[NOT] BUFFALO, NY – After dry-heaving through piss-pot performances by the Giants and Jets, it doesn’t take a shaman to see that our New York City (sort of) football teams are in a sorry state. With the Mets wrapping up another swing-n-miss season and the Yankees stumbling into the playoffs like Short Matt trying to get one more drink before last call, I’m pondering The State of New York Sports. With apologies to the Bills, we’re looking at teams considered local to NYC. Here’s how I would rank the nine teams, in order of dimmest to brightest.
9. New York Knicks
The NBA formula seems to be two star players that are not too similar and role players who know their roles. When you have a superstar like LeBron James (not to mention Anthony Davis) the role players fall into place. Suddenly Rajon Rondo and Dwight Howard are viable contributors again.
Well, the Knicks have no such player and haven’t for a long time. Steph Curry was taken one pick ahead of their spot. Jamal Murray was taken with a pick the Nuggets got from the Knicks in the Melo deal. Porzingis was the closest thing they’ve had recently, but he is more suited to be a second fiddle, if he can even stay on the court. RJ Barrett’s ceiling would probably be a #3 scorer on a decent team. The front office and coaching staffs have been a veggie shish kabob of tastelessness and poor choices. And there’s James Dolan.
There is no light at the end of the tunnel for this franchise.
8. NY Jets
The Jets chose to keep Adam Gase over their GM, Mike Maccagnan. Unless Maccagnan was skeet shooting blind puppies on the 50-yard line, that was a poor choice. Gase couldn’t get my dog Chief to fetch a tennis ball made out of steak.
Darnold does not look good, but it’s hard to blame him too much for Sunday’s debacle. The skill players on that team would have trouble walking on at Alabama. Their bargain hunting approach to WRs has hurt Sam’s development. If that’s not enough, they had to trade Jamal Adams because of his disdain for Gase. At least they got two first rounders.
They should clean house and let a new group make those picks.
7. NY Giants
I’m still hopeful Gettleman’s last draft was a good one. If McKinney and the two tackles work out, TBD, it could. Couldn’t it? But there’s not a ton of picks to like in his other drafts. Even if you love Saquon, it was the wrong pick at the time. The list of blunders is getting long. I started to list some but it’s too depressing.
The Giants got blown out by a team that was missing its QB and literally their four best skill players. Oh yeah, and several guys on defense too, including their two best defenders.
As with Darnold, it’s not all Danny’s fault. He has zero running game to lean on and the pass protection is still a work in progress. It’s hard to keep drives moving when you’re constantly at 3rd and 8. But he’s still making the same mistakes. Devonta Freeman took less money to play here. I’m sorry, what? Did he see the first two games?
All you needed to see on Sunday was a 4th and 1 where the Giants tried a sneak behind brand new center Gates, who played tackle until the other day. Gates was predictably shoved ass-first into Jones, who did nicely to spin and nearly get the first down. Not a wise call.
I hope against hope that it could still come together but it does not look good.
6. New York Mets
Brodie V Dubs is like a poker player who can’t stop playing bad hands. He calls all bets hoping for a miracle on the river. No Brodie, in baseball, every hand is not a winner. This guy makes Gettleman look like George Young. Failure to honestly evaluate your roster is not a good quality in a GM. He keeps buying when he should be selling and the Cano trade will haunt them for years. The Mets have a few star young players, but not nearly enough. Everyone knew the system was in need of a prospects influx except him.
On the bright side, they do have a gazillionaire new owner in Steve Cohen. When the league is worried that your owner might spend too much, you have your guy.
5. NJ Devils
They have young stars Nico Hischier and Jack Hughes and some useful pieces here and there. But as last year’s Blues and this year’s Lightning have reminded us, you need a lot of good hockey players to win a Cup. The Devils have actually had more draft lottery luck than the Rangers, with the #1 pick in 2017 and 2019. They got some young players and picks in the Taylor Hall trade but they have several needs and still probably need to find their goalie.
This team seems destined to be in the middle of this list for years to come.
4, Brooklyn Nets
A couple of poorly timed injuries prevented this team from possibly making some noise in the playoffs. And they’ve got this guy called Kevin Durant coming on board next season. If he’s back to full health and can co-exist with Kyrie, this could be a team to be reckoned with in the East.
There could be some good years in their future.
3. New York Islanders
Matthew Barzal is a world class player with skills to rival anyone. But he’s an RFA and the Islanders will have to spend big to keep him. They have a lot of good but not great players behind him. Quick, who is the Islanders second best player?
This team’s success seems largely a result of systems and coaching. They have quality depth, but I reckon they would take a big step back without Trotz.
This is a good team that could really use a finisher.
2. New York Yankees
The Yanks played some horrible baseball down the stretch. Poor defense and no homers is not a formula for playoff success. They were a Blue Jays win away from dropping down to the 8th seed and a match-up with the Rays, who have owned them.
Still, they still have the horses and a first round draw with Cleveland is not bad. But Cole had better out-duel Bieber or it will likely be a quick exit. The no days off hurts them I think because Cole will pitch less and they’ll have to go a lot deeper into a bullpen that is not that deep anymore. A lot while have to go right.
There is still plenty of young talent in the system, and if Severino and German come back strong, the pitching staff can still be dominant. Deivi Garcia looks good and will still be a rookie next year. Stanton looks like dead weight and Sanchez may not work out.
It’s unlikely to happen this season, but the future is still bright.
1. New York Rangers
I was always looking at the year after next as the year the Rangers could really become a contender. Hank, Staal, and Smith would be off the books, several young players would have some experience, and they would have the cap room to fill in any holes. Well, with the surprise trade of Marc Staal and the possible buyout/trade of Henrik, things could be happening sooner. Phenom Alexis Lafreniere will be on board and the have another first round pick. With a wealth of young talent, this could be a fun year.
They still have holes at Center and at Left D, particularly if K’Andre Miller is not ready for big minutes. (Dude is really forking K’excited about Miller). But look for them to add some veteran depth in those two spots without committing to a huge long-term deal. Former Captain Ryan McDonagh and buyout bust Kevin Shattenkirk hoisted the Cup last night.
The sky is the limit with this group and Igor in goal.
That’s it for me. Tell me how you would have ordered them. And come back tomorrow for a guy who’s always out of order, Angry Ward. Follow us on Twitter at @BenWhit8, @MeetTheMatts, @Matt_McCarthy00, Instagram @MeetTheMatts and like our Facebook page, Meet The Matts