Mark Sanchez led the Jets to the AFC title game in each of his first two seasons. After a 10-year NFL career, Sanchez is a college football analyst for ESPN.
We caught up with Sanchez for this week’s Friday Five…
Who is your biggest mentor?
Probably my dad. Watching him as a firefighter, the way he took a leadership role as a captain. The way I saw his crew respect him, how much he demanded out of those guys, praised them when they did well, deferred a lot of his own praise and accolades to them. He showed me a lot about leadership and what that looks like, and that’s something I tried to emulate as a football player. Naturally at the quarterback position you’re a leader on the team. You get people from all different backgrounds and you have the shared struggle of trying to accomplish a goal. That’s very similar – obviously not life and death like his work, but a lot of parallels that really helped me.
What is your biggest pet peeve?
What is your favorite book?
The Giving Tree. Great, great book, and I read that to my boy. And, There Was a Coyote Who Swallowed a Flea. That one’s hilarious!
If you could have dinner with any three people in history, who would they be?
Kobe Bryant’s got to be one of them. Also Genghis Khan and Hannibal. I feel like they’re the same kind of mindset as Kobe. Kobe did it through basketball. Those guys did it through warfare and combat. Guys who have accomplished improbable, nearly impossible feats. For Hannibal to defeat Rome… I was listening to a podcast that my brother told me about recently about Genghis Khan. In a time of respect and power and physical combat, he was the most respected and most revered of all the badasses. And he wasn’t the biggest, strongest guy. But to get people to follow him… it wasn’t just the brawn but the brains – sending out misinformation and using psychological warfare. It was impressive.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Keep working hard. It all works out, just not quite as you had imagined… but better.
Check out all of our Friday Five features — including Troy Aikman, Adam Schefter, Andrea Kremer and more — in the Friday Five archive.