Draft Day 2009: Sanchez awaits his selection from an NFL team, despite pleas from his former coach at USC, Pete Carroll, that Sanchez wasn’t ready for the NFL. The New York Jets think otherwise, and draft Sanchez fifth overall. He would sign a a five-year contract with the Jets worth $50 million, the most lucrative rookie contract in that team’s history.
POISE LEVEL: Billowing.
Preseason: After taking part in what was dubbed an “open competition” for the quarterback job, Sanchez is named the Week One starter by first-year head coach Rex Ryan. “I think Mark gives us the best opportunity to win,” Ryan told ESPN. “I think that’s what I owe this franchise.”
POISE LEVEL: Opulent.
Week 1: Sanchez completes 18 of 31 passes for 272 yards, one touchdown, and one pick. The Jets beat the Texans in Houston, 24-7. Sanchez wins the praise of the New York media for his quick grasp of the offense.
POISE LEVEL: Gilded.
Week 4: The Jets, now 3-0, travel to New Orleans to play the eventual NFC Champion Saints. Sanchez throws 3 interceptions and the Jets lose, 24-10.
POISE LEVEL: Penurious.
October: Sanchez strains his PCL in a loss against Buffalo. The following week, Sanchez is caught eating a hot dog on the sideline as his Jets shut out the Oakland Raiders.
POISE LEVEL: Parsimonious.
Wild Card Round: Playing the Bengals for the second straight week, Sanchez completes 12 of 15 passes for 182 , one TD, and no picks. He’s only the second rookie quarterback to win a playoff game on the road.
POISE LEVEL: Steadfast.
AFC Championship: Sanchez throws an ill-timed interception late in the game, his only one of the day,
helping the Colts come back from an 11-point deficit to win, 30-17.
POISE LEVEL: Stifled.