Over the past ten years, there have been some highs and definitely plenty of lows for New York sports.
Given that today, Dec. 23rd is of course when Frank Costanza’s aluminum pole raising holiday is observed, we’re going to give the very best and worst of NYC’s teams a Festivus treatment. Starting with…
The airing of grievances
I’ve got a lot problems with you teams! And now you’re gonna hear about it.
Each team in this city has had one notably low moment or season in the past 10 years that’s made its way into NYC sports infamy.
Those moments include, but are not limited to:
The New York Giants parting ways with Tom Coughlin
This 2015 event set off the series of cataclysmic events which have turned the New York Giants into the recent bottomfeeder of professional football. After winning his second Super Bowl title as the Giants Head Coach, the team’s performance began to decline in the following years, which Coughlin was scapegoated for despite many, extenuating factors. It was after the organization parted ways with one of football’s greatest coaches that things took a turn for the worst, starting with replacement Head Coach Ben Mcadoo’s treatment of Eli Manning along with a 2-10 record. Clearly, things haven’t been much better under the new grace of Head Coach Pat Shurmur either. Shocking, right?
The Jets Butt Fumble on Thanksgiving vs. New England in 2012
Very few plays in the history of the Jets appropriately summarize the team’s success (or lack thereof) quite like the Butt fumble. In front of a primetime audience on Thanksgiving night in 2012, Mark Sanchez took a 1st and 10 snap and proceeded to run directly into the rear of offensive lineman, Brandon Moore. The Jets proceeded to lose 49-19 in front of 79,000 fans and a viewing audience of 20 million.
Cespedes re-injures himself…at his Florida ranch
After trading for him in 2015, Yoenis Cespedes has missed most of the last three seasons because of injuries. Hamstring problems were the main reason he missed half the 2017 campaign, and heel surgery limited him to 38 games in 2018. In 2019, Mets fans heard that Cespedes injured himself, while rehabbing other heel injuries and surgeries, on his Florida ranch. Reports said that the former all-star outfielder suffered a “violent fall” in May. After signing a four-year $110 million contract at the end of 2016, Cespedes’ performance has not been one that has left Mets’ fans satisfied.
The Yankees 2013 season
This was the year of disdain for Yankees fans. It’s also the season that longtime Boston Red Sox infielder Kevin Youkilis awkwardly wore the pinstripes for a couple of months as well. The Yankees not only missed the playoffs with a disappointing season, less than stellar lineup, but also woke up the baseball to the reality that Derek Jeter’s days numbered and the glory days of the 1990s and 2000s were history.
The Knicks trade Kristaps Porzingis
This has been the cherry on top, of a tumultuous second-half of the decade for the Knicks. Porzingis, who was the fourth overall pick in the 2015 NBA draft, was averaging 17.8 points and 7.1 rebounds during his three-and-a-half year stint with the Knicks before being traded this past January. Porzingis, along with Trey Burke, Courtney Lee, and Time Hardaway Jr. were traded to the Mavericks in exchange for Dennis Smith Jr., DeAndre Jordan and two future first-round draft picks. Smith is struggling and Jordan took the subway to Brooklyn this year, so for now, it is safe to say the Knicks’ front office made a boneheaded move here. Especially considering the impressive play the league has seen from Porzingis and Luka Doncic this year.
The last place Nets in 2016-17
This was not a good year for basketball in Brooklyn. The Nets finished at the bottom of the NBA barrel with little to show for it. Brooklyn fired general manager Billy King while also trading away star center Brook Lopez for what became of season of bad memories at a 20-62 record which put Brooklyn in the bottom spot of the Eastern Conference.
Rangers fall short of Stanley Cup against LA
The Rangers have managed to make it out of the decade being one of New York’s consistently competitive teams each year. One round after an epic six-game conference championship series with the Canadiens, the Rangers faced the Los Angeles Kings in the Stanley Cup Finals. The series featured three games that went into overtime, two of which went into double-overtime. The blueshirts lost all three of those games, eventually losing the series 4-1. The Rangers managed to score more than two goals in a game just once in the series. After a conference championship appearance the following year, the team has not made it past the second round of the playoffs since.
Goodbye Nassau, Hello Brooklyn
Let’s face it, Brooklyn was a bad chapter for the New York Islanders, despite the team’s recent winning ways. Many fans felt the team’s culture was being stripped right from the getgo upon the Isles 2015 arrival—the MTA’s attempt at a new goal horn didn’t help much either. The arena wasn’t (and still isn’t) designed for hockey, which left many seats with awful, obstructed views, in addition to a callous feeling which came from the Barclays Center executives. That came along with so many other issues that have likely already popped into your head while reading this. Belmont 2021, enough said.
