This Week Is the Three-Year Anniversary of the Butt Fumble
Sometimes a single play can define an athlete’s career. Unfortunately for former New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez, he’ll always be remembered for running into the derriere of offensive lineman Brandon Moore on Thanksgiving night.
On November 22, 2012, the Jets visited Foxboro to take on the Patriots, looking for a big win to turn their floundering season around. In the not-too-distant past, that notion wouldn’t have been so far-fetched. Just two seasons prior, the Jets defeated the Pats at Gillette Stadium in the divisional round of the playoffs. Suffice to say, this game went very differently.
The Patriots demolished the Jets 49-19, but the most embarrassing part of the evening for the Gang Green wasn’t the final score. It was towards the end of the first half, when Sanchez took the snap and inexplicably made a beeline towards Moore’s rear end. He coughed up the football, which safety Steven Gregory scooped up for a 32-yard touchdown return.
The play didn’t just reflect poorly on Sanchez, but on the Jets’ entire operation. It’s a symbol for the dysfunction and laughable ineptitude that plagued the final years of the Rex Ryan era in the Meadowlands.
As fate would have it, Ryan’s Buffalo Bills are slated to take on the Patriots at Gillette Stadium Monday night, almost exactly three years after the infamous Butt Fumble. Unlike the 2012 Jets, the 5-4 Bills are fighting for a playoff spot, but the Patriots have dominated them over the last 15 seasons. New England is 26-3 vs. Buffalo since 2001.
In the lead-up to Monday night’s matchup, the bombastic Ryan has predictably done a lot of talking. But his target hasn’t been Bill Belichick or Tom Brady. It’s been the Boston sports media. On a conference call with Boston reporters Thursday, Ryan snapped when he was asked if he’s obsessed with the Patriots.
“The only reason I talk about them is because they’re the No. 1 team in our division—that’s where we want to be,” said Ryan. “I know you guys always say that I’m obsessed with them and all that. You guys are obsessed with them. Not me. You’re the ones that talk about them every single day.”
Ryan went on to tell a reporter to “do his homework” when he was asked whether Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor has improved since Week 2, the last time these two teams met. On Sunday, Ryan called into the NFL Network and said the Patriots media showed Taylor “disrespect.”
It’s unlikely anything quite as humiliating as the Butt Fumble will happen to Taylor Monday night. But if it does, the supposed disrespect levied at him last week will look quaint. Just ask Sanchez, who will probably never live that play down.