By now, most of us are aware of the New York Daily News’ two covers featuring Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith. Although the dates of publication are years apart, the headline is exactly the same. “A Star is Born.”
In the NFL, winning is all about scoring points. Rule changes of the past decade have weakened the defense’s ability to stop opposing offenses, especially in the passing game. Because of this, as well as a number of other factors, NFL teams have turned to passing the ball as their primary means of moving downfield. The old NFL adage that you must “run the ball and stop the run” no longer holds true, and it’s now the inverse of “pass the ball and stop the pass” that will win games.
Because of such a heavy focus being applied to passing games around the league, we see judgment of young quarterbacks passed down more quickly than ever before. As the two Daily News covers pictured above indicate, Mark Sanchez was anointed as the savior of the Jets before his career ever left the tarmac. Likewise, Geno Smith is now the quarterback that ran Sanchez out of town.
Really, there’s no avoiding such rushes to judgment, especially from established media outlets. In the world of opinion as news, whoever is first to the game wins, and if you’re not first, you’re last. Such rushes to judgment are little more than a byproduct of an industry bent on being heard over anyone else.
So, while the Daily News, ESPN, CBS Sports, et al. debate whether Geno Smith will take the Jets to the promise land, I’ll just be here, analyzing each of his performances. When the season is through, I’ll consider where he started, how far he’s gone, and I may even speculate on his future. That being said, I’m not going to call him a star before he’s a proven star, and he won’t be the savior of the Jets until he’s holding up a trophy.
For now, we’ll just put it this way. Geno Smith has caught a few breaks in his young career, and to date, he’s made the most of those breaks. For now, any statement beyond that is purely speculation.