FLORHAM PARK, N.Y. — New York Jets Head Coach Rex Ryan has tapped rookie quarterback Geno Smith to be the starting scapegoat for their Week 1 game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The move comes on the heels of reports that first string scapegoat Mark Sanchez, who was injured in a pre-season game two weeks ago, will not be healthy enough to start the season.
“This is nothing against Mark,” said Ryan. “We just think that, to start the season, Geno is better equipped to fail as publically as possible, while allowing everyone else in the organization to escape scrutiny.” Ryan also noted that while he appreciated everything Sanchez has done for the Jets, he feels the 26-year-old’s time with the team may have run its course.”
“Fine by me,” said Sanchez, who is guaranteed to make $8.25 million dollars this year. According to the team’s media guide, official Jet scapegoat responsibilities include at least three years of poor performance, and one year of mediocre performance (chosen by the team) in order to make it look realistic. Starting scapegoats receive performance bonuses if fans wear paper bags on their heads or become the subject of derogatory chants.
Smith joins a long list of former Jets scapegoats including – but by no means limited to – Brett Favre, Chad Pennington, Keyshawn Johnson, Rich Kotite, Vinny Testaverde’s ruptured Achillies tendon, and the old Giants Stadium.
“I’d like to thank everyone in the Jets organization for giving me this honor,” said a humbled Smith. “Hopefully, it takes me one step closer toward realizing my dream of playing quarterback for an NFL franchise.”
Jets owner Woody Johnson is reportedly hoping that Smith can keep the mantle of scapegoat until at least the off-season, when it is expected to be transferred to Coach Ryan.