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A funny thing about growing up with parents ceaselessly devoted to the music they like:  after a certain point, the idea of a “soundtrack” to growing up dissipates, and you’re left with a pastiche of sounds that, without warning, can trigger any number of nostalgic thoughts years, even decades, later. You didn’t ask for this, but it’s what you got. You live with it, and eventually, hopefully, you become grateful for it.

Along with a handful of other artists, I don’t remember the first time I ever heard Tom Petty because he was always just there. Not to make an assumption on your behalf, dear reader, but I’ve got a feeling that, unlike most of the rest of them for me[1], you likely don’t remember the first time you heard Petty either. He’s always been there, for all of us, which made it all the more devastating when word officially came down late Monday night that Petty had passed away at the age of 66.

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Courtesy of media.nj.com.

Courtesy of media.nj.com.

With this week’s conflicting reports of quarterback Mark Sanchez either being out for the season or, at the very least, being out for the foreseeable future, many Jets fans, myself included, have come to the conclusion that the rollercoaster of Sanchez’s time on the Jets has, for all intents and purposes, come to an end. What began with relatively high hopes and two straight AFC Championship Game appearances will most likely end with many CBS cutaways to Sanchez on the sidelines in a hat trying to look supportive of his apparent successor, Geno Smith. Flashes of his unkempt hair and seven o’clock shadow during timeouts will constitute the majority of the attention he receives here forth, and the announcers will perceive his happiness as having an inverse correlation with Smith’s success as the season progresses. Sanchez has taken the Jets and their fans to higher highs and seemingly bottomless valleys over the course of the last five years, and now that he seems to be on his way out of the city which had once been so keen to christen him as the long-awaited successor to Joe Namath, it is time to reminisce. Hopefully (I guess? Being a Jets fan is confusing, and not just for the idea of actually being a Jets fan), Sanchez will not make a Willis Reed-like return in the fading weeks of the season to bring the Jets to the brink of the playoffs and then go 5-21 with 4 interceptions and a lost fumble in Week 17. That would render this piece premature and really take some of the fun out of it. And yet, that would be a perfectly Mark Sanchez-with-the-Jets thing to do. In fact, it would simply be a perfect Jets thing to do, as this franchise loves to string its fans along with enough promise to keep the team interesting. Then, just when we think the team is ready to finally strangle the monkey on our back, the team realizes it is still the New York Jets, and we return to mediocrity under the most judgmental media magnifying glass in this country. With all that said, what follows is a look back at Sanchez’s span in New York, as told through the universal language that is pop music. Read More