Much like last year, Mark Sanchez and the New York Jets fell one game short of reaching the Super Bowl after losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers by a score of 24-19. The loss was a blow to supporters of the New York franchise everywhere. Another likely group disappointed by the Jets loss? No, not Latinos. We’re talking about the higher-ups over at the NFL.
You know what we’re talking about. Ever since Mark Sanchez was picked fifth overall in the 2009 draft, the NFL has made a not so subtle push to make him the Latino face of the league. Don’t believe us? He’s freakin’ everywhere! The Sanchize– we dig the nickname, by the way– appears in ads next to well established quarterbacks like Drew Brees.
But why? Everyone knows that as talented as Sanchez is, he’s not an elite quarterback like Brees, Tom Brady, or Peyton Manning. Yet the league– and the media— insists on painting him as such for the sake of bringing in the Latino eyeballs. They create this narrative that implies that the Hispanic community has largely ignored the sport.
We’ve got news for you, guys. We’ve been watching for a long time. Our dad, a first generation Mexican-American, grew up in Chicago and has been a Bears fan since forever. As for us, we’ve been diehard Dallas Cowboys fans ever since we can remember (chalk it up to growing up Mexican and in Texas). We’re also willing to bet that there’s a huge contingent of Latino fans who root for the Raiders thanks in large part to the team’s 1982 move to Los Angeles, the unofficial Latino capital of the United States.
Listen, we like The Sanchize. We appreciate the fact that his last name ends with the same two letters as ours. His prominence is a testament to a society that’s becoming less and less homogenous by the day. But by plastering his face everywhere, the NFL is inadvertently throwing our ethnicity back at our faces. What’s worse is that they’re doing it with someone who, at this juncture in his career, is a slightly above average quarterback. Hell, he’s not even the best Latino quarterback in the NFL. That honor goes to Tony Romo– full name Antonio Ramiro Romo– whose stats over the last two years are far better than Sanchez’s numbers.
Hopefully, a new wave of fans (Latino or otherwise) will grow up idolizing Sanchez. As for us, we already have our football heros: Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, and Michael Irvin.
Image via ESPN