Something funny happened last year in the drama and saga that is New York football.
Somehow, without really winning anything, the Jets surpassed the Giants as the talk of the town. And even more specifically, Mark Sanchez is the Big Apple’s hottest football commodity, not Eli Manning — the quarterback who’s already won a Super Bowl.
In an ESPN.com article from late June naming the 13 sports markets with the biggest stars (Boston was No. 1), New York came in at No. 2, and Sanchez — not Manning — was listed as one of the city’s four biggest sports stars.
Sanchez may be a star someday. There is simply no denying that. But at this point in his career, what has he done? He does have a Jets fanbase that has been notoriously tortured for years optimistic about their chances, but at the end of the day, he hasn’t done anything yet.
The ESPN.com article shouldn’t come as a surprise to those who follow either team too closely. The Jets have taken over the New York football world again only two-and-a-half years after the Giants pulled off one of the biggest upsets in the history of sports.
Who was the MVP of that Super Bowl? It was Eli Manning. How quickly we forget.
Manning has quietly played himself into the upper echelon of quarterbacks in the NFL today. Just last season, he threw for over 4,000 yards and for a career-high 27 touchdowns. He still made some questionable decisions, but he continues to get better every year.
New York likes winners. But New York also likes what’s hot and what’s hip. And right now, Mark Sanchez and the Jets are what’s hot and what’s hip.
There’s nothing to say Sanchez won’t finally get the Jets back to the promised land. But the truth is, he hasn’t yet, and Eli Manning has.
While he won’t be popping up in pictures like this or dating famous models like her (Manning married his college sweetheart), one thing will remain true. Eli Manning is already a proven winner, something that will make even Mark Sanchez — who has New York in the palm of his hand — jealous.
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