At 23, Sanchez is earning his teammates' respect as a leader with his improved performance on the field. The patience he showed on a rollout two-yard touchdown pass to tight end Dustin Keller—roll, roll, slower, slower, wait for Keller to get open by a sliver while avoiding pressure, then throw—was the kind of smart, fearless play Sanchez has been making consistently for the last month.
And at 47, Ryan is proving to be the right coach in the right place. During a team meeting on Jan. 5, he revealed the Jets' itinerary through Tuesday, Feb. 9, two days after the Super Bowl: PARADE, the players read. "We thought he was crazy," guard Brandon Moore says. "But Rex was saying, You're this close to going down the Canyon of Heroes [site of ticker-tape parades in Manhattan]. Let's do it."