The season began for Mark Sanchez with Tim Tebow breathing down his neck. Near the end, Sanchez was benched for the team's third-string quarterback. In between he was booed and ridiculed during a campaign that saw him throw 13 touchdowns and 18 interceptions and “lead” a lethargic offense.
But it might be time to give Sanchez another chance. As history shows, if New York got rid of every quarterback with poor numbers during his first four seasons, there'd be less Lombardi Trophies in town.
There are 17 quarterbacks in NFL history that have made at least 50 starts while posting a completion percentage under 56 percent during their first four seasons. The durable Sanchez, who was thrown into the fire right away, leads the list with 62 starts (55.1 percent completion percentage). But there are some other notable names:
Of this quarterback quartet, Sanchez has played in the most games, started the most games and has the highest completion percentage through his first four seasons. He's thrown one more interception than touchdown, but that's nothing compared to the nine more interceptions than touchdowns that Namath – a frequent Sanchez critic – threw. Sanchez's passer rating is just 0.2 less than Elway's at the same point in his career.
Of course, not all cases are created equal. Names like Joey Harrington also litter the list. But it might still be too soon to tell if Sanchez is forgettable or fixable.