Interview with Mark Sanchez, New York Jets Quarterback
Mark Sanchez. Where can I start? The Sanchise took the New York Jets to the AFC Championship game last season. His great personality has led him to appear with Tina Fey on Saturday Night Live and to present at the Tonys. Sanchez threw for 2,444 yards last season with 12 touchdown passes. Here is my interview with No. 6:
BW : What did you learn from Carson Palmer by being his ball boy? [When Palmer, the Heisman winner and quarterback for the Bengals, was in high school, Sanchez was his ball boy.]
MS : It is one of those situations where you watch him so much every day in practice and games and then.... My dad and I would go to the practices at UC Irvine and you would see how he was always the same person, he would always say hi to us and ask how our family was doing. I learned from him off the field and saw how great of a player he was and teammate. I would see how nice of a person he was and how that affects how you are viewed the team chemistry and all that. As much as I learned on the field, I learned off the field.
He has always been a great person so it was great to see that. All the coaches talked about him as a great guy and a great player and same with his teammates. He was a good friend who happened to be a good football player, not the other way around.
BW : What are your career goals as a Jet?
MS : We gonna win a couple of Super Bowls. We got so close last year. Once you get so close you see the time and effort it takes and you see what it's all about. It really helps pulling in your focus on what you really want. That is the ultimate goal. All of the other stuff will come. Touchdown passes and the individual accolades come along with your team being great and special. The chance of winning a Super Bowl in a city like New York, there's nothing like it. Once you win one, you get that bug to win another one, that edge.
BW : Which coach did you like playing for more: Rex Ryan [coach of the New York Jets] or Pete Carroll [coach of the Seattle Seahawks, but Sanchez's coach at USC]?
MS : They both were perfect for what I needed at the time. Coach Carroll really helped you develop as a person and a leader and as a competitor. He was so big on competing. I was a competitive guy growing up. That definitely helped and enhanced my competitive edge. He taught me what it meant to compete and how to respect your opponents and so many other life lessons that he taught me, along with a lot of X's and O's from football along with Coach [Steve] Sarkisian [coach of the Washington Huskies, former offensive coordinator at USC].
Once you get to this level in the NFL, you are expected to have those skills and that ability to compete and to know what it is all about. When I got to be with Rex, I needed someone who could help take the pressure off me as a freshman quarterback in New York, make me laugh at all times, and some one who at the end of the day will do anything for you.
Some of those games last year felt like some of the worst days in my life because I was playing so poorly at certain parts of the season and there was only one guy who I could go to and that was Rex. The only one who knew how I felt and understood what I was going through and wanted to be there for me. They were both great coaches for me to play for and I recommend them both, but I felt that they both fit at the right time in my career. I'm pretty fortunate to have that.
BW : Were you nervous going into the playoffs with all of the hype from Coach Ryan?
MS : I don't think so. I think that's what we believed. We felt like we slandered an opportunity at the end of the year like we weren't going to make the playoffs after the Atlanta game and we knew we were a playoff caliber team, but we just didn't perform like it and there's no other way to prove it than to get into the playoffs at the last minute. Win and we're in.
Then it's like, "None of these other teams want to play us." We were in that bracket where we are the bracket buster team like in the NCAA tournament and no one wants to play us because we run the ball so well and because I started playing better and taking care of the ball better and our defense will just beat you up. We got to a situation where our guys would line up with the guys across the ball and be like, "They don't want it on this play, they don't want it on the next play, they're not going to want it for the rest of the game."
That's just the kind of football that Rex loves and the kind of attitude that was contagious throughout our locker room. We feel that way now. I don't think anybody wants to play our team because the way we run the ball and now I got a year of experience under my belt. Who knows, we might be able to play a little better and then teams will really be in trouble if we have the same kind of defense as last year. I think the nerves kind of went away when Rex talked to us and told us and that was all we thought about.
BW : What was the favorite game of your career so far?
MS : The highlights have to be my first start at SC at home against Arizona. I loved that game. Also the Rose Bowl my last year. My first game as a Jet against Houston was pretty good. I guess the San Diego [playoff] game. It felt like I was on a home team. We had a hundred plus people there. I had twenty of my best friends in a box next to Adam Sandler. It was great because he is a huge Jet fan. So he had a suite right next to theirs. My best friend Scott was going crazy the whole game.
San Diego had to have been cool and at Cincinnati. That was weird because I have never watched the other team's offense. Even if we're playing Brady or Manning, you don't really get a chance to watch the other team's offense. But when we played Carson, I made sure I got to watch him a little bit. It was pretty cool.
BW : What didn't you achieve in your college career that you wanted to?
MS : Maybe a National Championship, but other then that I never grew up dreaming about winning the Heisman or anything. I felt those individual things come when your team's great, but winning a National Championship would've been nice.
We came so close we just lost to Oregon State. That was a team we could've beat. After the way we played against Penn State, I think we could've beaten Florida or whoever played in the National Championship that year. I don't know if they would want to have played SC.
BW : What celebrity that you haven't met do you want to meet the most?
MS : I don't know. I have met quite a few being in New York. I'm big in the athletes. I love meeting other athletes. Guys that I have gotten to know are Joba Chamberlain [Former TKOSB Interview], CC Sabathia, A-Rod, and Jeter.
You come to New York and you want to meet all of the superstars there and hang with them and talk to them and ask them questions and learn. They have all been so open to helping me and giving me pointers and tips: to protect myself and be smart. That's hard!
Thank you to Mark and his brother and agent, Nick, for helping with this interview. Thanks for tweeting my blog out. Mark has organized a suite at the new stadium for every reader of this post. Just kidding!