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Did the Jets Pull Out of Draft Day Because of Mark Sanchez?

geno smith and mark sanchez

Draft Day, Kevin Costner’s NFL-approved opus opened in American theaters over the weekend, piling up $9.75 million in ticket sales and a No. 3 spot at the box office. Earlier this month stories emerged that the NFL nixed a scene where Costner’s character, the fictional Browns’ general manager, would be burned in effigy by angry fans.

It also looks like the Jets pulled out of a prominent role in the movie during the production, via a report in the Los Angeles Times. New York — the fictional version — was supposed to have the No. 1 pick in the movie and trade the pick to Costner’s character. From what I’ve read about the movie — i.e. Ty Duffy’s glowing review — it sounds like there are about eight trades in the first round and it hurt my brain trying to process it. Turns out this plot point was a little too close for comfort for the Jets, who picked Geno Smith as an apparent replacement for Mark Sanchez during filming.

This sounds like classic Jets paranoia. Here’s director Ivan Reitman’s explanation:

“They were having something of a quarterback dispute, and the team said that this is just going to incite our fans a little more to criticize us, even though it’s all fictional,” Reitman said.

If I’m reading this right, the Jets were afraid they’d catch heat from their fans … for a fictional movie released four months after the season? That definitely shows a lot of faith in the fanbase that management doesn’t think they’d be able to differentiate between fiction and non-fiction. Another pro tip: Jets fans who attend the draft in May are going to boo the team’s pick regardless of what happens in a movie.

The production switched out the Jets for the Seahawks.

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