Ahh, New York City. The Big Apple. The city that never sleeps. The Empire State. Is New York the ‘Empire State’ when it comes to sports? Not anymore. Sure, the evil empire Yankees are still around and winning at a high level, but even they haven’t won a championship since 2009 (2000, 1999, 1998, 1996 & many more before that). Although, who knows what might have happened if the Astros or Red Sox weren’t cheating in 2017, 2018 (and possibly 2019), but let’s stick to what we do know. Even an organization as prestigious as the Yankees haven’t added to their 27 championships in over a decade. What’s going on, New York? I thought you were supposed to be ‘the greatest city in the world?’
It would appear that every New York sports team is rebuilding – and has been for quite some time. The last NY team to win a championship was the New York Giants in 2011 (2007, 1990 & 1986 before that). Which other team was even close? Well, the Mets made it to the World Series back in 2015, but lost. They haven’t won since 1986 (1969 before that). What about the ‘mecca of basketball,’ Madison Square Garden? How about those Knickerbockers? Maybe we shouldn’t go there. It’s been a rough go of it lately for the Knicks, who have basically become the laughing stock of the NBA. They made the playoffs back in 2013, and a few other times a few years prior, but never were really much of a threat in the East. The Knicks haven’t been to the NBA Finals since 2000, and haven’t won the Finals since 1973 (1970 before that). What about the other team that plays in that building, the New York Rangers? They had a nice run of sustained success with Henrik Lundqvist in goal, reaching the Finals once in 2014 and making deep playoff runs during that span, but haven’t hoisted the Stanley Cup since 1994 (1940, 1933 & 1928 before that). What about the other NHL team that plays in New York? The Islanders have made the playoffs here and there (made it to the 2nd round just last season), but haven’t won the Stanley Cup Finals since they won it four consecutive years (1980, 1981, 1982 & 1983). Then of course there’s the New York Jets, who also have sporadically made the playoffs, but have only won the Super Bowl once, back in 1969.
So what’s going on with New York sports? Sure, they’ve had their share of championships, which not every organization gets to claim. But it really does seem like all New York teams are in a constant cycle of rebuilding as of late. So where do these mighty Empire State teams stand now? Well, the Yankees are favorites to go to the World Series this season, and finally got their hands on the pitching ace they’ve been missing in Gerrit Cole (although the news about Severino was certainly troubling, but they already showed they can be great without his services). The Mets fell just short of making the playoffs in 2019, but seem to have the talent to get there this year, and a pitching staff that can certainly make noise if they do in fact get there, led by back-to-back Cy Young winner Jacob DeGrom. The hockey teams both seem to be in good hands. The Islanders finally have great organizational structure, with GM Lou Lamoriello and Coach Barry Trotz, and a young star in Mat Barzal. The Rangers have a very talented young team, with a great young goalie and they just inked their star Chris Kreider to a 7 year extension (to go along with recently signed star Artemi Panarin), and the Rangers have been a notoriously well-run organization for a long time. The football teams leave a little to be desired, but at least both seem to be set for a long time at the quarterback position, with the Jets led by Sam Darnold and Giants led by Daniel Jones.
As for basketball, New York has only the Brooklyn Nets to look forward to. This team has a good core of young players, they just really are waiting to get a full season with free agent star signings Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. As for the Knicks? To quote the great Dr. Evil, “rrrrriiiiiiiiight…” Let’s hope for their sake the recent front office hires pan out, so they can finally convince some stars to sign with the struggling organization. Will New York return to glory in this new decade? Only one way to find out, folks. You’re just going to have to wait and see!