Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Thanksgiving Game between NFL Cowboys and Eagles Could Become the 1st Chicano Quarterback Bowl

                                     Mark Sanchez, Philadelphia Eagles
                           Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys
Double Header football games have become a lasting tradition on Thanksgiving Day, usually one of the games includes the Detroit Lions and the other includes America’s Team, the Dallas Cowboys. Most wives can be found in the kitchen getting the old bird ready for the center table while the guys are huddled around the new large screen television slurping Budweiser beer to wash down the onion dip and potato chips.

This coming Thanksgiving Day features not just two NFL games but three! The NFL holiday triple-header begins with an early Thanksgiving Day game beginning Thursday, November 27, 2014 at 12:30 PM ET on CBS that pits the Detroit Lions against the Buffalo Bills. The Dallas Cowboys will host the Philadelphia Eagles at 4:30 p.m. ET, airing on Fox, followed by the prime-time game on Thanksgiving night with the Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers beginning at 8:30 PM ET on NBC. 

NFL die hard fans will be looking at the latter two games due to playoff implications; however, many Latinos (especially Mexican American fans), will have their eyes glued to the game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Philadelphia Eagles, not just to see who will take the 1st place lead in the NFC East (Eagles and Cowboys are currently tied for first place, followed by the Giants and the Redskins), but to see who will win the first ever “Chicano Quarterback" battle between the Philadelphia Eagles' Mark Sanchez and the Dallas Cowboys' Tony Romo”

While there have been other Mexican American quarterback standouts going backs as far as the sixties through the nineties (Joe Kapp, Tom Flores, Jim Plunkett and Jeff Garcia) this will be the first time you will see two Chicano quarterbacks going head to head on a major Holiday event that will be seen by most American television viewers. Mark Sanchez and Tony Romo are never in the discussion when speaking about legendary quarterbacks, a la Brady, Manning, Brees or Rodgers. But both have proven to be successful in an arena where Latino quarterbacks are considered a rarity. But they do have great credentials.

Romo is a third-generation Mexican American. His grandfather, Ramiro Romo Sr., emigrated from Múzquiz, Coahuila, Mexico to San Antonio, Texas as an adolescent before settling in Racine, Wis., where he met his wife. According to Wikipedia, Romo was born in San Diego, California while his father Ramiro Romo, Jr. was serving in the United States Navy, and his mother, Joan (Jakubowski) Romo, was a store clerk.[2] His family returned to their home in Burlington, Wisconsin.[3] Romo played baseball as a child and was selected to the Little League All-Star team.[4]

Romo started as quarterback for the Burlington High School Demons beginning as a junior (1996 season). In the 1997 season, Romo and the Demons finished with a 3–6 record, though he earned several honors, including the All-Racine County football team and Wisconsin Football Coaches Association All-State first team honors. Romo also was a starter on the BHS varsity basketball team and also played golf and tennis. Romo graduated from Burlington High in 1998.[5]

Romo attended Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois, where he played for the NCAA Division I-AA Eastern Illinois Panthers football team. As a sophomore in 2000, he ranked second inDivision I-AA in passing efficiency, completing 164 of 278 (59%) passes for 2,583 yards and 27 touchdowns. After the season, he was honored as an All-America honorable mention, an All-Ohio Valley Conference member, and the OVC Player of the Year. As a junior, he led Division I-AA in passing efficiency, completing 138-of-207 passes for 2,068 yards and 21 touchdowns.[6]

On December 19, 2002 Romo was the first player in Eastern Illinois and Ohio Valley Conference history to win the Walter Payton Award, given annually to the top Division I-AA football player. He finished his career holding school and conference records with 85 touchdown passes. Not selected in the 2003 NFL Draft, Romo signed as a free agent with the Dallas Cowboys.

