On Thanksgiving night two years ago, Mark Sanchez and the New York Jets lost to the New England Patriots 49-19.
The low point came in the second quarter, when Sanchez fumbled the ball by stumbling face-first into the back of his own player.
The Butt Fumble — as it’s now known — came to embody the chaotic, dysfunctional final two years of Sanchez’s tenure with the Jets. The play is so infamous that it has its own 2,500-word Wikipedia page.
Twenty-four months later, Sanchez was on the other end of a Thanksgiving-night blowout — leading the Philadelphia Eagles to a 33-10 win over the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday.
After the game he was asked to “speak to what happened” on the Butt Fumble. He could have bristled at being asked to describe such an embarrassing moment right after a big win, but instead he gave this great, matter-of-fact response:
“It sucked. I ran into some guy’s butt and dropped the ball on the turf and they scored. I mean, I don’t know if it gets — it’s like my favourite holiday so it’s not cool. It was really a bummer. The game plan [today] was try not to do that, and we accomplished it.”
Sanchez has saved his career with what he has done in Philadelphia. Even if the team reinserts Nick Foles as the starter when he’s healthy, Sanchez has shown over the past month that he’s a capable back-up quarterback in the NFL.
The Jets cut Sanchez after the 2013 season. After rededicating himself to football in the offseason — with the help of a “intervention” from his trainer — he signed with Philadelphia on a one-year, $US2.25 million contract.
He’s now 3-1 as a starter, including a massive win on the two-year anniversary of his low point.
Not every player in his position (i.e. a highly drafted quarterback who fails to live up to expectations and loses his starting job) has enough resilience to make the sort of comeback Sanchez has made. History is littered with examples of quarterbacks who never play again after flaming out with the teams that drafted them.
No matter how his tenure with the Eagles turns out, he has gone a long way toward redeeming himself from this:
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