Fortunately, it wasn’t all bad this decade.
There were also some mighty and phenomenal championships, seasons, and moments put forth by New York’s teams since 2010—which brings us to the next part of Festivus.
The feats of strength
These proud moments also include, but are not limited to:
The Super Bowl XLVI Champion New York Football Giants
The only championship won in New York this decade proved to be everything that the New York Giants were about in that era: resiliency, slept-on talent, and beating the New England Patriots. It was Head Coach Tom Coughlin’s cunning strategy along with Eli Manning’s consistent and elite play along with the hands of Victor Cruz, return of running back Brandon Jacobs, Cinderella story of Chase Blackburn along with many other factors that resulted in a post-season for the ages during the winter of 2012.
The Jets AFC Divisional Game vs. New England in 2011
The Jets marched into New England with a stingy defense that ranked third-best in the league and a top five rushing attack. After New England took a 3-0 lead from a Shayne Graham field goal in the first quarter, the Jets answered back with a pass from Mark Sanchez to Tomlinson and never looked back. Two more touchdown strikes from Sanchez to Santonio Holmes and Braylon Edwards and a game-sealing touchdown run from Shonn Greene, and the Jets were flying high in Foxboro.
Mets sweep Chicago to reach the World Series
9 years removed from the gut-wrenching NLCS that saw a powerhouse Mets lineup silenced by the Cardinals young crop of eventual All-Star talent, and 15 years removed from the Mets’ last NLCS win against St. Louis ironically enough. Eventual-series MVP Daniel Murphy was masterful in the box, going 9-17 with four home runs and six RBIs (tied with Lucas Duda for most in the series). DeGrom, Harvey, Syndergaard, and Colon picked up wins in the series, and the bullpen was strong allowing just 2 earned runs in the four-game sweep of Chicago.
Thumbs down in The Bronx for 2017
This was the Yankees team of the decade. Despite a seven game falter to the (proven cheaters) Houston Astros in the ALCS, it was a year to remember for the Bronx Bombers. That season showcased the young talent of Rookie of the Year Aarron Judge, Miguel Andujar, Gleyber Torres and so many more “Baby Bombers.” It was also a season where the team’s palpable energy could be felt by fans in person or watching on TV—especially after Todd Frazier’s famed ‘thumbs down’ affair. Come playoff time, the 91 win Yankees proved that they had all the makings of a championship contender after rallying back against a 0-2 deficit in the ALDS versing a red hot Cleveland squad.
Melo drops 62 in the garden
It wasn’t just a career-high for one of the most lethal scorers the game of basketball has ever seen. It wasn’t just a record for the most points scored in the Mecca of basketball (surpassing Kobe no less). And it wasn’t just the fact that it broke Bernard King’s longstanding franchise record. 62 points on 23 field goals to go along with 13 rebounds, and is the only person in NBA history to score 60+ points in a game while making more than one shot with under five seconds to play in a quarter (did it in the first and second).
Nets 104, Raptors 103
Man, this was one of the more epic playoff series in recent NBA history—and it’s the only playoff round that the Nets have won since the team’s Brooklyn tenure began in 2012. Newly acquired Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce joined the ranks of Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, and Brook Lopez to put together a season of good memory in Brooklyn during 2014; one which culminated when Pierce put the game winning block on Kyle Lowry as time expired in game 7 of the Eastern Quarterfinals to hoist Brooklyn over Toronto, 104-103.
Rangers beat Habs for the Prince of Wales trophy in 2014
In their third attempt since their Stanley Cup victory season in 1994, the Rangers knew this year would be different. The Montreal Canadiens were evenly matched with New York during the regular season, having won just one more game than the blue-shirts, but come the postseason, the Rangers had something that Montreal didn’t; Ryan McDonagh. He, along with Chris Kreider and Derek Stepan combined for a whopping 25 points in 6 games for New York, while the leading points leaders from Montreal combined for just 15.
Isles get brooms out on Pittsburgh
The opening round of the 2019 Stanley Cup playoffs was an outstanding moment in recent Islanders history. In his first season, new head coach Barry Trotz brought the Islanders to overcome the team’s longtime in-division bane and rival in a dominant, four game sweep over the flightless Pittsburgh Penguins. It was the first time that the Islanders swept a playoff series since the dynasty days of the 1980s. Filled with energy, aggression, and everything that Isles hockey has been known for, those four games showed Western PA who’s boss now.