Sanchez was born in Long Beach, California. He is a third generation Mexican American, whose parents were both Mexican American. Raised in he Whittier-Pico Rivera area as a youth, his parents moved to Orange county and raised him under strict rules and training. His father (Nick Sanchez Sr). trained Mark during sessions in their backyard or at the park.[3]Mark, who was attending Santa Margarita High School, joined the football team. During his firstpass attempt as a sophomore, Mark threw a 55-yard touchdown.[3]

Prior to his junior year of high school, Mark transferred to Mission Viejo,[6] where Johnson, who was recognized as a "quarterback guru", having trained professionals like Carson Palmer, was head coach. Under Johnson's tutelage, Mark felt he would have a better opportunity to become a better player.[3] Johnson tutored Mark on the complexities of the position and in two seasons with the team, Mark led the Diablos to a 27–1 record culminating with the California Interscholastic Federation Division II championship in 2004.[3]

Mark was named football player of the year by several major college recruiting services and was considered the top quarterback in the nation upon the conclusion of his high school football career in 2005.[7] In July 2004, Mark announced his commitment to the University of Southern California.[8 At USC, Sanchez was relegated as the backup quarterback during his first three years though he rose to prominence due to his brief appearances on the field in 2007 due to injuries suffered by starting quarterback John David Booty. Sanchez also became popular within the community due to his Mexican-American heritage. Named the starter in 2008, Sanchez led USC to a 12–1 record and won the Rose Bowl against Penn State for which Sanchez was awarded the Most Valuable Player award for his performance on offense.

Although USC coach Pete Carroll and many scouts considered him too inexperienced, Sanchez announced his intention to enter the 2009 NFL Draft. He was selected by the Jets after they traded up with the Cleveland Browns, and was named the starting quarterback prior to the start of the season. Despite a sub par performance, Sanchez led the Jets to the AFC Championship Game, a losing effort to the Indianapolis Colts, becoming the fourth rookie quarterback in NFL history to win his first playoff game and the second to win two playoff games.

 Sanchez had great success after being drafted in the first round by the New York Jets in 2009. He became the fourth rookie quarterback in NFL history to win his first post-season contest, and the second to do so on the road.[60] The others were Shaun King ('99 Bucs), Ben Roethlisberger ('04 Steelers), and Joe Flacco ('08 Ravens).[60] On January 17, 2010, Sanchez, with the help of fellow rookie Shonn Greene, defeated the heavily favored San Diego Chargers 17–14 to attain the Jets' third AFC Championship appearance in franchise history.[61] Sanchez became only the second rookie quarterback to win two consecutive playoff games, behind Joe Flacco.[62] In a rematch of their regular season meeting with the Colts, Sanchez performed well in the first half however, the offense succumbed to the Colts' defense in the second half and the Jets gave up an 11-point lead, losing 30–17.[63] Sanchez was named to Sporting News' All-Rookie team for his performance during the season.
While both Sanchez and Romo have distinguished themselves in the past, their recent struggles have been the subject of much scorn and ridicule by nay saying critics and haughty NFL pundits. Romo, in particular, has been highly criticized for winning only one playoff game for the Cowboys since 2010, and finishing 8 and 8 the last three seasons. However, this year, Romo has energized the Cowboys into first place in the NFC East. Sanchez,who has replaced starting quarterback Nick Foles for the last four games (winning three out of four), was out all of last year due to an injury while playing for the Jets. He was traded last year to the Eagles and studied their system while recuperating from his injuries. 

Nevertheless, both Romo and Sanchez’ careers appear to be on the rise again, after most pundits had virtually written off the two Chicano quarterbacks. However, this particular Thanksgiving Day showcase could catapult one of them to new heights, increasing their team's conference lead and paving the road toward a more successful season. 

After the game, many of those less than enthusiastic pundits maybe eating a little crow along with their turkey, this Thanksgiving; but nationwide, Latinos from the East Coast through Texas and all the way through the Southwest and to the Mexican border, will be rooting for either Sanchez or Romo to win the first ever "Chicano Bowl." 

Who knows? Thursday's winner may go onto win enough games to make it to the “Super Bowl” on February 1st, as well as break those negative naysayers' Pinatas for many years to come.
Joe Ortiz. He is a veteran journalist with over 40 years experience as a radio and television talk show host, radio news reporter, newspaper columnist and blogger.

The Coachella Valley, California native has the distinction of being the first Mexican American in the US to host an English-language talk show on a commercial radio station, beginning in 1971 on KABC-AM in the city of Los Angeles.

He is currently a journalist and free-lance writer for numerous media throughout the nation. He manages several blogs as well as writes on a variety of issues including business, community and public leaders, authors, sports and entertainment personalities, theology and many other significant topics.


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