When Mark Sanchez signed with the Philadelphia Eagles in late March, it was thought (and hoped) that the door would finally be closed on the "Butt Fumble." Not so fast.
Jake Hendrickson was on the NFL auctions website last week, scouring the items put up for bid on the New York Jets' portal. He stumbled across a game-worn jersey for former Jets quarterback Sanchez, dated as worn on Nov. 22, 2012. He stared at it for a minute, blinked twice, and then quickly consulted the Jets' schedule from that year. Yes, it was the same No. 6 jersey that Sanchez wore during the infamous "Butt Fumble" game.
The moment, in which Sanchez runs into the backside of right guard Brandon Moore and then fumbles, which was returned by the Patriots for a touchdown, was the No. 1 spot on ESPN "SportsCenter’s" “Not Top 10: Worst of the Worst” for a record 40 straight weeks. It's one of the most famous bloopers in NFL history. And Hendrickson had a chance to own Sanchez's jersey from it.
“The second I realized what it was I knew I had to have it," Hendrickson said. "Almost for macabre reasons; the amount of ridicule I have received from friends regarding that play and me being a diehard Jets fan out in California especially. There's no way I could let it get in the hands of an anti-fan or something of that manner to be shoved in our face.
"The auction itself had like five days left on it before it closed so basically I set an alarm on my calendar to remind me an hour before so I could be at my computer. I was prepared for an all-out bidding war. There were a couple other people I was bidding against but it being the offseason I don’t think there were many people looking for football memorabilia so it didn’t go nearly as high as I had anticipated. Plus every time someone would outbid me by $5 or $10 I was raising by a hundred bucks just to show I meant businesses.”
Hendrickson didn’t drop the ball on his bid, winning the jersey. The cost? $820.
He bought his first jersey in 1997, a Wayne Chrebet No. 80 purchased with money he saved up working summer jobs. He’s a long-suffering Jets fan (is there any other kind?) who first became a fan in 1996 during a 1-15 season. Yes, that was the Rich Kotite season.
The "Butt Fumble" jersey was bought, Hendrickson says, so that it won’t suffer any more indignity – the Jets logo is still on that jersey and the purchase was done to save the franchise further disgrace. But he might just be open to doing something with it if and when the Jets make the Super Bowl again someday.
“For now I’ll probably just frame it up real nice and put it on my wall,” Hendrickson said. “Until we win a Super Bowl or I can get together enough money to put it on a rocket ship and shoot it to outer space because I don’t think it belongs on this planet anymore."
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Kristian R. Dyer writes for Metro New York and is a contributor to Yahoo! Sports. Follow him on Twitter @KristianRDyer
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