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If you were busy at an early dinner or waiting in an emergency room or somewhere else where you could only intermittently check a muted television for updates on Sunday's Jets game, you could have learned everything you needed without seeing the score. A shot of Mark Sanchez, pouting (and not in the GQ, modely way) on the bench, was worth a thousand words. The first word was "I," the next 998 were the same expletive repeated over and over and he wrapped things up with "suck."
A fair appraisal of a five interception afternoon. But was he pouting and slumping his shoulders because he was losing, or was he losing because he's a shoulder slumper whose body language forces his teammates to join him in a death spiral? Greg Bishop of the New York Times took a long look at Sanchez's body language in Thursday's paper, and got a quote from former NFL quarterback and current ESPN pundit Tim Hasselbeck about Sanchez.
"The area of concern I have was his demeanor on the sideline as the game started to spin out of control. saw a guy on the sideline that really looked like he was moping at times. Honestly, I wasn’t sure if he was going to break down into tears."
Funny, three weeks ago Sanchez was a callow rookie who was too happy all the time and celebrating his success too much. That was a negative as well. To be fair, Hasselbeck may never have said anything negative about Sanchez's demeanor in winning games. It's hard for the mind to maintain a full rolodex of which ESPN talking head said what, and since most google searches regarding Hasselbeck result in articles about his wife, a host of "The View," we'll have to just wonder what he thought. But if Sanchez had responded to his five interceptions with a smile and a shrug of the shoulders, he would have been criticized for that too.
None of it matters. The winning and losing is what matters, which is why it seems silly to wonder if it was Sanchez's moping or the five interceptions that led to the loss on Sunday. If the argument was that Rex Ryan should have seen Sanchez on the bench and realized that his quarterback needed to be pulled because he was in over his head, that would be one thing. But drawing conclusions beyond that seems like worrying about a broken window on a house that's on fire.
Winning is what matters. When a quarterback without a Super Bowl ring yells at his receivers, he's a mouthy jerk. When one with a ring on his finger does it, he's a leader. When Tom Brady acts like a jerk to reporters and whines to referees, no one says a word. If Chad Henne does it, it's a sign that he doesn't have what it takes. When Peyton Manning stared blankly out at the field in 2000, it was becaue he was a loser who couldn't comprehend what he needed to do to win. When he does it now, he's a genius figuring out which way to beat his opponent.
It's funny that this happened on the same weekend as the Giants loss to the Saints, because we used to read a lot of these articles about Eli Manning before he won a Super Bowl. If you flipped on that Giants game in the second half, you would have seen a lot of the sad Eli face that used to be used as a reason why he'd never be a good quarterback. You saw a lot of the flailing arms and exasperated yapping at teammates. Nowhere, however, did you see that blamed for the loss because it had nothing to do with it.
Just as Sanchez's body language had nothing to do with the team's three straight losses.