Mark Sanchez is involved in some tourney madness of his own.
As one of 32 players being considered by ESPN Sportsnation for the cover of EA Sports’ Madden ’12 Game, the Jets’ franchise quarterback is already in the middle of a “Round 1 matchup” with Dolphins T Jake Long. Fans can vote here in the opening round until Sunday, March 27.
Sanchez, a No. 5 seed in the “tournament,” should be a prohibitive favorite over the 12th-seeded Long. But if the talented passer advances to Round 2 next week, it figures that Saints QB Drew Brees will be waiting there for him. Take nothing away from Buccaneers QB Josh Freeman, a No. 13 seed, but the No. 4-seeded Brees is one of the NFL’s most popular players, a five-time Pro Bowler and a Super Bowl MVP.
Both No. 1 seeds are quarterbacks as Philip Rivers is on Sanchez’s side of the bracket while Packers QB Aaron Rodgers sits atop the opposite ledger. Sanchez also has Eagles dual threat Michael Vick (No. 3) on his side while former Jet/current Pat Danny Woodhead got a surprising No. 4 seed across the way. Other eyebrow raisers included Broncos QB Tim Tebow getting in with an 11 seed and the Seahawks getting their “12th Man” respected as a 10-seed.
Jets Nation, a skeptical bunch by nature, might be scared off by the “Madden Curse.” Vick broke his leg the preseason after he donned the 2004 cover. And Brett Favre appeared on the cover of the ’09 game as a Packer before being traded to New York’s AFC representative (downloads allowed you to get Favre in a Jets jersey later on), played well early after the move, but then the team lost four of its final five as No. 4 threw just two TDs against nine interceptions. Since 1999, other players affected by the curse have included Ray Lewis and Donovan McNabb.
So will Sanchez be a “Legend Killer”? That’s the nickname Brian Mulligan, our gameday and special events director, has labeled the Sanchize after he helped the Green & White dispose of Peyton Manning and Tom Brady back in January. He already had playoff postseason wins over Rivers and Carson Palmer on his résumé, so we’ll see if he can add to that in this clever move by EA Sports and ESPN.
Well Wishes to Steve Sabol
Our hearts dropped a bit this weekend when we heard that NFL Films president Steve Sabol had been diagnosed with a brain tumor. Not only a visionary and a legend, Sabol is a classy gentleman who we are rooting for hard here at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center.
Last March, we were honored to have Sabol in our facility to discuss the Jets’ upcoming appearance on HBO’s “Hard Knocks.” But now a year later, doctors are going to attempt to shrink his tumor through both chemotherapy and radiation. CNNSI’s Peter King provided both Sabol’s email (Sabol.NFLFilms@NFL.com) and also an address where folks can send cards: 1 NFL Films Plaza, Mount Laurel, NJ 08054.
And to borrow a line from King in his Monday Morning Quarterback column, Sabol “loves hearing from you. I know he does. And I know how much so many of you love what Sabol has done over the years. For so many, he’s been a lifeline to a love of football. Well, that lifeline needs you now. Drop him a note if you can. Thanks.”
Tags: Drew Brees, ESPN Sportsnation, Jake Long, Madden '12, Mark Sanchez
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