Mark Sanchez dormant: Flagging a Thanksgiving-night Jets humiliation

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Today's tabloids, Nov. 23, 2012. ()
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Each day, the New York tabloids vie to sell readers at the newsstands on outrageous headlines, dramatic photography, and, occasionally, great reporting. Who is today's winner?

THE BUTT OF YOUR JOKES: "You can't blame it all on one guy," New York Jets coach Rex Ryan told reporters after last night's mortifying loss to the New England Patriots. And in fact, Mark Sanchez's epic fumble—forgetting which way to turn to give the ball to Rex Hilliard, then improvising a run directly into Brandon Moore's backside, then falling down and fumbling for a Patriots defender to pick up and run for a touchdown—was only the most pathetically theatrical moment in a second quarter that saw the Jets lose the game decisively over the course of about 52 seconds.

To the extent that anyone bothered to suggest solutions, Ryan admitted to reporters that a quarterback change was one that had occurred to him. But he said that "Mark does give us the best chance to win" still.

The other option, using more of Tim Tebow, is probably out of the question in the short term given his broken ribs. Also, Sanchez may be a lost cause, but as our Greg Hanlon explained, turning the team over to Tebow would be throwing the remainder of the season in the garbage for the rest of the offense, too.

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The Post could have picked through pages of coverage to adapt the spin from Brian Costello's column as its controlling front-page narrative, which would have given the page a nice sort of specificity. Instead they just go for a nice broad seasonal insult. "TURKEYS!" reads the yellow text across a picture of some random tackle from the game that wasn't particularly embarrassing.

It's not like they lacked humiliating imagery to choose from. Look at the back page today: "BUTT UGLY" reads the text; Sanchez is on the ground, his butt facing us, and not far off, the butt that he butted up against.

The News was even less ambitious on this score, though: "Jets lay an egg" reads some yellow text in a tiny box with random headshots of Ryan and Sanchez. (It's Thanksgiving, not Easter.)

NO THANKS FOR SANDY: Not to be a Scrooge, but really: How useful is it at this point to keep writing about people eating turkey in soup kitchens, grateful for what they have, while for others, this was no time to celebrate? Bless these storm victims, and the volunteers who are feeding them. But is today really the last day, or do two days of this story leading into Thanksgiving presage two more days leading out? Can't we just make them up in our heads?

Of course the News has some reason to milk the theme today. Their own fund-raising for Sandy has netted $400,000 in addition to seed money of $100,000 put up by the paper. This results in a total of "$500G," as the headline proclaims in giant red letters. "THANKS!" reads the white text beneath. "Readers' amazing response helps victims of storm."

Amazing is just a little bit stronger than I'd have put it, but all charity around Thanksgiving and relating to victims of natural disasters require this sort of hyperbole, and so sure, I am totally, completely amazed. There's this awkward symbol they've adopted; it's sort of a meteorological hurricane symbol with a picture of random Sandy devastation and an American flag that reads "DAILY NEWS APPEAL." And they're recycled that picture of Gersh Kuntzman hugging a nice looking lady, presumably a "SANDY VICTIM," sitting on the back fender of a Daily News truck.

Let's just get this out of the way quick: It was also necessary for the News to put the Thanksgiving Day parade on the front page again. The new Papa Smurf float is pictured with the words "Smurf's up."

DUFFEL BAG MAN: The News' all-transactional approach to its front page is a little bit surprising given that there is such a big development in a case they have been more ambitious about than the Post so far. A suspect has been nabbed in the series of Brooklyn murders targeting shopkeepers, and yesterday, police say, he confessed—though he believed he was confessing to a C.I.A. operative.

I think we can stop scratching our heads now, guys. Freelance clothing salesman Salvatore Perrone is now saying he did not confess, but it looks like his goose is cooked (Christmas is coming!). There's lots of strange stuff going on here: His weird perpetually unfinished house on Staten Island that neighbors say has weird doors; his muttering and cigar-smoking in the street; his young girlfriend, with whom he went out dancing less than two hours after the last victim of this crime spree was believed to have been murdered. And that's how we get "DANCE OF DEATH."

The close-up picture of the guy doesn't exactly conjure up images of a dance-floor demon. A balding guy with a big floppy comb-over in his 60s who likely believes he is murdering shopkeepers in order to set in motion a chain of geopolitical events that would help bring about world peace (that was one explanation vaguely referenced in the article), he's an unlikely cover star. And this picture of him looking into the camera doesn't quite inspire that "EYES OF A KILLER" treatment that some, like Jared Lee Loughner, have seemed so perfect for. It's most of the page.

OBSERVATIONS: Well, what do we want today, anyway? News? Probably not. It's just not an important day at the newsstand. Still, and allowing for the fact that my holiday crabbiness may be clouding my judgment, it's nice if I'm gonna be bothered to pick up your newspaper at all if you at least pretend to be giving me a regular daily newspaper instead of a giant public-relations maneuver.

Winner: New York Post.