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After a decade of disappointment in New York professional sports, there’s only one option for the fans going into the new year: shake it off.

NYC’s eight teams can propel out of their collective funk as of immediately to perhaps clear the cobwebs and parade down the Canyon of Heroes this year — re-invigorating a victorious longevity back into the hearts of city dwellers and sports fans alike in the process.

While some squads are better positioned than others to begin hanging banners, there’s no reason that the start of the decade cannot bring significant improvement to NYC sports culture. 

What does each team need to become a championship contender?

Yankees

New York Yankees pitcher Gerrit Cole, center, holds a sign he used as a young Yankees fan, as he is introduced as the baseball clubs newest player during a baseball media availability, Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019 in New York. He is joined by team owner Hal Steinbrenner, left, and his wife, Amy Cole. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

The Bronx will be buzzing all year and that’s guaranteed. Along with signing new ace Gerrit Cole to a huge contract, the Yankees head into 2020 with tons of firepower on the mound and in the lineup. The maturity and patience of Aaron Judge that’s come since his 2017 introduction has been exciting for fans to watch in years past, and with the lineup full of young starpower, there’s no reason to think the Bronx Bombers can’t make the playoffs and make a serious run at their 28th World Championship in 2020.

Mets

The new New York Mets manager, Carlos Beltran, center, poses for a picture with general manager Brodie Van Wagenen, left, and Mets COO Jeff Wilpon during a baseball news conference at Citi Field, Monday, Nov. 4, 2019, in New York. Beltran, two years removed from his playing career and with no managerial experience, has been picked by the Mets to replace Mickey Callaway. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

The Mets are also in serious shape to make a title run in 2020. Acquiring Rick Porcello and Michael Wacha to the starting rotation, along with Dellin Betances to the bullpen, gives the Mets one of the deepest pitching staffs in all of baseball. There are questions indeed for the Amazins: Does rookie manager Carlos Beltran have what it takes to lead them to the playoffs? Will Pete Alonso build off his outstanding rookie season? Can the roster stay healthy all year long? If the answer to these questions is ‘yes,’ there will be serious talk of potentially another “Subway Series” exactly 20 years after the last one.

Giants

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26) runs the ball into the end zone for a touchdown against the Miami Dolphins during the third quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

For the Giants to rekindle their glory, they’ll need to start with a brand new head coach to replace Pat Shurmur. However, another quick coaching change might just create a frustrating cycle that nobody in East Rutherford would want to see. General Manager Dave Gettleman should start probing the league for a viable replacement that would essentially be a Tom Coughlin 2.0 for upcoming seasons. After all, the cup flipping Daniel Jones is Eli Manning’s doppelganger.

Jets

New York Jets running back Le’Veon Bell (26) reaches toward the end zone as he is forced out bounds by Oakland Raiders’ Erik Harris (25) during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 24, 2019, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

Maybe the second half of the 2019 campaign is a sign of things to come for the Jets. After starting 1-7, they wound up going 6-2 the rest of the way. It was enough to likely save head coach Adam Gase’s job, and there’s enough young talent on the team to inspire some hope for a playoff run in 2020. Sam Darnold, Le’Veon Bell, Robby Anderson and so much more offensive talent should be put to the test next year. If they can replicate their second-half success over a full season next fall, the Jets stand a solid chance of a playoff run, and perhaps even unseating the big, bad Patriots as division champs.

Islanders

New York Islanders’ Ryan Pulock (6) celebrates with teammates Anthony Beauvillier (18) and Derick Brassard after scoring a goal during the second period of the team’s NHL hockey game against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday, Nov. 1, 2019, in Uniondale, N.Y. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

The Islanders tactic towards success is a simple one — listen to Barry Trotz. Under his command, the Islanders began outscoring in shootouts that they would have normally lost in, won competitive overtime games that the Isles would have likely faltered in, and won games late in regulation that would have went to overtime, etc. The Islanders goals for the remainder of this and next season comes down to two words: Stanley Cup. The talent and the coaching is there to compete for hockey’s ultimate prize this spring.

Rangers

New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist (30) watches play against the Florida Panthers in an NHL hockey game, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019, in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Joe Skipper)

The Blueshirts are currently at a bit of a crossroads. The clock is ticking on longtime and beloved Swedish netminder Henrik Lundqvist as well as his contract. Emotions aside, is it logical to return King Henry? And for how long? Keep in mind that goalie Igor Shesterkin is tearing it up in Hartford waiting for his chance to play between the pipes in MSG and based on his career so far, he won’t disappoint. Other contracting issues with Chris Kreider and Ryan Strome may also have the two forwards playing elsewhere soon as well. So, the NYR front office has some shopping to do in 2020 to resculpt one of the more successful team’s of this decade in the city.

Nets

Brooklyn Nets center Deandre Jordan (6) reacts during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Denver Nuggets on Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Nicole Sweet)
Basketball in Brooklyn is exciting nowadays. The Nets are in the process of making good on the franchise’s second blockbuster deal since playing in the five boroughs and it should payoff even though the results may not be there in the moment, they will in fact come under the command of Kenny Atkinson and the debut of a healed Kevin Durant. For the time, all that the Nets should concentrate on is winning games more so than to inflate the hype and speculation that’s been surrounding Brooklyn basketball. The energy is coming, if not this year then certainly soon. 

Knicks

The state of New York sports is enough to get anyone down, including Knicks owner James Dolan, seen here watching his once-proud basketball franchise lose to the Sacramento Kings at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 3. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

We could go on about how the Knicks need a new president, a new general manager, a new head coach and some new players in the lineup to have any hope beyond the current season — but why? Under James Dolan’s ownership, the Knicks have lost and rebuilt repeatedly over 20 years, and the end result is New York — the largest television market in America — having the worst team in the entire NBA. As long as Knicks ticket holders and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver are fine with this, the losing and rebuilding at the Garden will continue.

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