Frank Doyle is intrigued by a showdown of the Showtime quarterbacks, Tony Romo and Mark Sanchez, when Dallas visits the New York Jets on Sunday night!
Quarterback has always been the glamour position. Very few homecoming queens date the right guard on the high school football team.
It’ll be intense in the Meadowlands when the Dallas Cowboys, “America’s Team,” visits the New York Jets on the night of the tenth anniversary of 9/11, and much of the game attention will focus on the glamor boy quarterbacks of both teams – Tony Romo of the Cowboys, and the Jets’ Mark Sanchez.
Tony Romo has been a star since he first took over from Drew Bledsoe in Dallas five years ago. But while Romo is gossip page gold, his status an NFL elite player remains questionable, at best. Romo displays all the gifts in the regular season only to disappear in the playoffs, or earlier.
Sanchez is entirely different. Sanchez can look horribly limited as a quarterback and then, when the pressure is on in the playoffs Sanchez steps up and delivers like the US mail.
Trent Dilfer, the former quarterback of the Ravens and now an analyst for ESPN, thinks it’s to do with the intangibles of the quarterback position – that being a leader of men is more important than throwing the perfect spiral through a tire hanging from a goalpost.
The quarterback matchup just one of the things that makes the first Sunday night game so intriguing. The NFL odds rate the Cowboys as a five point underdog, and the over/under is set at 40.5.
All the steam has been coming down for the Jets. The Cowboys have been disappointing – to say the least – in recent years, while the Jets have contested the last two AFC Championship Games. The Jets’ head coach Rex Ryan is a man who isn’t shy about saying what he thinks, but then the Jets come along and cash the checks that Ryan’s mouth wrote.
It’s about defense for the Jets of course, but the Cowboys haven’t been idle after their bitterly disappointing season last year. Jerry Jones has hired Rob Ryan, twin brother of the Jets’ head coach Rex, to co-ordinate the Cowboys defense. Everybody beat on the Cowboy D last year but the talent is still there if Rob Ryan can get the players to perform.
All the signs are that the game at the Meadowlands will be a little more blue-collar than the images of Tony Romo and Mark Sanchez would suggest. Both teams have marquee wide receivers in the Cowboys’ Dez Bryant and the Jets’ controversial Plaxico Burress but chances are both Romo and Sanchez will spend more time running from the pass rush than they’ve spent all year running from the paparazzi. This will make who is running the deep route something of a moot point. Sunday night at the Meadowlands will be one of those games won by the team that can endure the most, rather than inflict the most. Just like football ought to be.