Saturday, January 28, 2012

How I Rank the New York Tri-State Area Teams

Note that this includes only the major league teams -- no Rutgers, no Princeton, no Seton Hall, no St. John's, no Staten Island Yankees, no Brooklyn Cyclones, no Trenton Thunder, etc.

1. New York Yankees. The first sports team I ever loved, and the one that has rewarded my loyalty the most -- despite their 18-year title drought.

2. New Jersey Devils. The team closest to my house, if not to my heart. Since the sun set on June 24, 1995, in MLB, the NFL, the NBA and the NHL combined, only the Yankees, the Los Angeles Lakers and the Detroit Red Wings have won more World Championships than the Meadowlands, now Mulberry Street, Marauders -- and, in addition, only the New England Patriots (by cheating) and the Chicago Bulls have won as many.

3. New York Red Bulls. You may not consider Major League Soccer to be, well, a major league, but I do. Let's go fucking Metro! Let's go fucking Metro! Da-da, da-da! Da-da, da-da!

4. New York Liberty. You may not consider the WNBA to be a major league, but the Libs are the best basketball team in the Tri-State Area. Well, okay, since 1976, the most successful basketball team in the Tri-State Area.

5. New Jersey Nets. Though there's only a few weeks left in which they will have that name and play home games in New Jersey -- and, thus, probably only a few more weeks why I should bother.

6. New York Giants. Because they do a better job of beating New England than the Jets, even though the Jets have two (or three) chances to beat them every season.

7. New York Jets. At least they're entertaining. No, at most, they're entertaining. One more season like this, and the Era of Big Mouth is over.

8. New York Knicks. With Pat Riley, and John Starks, who ruined a chance at a glorious era by clotheslining Kenny Anderson, it was easy to hate them. Now, I only pity them. Will I switch to the Knicks after the Nets' move to Brooklyn is absolutely official with tipoff in the fall of 2012? I don't know yet.

9. New York Islanders. I still hate the bastards for beating up the Devils from 1982 to 1988, when the Devils ended up beating them in their first-ever Playoff series -- still the only time the Devs and Isles have met in the postseason, and still one of only 2 Playoff series wins the Devils have over a New York team (the other being the sweep of The Scum in 2006).

10. New York Mets. I keep telling myself that what's happening to them isn't funny anymore... but it's a lie.

11. New York Rangers. The Scum. (Unless we're talking about baseball, in which case that's the Boston Red Sox; or soccer, in which case that's Tottenham -- more than MLS' D.C., Philly or New England teams will ever be.) Dunt, dunt, dunt, duh-unt, Dunt, dunt, dunt, duh-unt, Dunt, dunt, dunt, duh-unt, Dunt, dunt, dunt! RANGERS SUCK! Stephane Matteau is my Bobby Thomson, and Mark Messier is my Leo Durocher. Except Durocher had more hair.

Or, to put it another way: On a scale of 0 to 10, with 10 being how much I love the Yankees...

1. Yankees 10.
2. Devils 9.5
3. Red Bulls 7.5 and gaining
4. Liberty 6.0
5. Nets 4.0 and dropping
6. Giants 3.8 and that's mostly a measure of respect, not love
7. Jets 3.5 and that's mostly a sop to my sister, a Jet fan
8. Knicks 2.8 and that's mostly a measure of respect for their pre-Riley work
9. Islanders 2.0 and that's mostly a measure of respect for their 4 Cups and their '93 Playoff run
10. Mets 0.5 and that's entire a measure of respect for 1969 and '73 -- NOT for '86
11. Rangers 0.2 and that's entirely a measure of respect for what they were before there ever was a New Jersey Devils

*

Of course, it's not just about sentiment. As former Jets coach Herman Edwards taught us, "You play to win the game!" And win enough of them to win a championship.

Since the sun set on June 24, 1995, with the Devils winning their first Stanley Cup at 11:09 PM that night (yes, I know the exact time -- don't bet me), the title roll looks like this:

1. Yankees 5 World Series wins
2. Devils 3 Stanley Cups
3. Giants 1 Super Bowl wins, with a chance to make it 2 a week from tomorrow
4. Liberty 4 Conference Titles
5. Nets 2 Conference Titles
6. Red Bulls no titles but reached finals in both the MLS and U.S. Open Cups
7. Mets 1 Pennant
8. Knicks 1 Conference Title
9. Jets 3 lost AFC Championship Games
10. Rangers 1 Conference Finals
11. Islanders haven't even won a Playoff series

Since I was old enough to start watching on TV, 1977 onward:

1. Yankees 7 World Series wins
2. Islanders 4 Stanley Cups, last 29 years ago
3. New York Cosmos 4 Soccer Bowls, last 30 years ago -- defunct 1985, and the reborn Cosmos, who have yet to play anything other than a friendly, are connected to them in name only
4. Giants 3 Super Bowl wins, with a chance to make it 3 a week from tomorrow
5. Devils 3 Stanley Cups
6. Rangers 1 Stanley Cup, 18 years ago
7. Mets 1 World Series win, 26 years ago
8. Liberty 4 Conference Titles
9. Nets 2 Conference Titles, last 9 years ago
10. Knicks 2 Conference Titles, last 13 years ago
11. Red Bulls no titles but reached finals in both the MLS and U.S. Open Cups
12. Jets 4 lost AFC Championship Games

Compare that to overall, the teams' entire histories:

1. Yankees 27 World Series wins
2. Giants 7 NFL Championships, with a chance to make it 8 a week from tomorrow
3. New York Cosmos 5 Soccer Bowls, last 30 years ago -- the "New Cosmos," who have yet to play anything other than a friendly, are connected to them in name only
4. New York Giants (baseball) 5 World Series wins, last 58 years ago, defunct 1957
5. Rangers 4 Stanley Cups, last 18 years ago
6. Islanders 4 Stanley Cups, last 29 years ago
7. Devils 3 Stanley Cups
8. Mets 2 World Series wins, last 26 years ago
9. Knicks 2 NBA Championships, last 39 years ago
10. Jets 1 Super Bowl win, 44 years ago
11. Brooklyn Dodgers 1 World Series win, 57 years ago, defunct 1957
12. Nets 2 Conference Titles, 2 ABA Championships
13. Liberty 4 Conference Titles
14. New York Metropolitans, 1 Pennant, defunct 1887 -- the 1962-born Mets were, sort of, named after them
15. Red Bulls no titles but reached finals in both the MLS and U.S. Open Cups
16. New York Americans, no Stanley Cups, only once reached Semifinals
17. Brooklyn Dodgers (football), never reached NFL Playoffs but finished 2nd to Giants in Eastern Division in 1941 and swept the season series, defunct 1944

Not counting the various AFLs which, unlike the one that was founded with the Titans/Jets in 1960, didn't make it. Or the USFL's New Jersey Generals, or any other football league that didn't quite make it to "major league" status.

No comments: