Mark Sanchez thought LaDainian Tomlinson and the Chargers would’ve been a cool Super Bowl opponent for the Jets back in the day.
Yes — you read that right.
During his rookie season, the former quarterback didn’t understand how NFL conferences worked. He recently admitted on The Official Jets Podcast he thought the Chargers would make a “crazy” opponent for that year’s Big Game.
His teammates shook their heads, and rightfully so.
Ex-#Jets QB Mark Sanchez (@Mark_Sanchez) admitted he didn’t know how #NFL divisions worked back in 2009, ‘so I said that’d be so crazy to play the @chargers in the #SuperBowl & @M_Brunell8, @KevOC7 are like you idiot’ ? ‘you dumb ass, we are in the AFC’: ? @nyjets @eallenjets pic.twitter.com/16BLSTxSZX
— Paul Andrew Esden Jr (@BoyGreen25) June 7, 2022
“I was so green, I remember — and I don’t know if I’ve ever admitted this — I didn’t know the divisions. I knew our division, obviously, because of the teams we were going to play. But I didn’t know how it was broken down. So I said, “that’d be so crazy to play the Chargers in the Super Bowl.” Because I grew up watching the Chargers.
“And [backup quarterbacks Mark] Brunell and Kevin O’Connell were like “You idiot…come on dude, we can’t play the Chargers.” And I was like “Why not? Are they not going to make it?” “You dumbass…we’re in the AFC.” And I was like “Okay…so explain that again?” So yeah, it was a learning experience, to say the least.”
The Jets did eventually get to face the Chargers in that postseason but only as early as the AFC Divisional Round. Their victory over the then-San Diego squad continued a playoff run that concluded with an AFC Championship loss to the Colts a week later.
Sanchez isn’t the only NFL player to admit to a lack of knowledge regarding the league. There have been players — including, most recently, Steelers running back Najee Harris — who have admitted to not realizing ties existed in the NFL. Other players have admitted to not having followed the league until later in their adolescent years. Giants wide receiver Kadarius Toney noted last season he didn’t start watching football until his collegiate days at Florida.
Surprising admissions, indeed. But not everyone grew up watching the same channels or had their eyes glued to SportsCenter in the morning before school.