If Jets starting quarterback Mark Sanchez finds himself a backup next year, he may not be able to say that fans never gave him a chance.
A Quinnipiac University poll released Monday showed both general New York State residents and the state’s football fans were fine with the trade for Tim Tebow, but they strongly felt Sanchez was the best option as the starting quarterback.
Forty-three percent of all respondents said Sanchez should start, against just 16 percent for Tebow. The divide grew even further, with Sanchez picking up 61 percent of voters to Tebow’s 19 percent, when football fans responded to the same question.
"Mark Sanchez is still number one," said Mickey Carroll, Quinnipiac’s poll director.
Ever since the Jets acquired Tebow — whose wild level of popularity helped draw 15,000 people to hear him speak at a Texas Easter service Sunday — there has been nonstop speculation that his rabid fan base might later pressure the organization into giving him a chance to become the starter.
Team officials have been clear that they view Tebow as a backup, but the team’s general manager, Mike Tannenbaum, set off a firestorm on fan message boards when he said Tebow could see more playing time if Sanchez and the rest of the team’s offense needs a spark.
The Jets have said they think Tebow, whose unrefined passing skills make him more of a threat with his feet than his arm at times, as a perfect Wildcat quarterback. The Wildcat is a rare offensive formation in which a player — normally a running back — takes the snap and has the option of either running or throwing the ball.
While Tebow was not the choice of the respondents, he did garner decent favorability ratings.
New Yorkers approved of the trade for Tebow, 42 percent to 15 percent, and approve of Tebow generally, 44 percent to 11 percent. Among Empire State football fans, 56 percent approved of the trade and 60 percent say they have a positive impression of the 24-year-old quarterback.