with four playoff wins on his resume.
Life isn't fair, though, and if Sanchez can't come up with good enough play to turn this around then there's not much reason to think he's ever going to be a high-caliber starting quarterback in the NFL. At this point, it's fair to wonder just what level of performance it will take to stem the tide as well as whether or not the team around Sanchez gives him a chance to do that.
Once momentum takes hold, it can be tough to stop. Welcome to the Jets in 2012.