Tom Brady had a slightly better career than Mark Sanchez, but there was that one day in 2011 when Sanchez and the New York Jets got the better of Brady and the Patriots.
January 16, 2011. It is a day New York Jets fans will never forget and one of the few to forget for the retiring GOAT, Tom Brady who finished his career 35-12 in the playoffs including one loss to the New York Jets and Mark Sanchez.
Brady was in his 11th year in the NFL in 2011 and had already won three Super Bowl championships. The Patriots finished the season 14-2, once again holding the best record in the NFL. One of the two losses was to the New York Jets in week 2, 28-14. The Pats avenged that loss in overwhelming fashion nine weeks later on Monday Night Football, 45-3.
Mark Sanchez remembers Jets head coach Rex Ryan holding a ceremony after the debacle so the then 9-3 Jets could move on from the blowout loss.
“Rex buried the actual football,” Sanchez told FanSided and the Stacking the Box podcast. “He dug a hole with a shovel put the ball in the hole covered it and said we are not talking about that anymore. Are we clear? Let’s move on.”
No one was probably happier to move on with the football buried forever than Sanchez who had thrown three interceptions without a touchdown pass. The Jets finished the regular season 11-5 and beat the Peyton Manning Indianapolis Colts on the road in the Wild Card round 17-16.
Nick Folk kicked a game-winning 32-yard field goal with Sanchez mounting a late drive with 53 seconds to play with the Jets down two. The Colts had beaten the Jets in the AFC championship game the week prior.
Now it was on to New England.
Beating Tom Brady and the New England Patriots is a cherished memory for Mark Sanchez and Jets fans
The week leading up to the game was filled with trash talk from both sides after a video leaked that showed Jets head coach Rex Ryan and his wife having a sexual conversation involving feet.
“I do remember Wes Welker having that really funny soundbite talking about feet and toes and you gotta toe the line, it’s a game of inches and feet,” Sanchez said. ”
Bill Belichick was not amused by his wide receiver benching Welker for the first offensive series. Ryan handled the issue head-on with his players.
“Just straight up,” Sanchez said Ryan told the team. “Here is what it is. My wife and I are in a movie about it (feet). And uh, thats pretty much it.”
Perhaps the Jets appreciated Ryan’s honesty and used it for a little extra motivation to quiet New England who had won 8 in a row. They picked Brady off once, special teams stopped a fake punt and Sanchez threw three touchdown passes including one to Santonio Holmes in the 4th quarter.
Jets win, 28-21.
“It was the best complimentary football I’ve seen that team play,” Sanchez said. “Our defense was lights out, our special teams gave us great field position, and then Santonio with that amazing catch in the back of the end zone.”
Their season ended in the AFC Championship Game for the second straight season. Pittsburgh would represent the AFC in the Super Bowl and lose to Green Bay. The Jets have not made the playoffs since and have finished over .500 one time.
But on one beautiful late Sunday evening, Sanchez and the New York Jets got the best of Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and all of New England.
Mark Sanchez has teamed up with Papa Johns to celebrate its new New York-style pizza. Through February 16, 2022, fans can share their pizza-eating style on Twitter or Instagram with #whatsyourstyle #sweepstakes for a chance to win free pizza for a year.