Giants. Jets. Yankees. Mets. Knicks. Nets. Rangers. Devils. Islanders.
A few weeks ago I described the New York sports scene as a “baron, ever-expanding wasteland of embarrassment.”
“Our monuments to sporting glory are little more than rubble, now,” I wrote. “Left in ruin thanks to butt-fumbles and injuries and a winless September, and the existence of the New York Mets.”
I didn’t realize how much I’d been low-balling it.
I wrote those words over two months ago, not thinking that it could possibly get worse. But as games continued to be played, I began to learn what Cleveland learned a long while ago: that “rock bottom” is a myth. That even after cashing into bedrock, you can always find away to dig deeper.
That things can always get worse.
- Then: What can I say? They’re 0-4. They don’t have a win yet. They’re winless. They can’t pass, they can’t run, they can’t do anything on special teams, they look like the God damn Jets out there.
- Now: They stretched 0-4 out to 0-6 before stringing off just enough wins to give optimistic New York fans a little bit of hope, before crushing it by becoming the first NFL team to not turnover Tony Romo in the final minutes of a close game before no-showing in back-to-back contests. The 2-time Super Bowl MVP quarterback can’t quarterback – he leads the NFL in interceptions – the defensive line can’t play defensive line, the running backs can’t run, the receivers can’t receive, and for the first time since 2004 the Giants will end with a record under .500. In short – aside from the 2-time Super Bowl MVP quarterback – they look like the God damn Jets.
- Then: The Giants look like the Jets, and the Jets look like the Little Giants before Ice Box strapped it up for the second half. In the history of the NFL there have been but two butt-fumbles. Both belong to the New York Jets. Both have taken place inside a calendar year. I don’t care if the Jaguars are about to be uprooted and wouldn’t cover against a mediocre high school team, the Jets are the worst franchise in sports. The first butt-fumble should have meant contraction. The second should bring Judge Dredd-style banishment for all those involved.
- Now: In hindsight I was perhaps being a touch harsh on New York’s best – by record – NFL squad. They probably weren’t worthy Judge Dredd-style banishment, nor were they the worst franchise in sport. They were pretty awful though, and still have yet to win back-to-back games. Slim playoff hopes still exist, and they’ve likely done enough to save their coach’s job, but the cold, hard truth is that the Jets likely don’t have a quarterback – theirs has been intercepted more times than anyone else in the league, save, of course, for Eli Manning – they’re the worst offensive roster in professional football, and are more likely to relapse into dysfunctional, Tebow running through the rain-style chaos than take a step toward legitimacy. You can’t hide crazy. And between Rex and Santonio and Antonio and a billionaire owner who wears a baseball cap with a suit, you the Jets have too much of it.
- Then: The tearful goodbye to Mariano Rivera and Pettitte’s final start bath in the Fountain of Youth will always color my opinion of this season, and will always keep me from thinking it an abject failure, but the Yankees still missed the playoffs. Does it matter that their entire roster missed entire months at a time or that they played the year largely with Vernon Wells, Travis Hafner and seven guys no one has ever heard of before? Yes. But they still missed the playoffs.
- Now: In an offseason in which the Yankees looked to add pitching and youth while shoring up holes in the infield, they: added a pitcher who was already on the team, lost their best player – an infielder – replaced him with a no-name, and added no youth whatsoever. They are hoarding middle to advanced age outfielders, though.
- Then: We all knew the Mets were going to suck. What we didn’t know is that they’d find a mid-season move to acquire Daisuke Matsuzaka prudent. Or that Matt Harvey – the only thing standing between Mets fans and ritualistic mass suicide – would go down with partially torn ligaments in his pitching arm, but reject the necessary surgery in lieu of a rehab attempt; a certainly forthcoming setback; and, eventually, the surgery he should have had three weeks ago.
- Now: Good news? They added Curtis Granderson. Bad news? They’re now paying $10 million a year to the only player in Major League Baseball who is certain to be suspended for PED use.
- Then: The Knicks just hired, as their General Manager, the guy responsible for the worst era of Knick basketball in the franchise’s history – the Isiah Thomas years.
- Now: Effort problems. Offense problems. Defense problems. Coaching problems. Internal squabbling problems. Injury problems. Nine games under .500 problems. Still fielding a roster with Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith problems. They’re a disaster.
- Then: Not listed.
- Now: Head coach having to explain to an assistant coach that he is the “coach of this motherf*cking team!” problems. Also: standings, injuries, and seven games under .500 problems. They, too, are a disaster.
- Then: Hope springs eternal.
- Now: The coaching change that hoped to return offense to this Rangers team has failed to bring anything but the 1-goal, terrible power play games we were used to – while stripping away, it would seem, the toughness and grit that was their hallmark and introducing unforeseen goaltending issues.
- Then: Not listed.
- Now: There’s a reason they weren’t listed.
- Then: Not listed.
- Now: Like the Devils, there’s a reason the Islanders weren’t listed. Though it’s worth mentioning that the Isles took it a step further and traded off one of their best players less than a month into the season for essentially no return.
At least the Red Bulls made the playoffs.
Author: Joe Bianchino
Joe Bianchino is a writer, producer, and radio host located in upstate New York. He is a life-long New York sport fan, Chelsea supporter, and Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon enthusiast. Follow him on Twitter @JoeBNTS. Email him at Joe@noticketsports.com.