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Wednesday, October 3, 2012
The curse of GQ

By LZ Granderson
ESPN.com

Brady-Tebow
Tom Brady and Tim Tebow have appeared on the cover of GQ, which is anything but a good omen.

As soon as the New York Jets traded for Tim Tebow, we knew it was just a matter of time before his presence would impact Mark Sanchez's job security.

After the trade, owner Woody Johnson said: "I'm going to be very clear: Mark Sanchez is our starting quarterback. Period." Followed by, "That's it. He's our starting quarterback."

On Monday, Johnson said who starts is up to his coach, Rex Ryan, and that the possibility of Tebow's starting is "a question that's going to be asked more frequently if this progresses."

And by "this," he meant the 34-0 beatdown the Jets suffered at the hands of the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.

To be fair, Johnson did say the loss "wasn't all Mark Sanchez."

He's right.

You see, unfortunately the young man has been cursed. And the sad thing for Jets fans is that Tebow isn't the answer either, because he too has been cursed.

Picture this: Alltel Stadium in Jacksonville, Fla., on Feb. 6, 2005. Red, white and blue confetti is falling from the sky as the New England Patriots celebrate their 24-21 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl XXXIX.

Deion Branch tied a Super Bowl record with 11 catches (for 133 yards) and was named the game's Most Valuable Player. But the undeniable star of the team was its handsome quarterback, Tom Brady. At just 27 years old, Brady had won his third championship in four years, and the sports world was beginning to wonder how many championships he would eventually win.

And because he was "really, really ridiculously good-looking" -- to borrow a quote from Derek Zoolander -- GQ selected him to be on its cover for its NFL preview later that year. Brady had been on the cover before, but it was with Kevin Garnett in 2002 for the magazine's sports issue.

This time the cover was all his ... and he hasn't won a Super Bowl since.

Forget Madden.

Forget SI.

The cover that quarterbacks need to fear most, the curse that has proved to be the deadliest -- at least in terms of Super Bowl wins -- belongs to Gentlemen's Quarterly.

In 2009 and 2010, Sanchez wasn't always brilliant, but in both seasons he led the Jets to within a game of the Super Bowl. He is also tied for second all time for the most road playoff wins by a quarterback.

He doesn't suck.

But unfortunately for him, he too is really, really ridiculously good looking. And because of that, he too graced the cover of GQ, in September 2011.

He hasn't been the same since.

Still not convinced?

Steve Young was all-world after he won Super Bowl XXIX, but then GQ got ahold of him later that year and he never played in another Super Bowl.

Joe Theismann won the Super Bowl in January 1983, was on the cover in November, and ended his career with that one championship.

Hall of Famer Dan Marino led the Dolphins to Super Bowl XIX in January 1985, his good looks got him on the GQ cover in September, and as we all know, he never made it back.

QB Jim Everett led the Rams to the NFC Championship Game on Jan. 14, 1990. In September, Mitch Albom wrote a GQ cover story with the really, really ridiculously good-looking quarterback smiling next to these words: The Future Belongs to Jim Everett.

Dude never played in another playoff game.

I combed through decades and decades of GQ covers, and the only quarterback I could find who won the Super Bowl after being on the cover is Troy Aikman. (He was the cover boy in September 1993; the Cowboys won Super Bowls XXVII and XXX later).

Coincidence? Maybe.

But what in the hell is going on with Cam Newton?

Last year he was Superman, remember? Racking up huge yards and pretending to be ripping off his shirt in the end zone. He was on the GQ cover in September and now we're talking about a sophomore slump. The folks at GQ could not be reached for comment. Apparently, they have really, really ridiculously long meetings there.

All of which brings me back to the Jets and Sanchez and Tebow.

As you may recall, Tebow was also on the GQ cover to preview this season. He said he had no idea he was going to be on the cover, but that doesn't matter. Curses don't need an invitation, they just show up.

Given Tebow's penchant for beating the odds, would it be a total shock if he takes over the starting job and leads the Jets to a few wins here and there? Of course not.

But given that he's been on the GQ cover -- and quarterbacks like Marino, Young and Theismann were unable to break the curse -- what are the chances that Tebow joins Aikman as the only man to do so?

That's why the Jets should have never gotten rid of Drew Stanton as their backup. He may not be great. He may not be really, really ridiculously good-looking in the eyes of GQ. But at least the only thing against him is the team he's facing.

I'm sure when Sanchez put on that green sweater for the GQ cover, he had no idea he was also putting on the curse that came with it. I'm not sure what the QB situation for the Jets is going to look like next season, but if they're thinking of bringing in a new guy, I hope for their sake he's ugly.