Monday, August 17, 2015

The Difference Between the Giants and the Jets: A Sense of Competence


The Giants lose their exhibition opener badly, and their fans are like, "Relax, we'll have it turned around by the time the real games start."

The Jets lose their exhibition opener badly, and their fans are like, "Well, here we go again! Another miserable season in Jetland!"

And they're probably both right.

And that's the difference between Big Blue and Gang Green.

It's not just that the Giants have Eli Manning as quarterback, and the Jets have a cast of thousands, or so it seems, none of whom are any good, the best of them being Geno Smith -- a guy not smart enough to reach into his fat wallet and pay back $600, nor to avoid getting socked in the jaw over it.

It's that the Giants have a sense of organizational competence that leads you to think, "Hang on, I know it looks bad now, but they've turned it around and starting winning again before, and they will do it again."

While the Jets have a sense of organizational screwiness that leads you to think, "I don't care care how good they look now, somehow, they will find a way to futz this up. They always do."

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The Giants have won 8 World Championships. The Jets, 1 -- and the Giants have won 4 since that Jet 1.

The Giants have won 10 postseason games in the 21st Century. The Jets have won 12 postseason games -- in their entire history.

The Giants have been in 5 NFC Championship Games since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger, winning 4. The Jets have been in 4 AFC Championship Games since then, and lost them all.

Title droughts of the 9 Tri-State Area teams -- if you count the ABA titles won by the Nets:

1. Giants: 4 years, 6 months
2. Yankees: 5 years, 9 months
3. Devils: 11 years, 2 months
4. Rangers: 21 years, 2 months
5. Mets: 28 years, 10 months
6. Islanders: 32 years, 3 months
7. Nets: 39 years, 3 months
8. Knicks: 41 years, 3 months
9. Jets: 45 years, 7 months

It's not that the Giants' title drought is the shortest and the Jets' the longest: Within a single sport, it's by far the greatest gap. NFL: Giants to Jets, 41; MLB: Yankees to Mets, 23; NHL: Devils to Rangers, 10, Devils to Islanders, 21; NBA, Nets to Knicks, 2.

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Also, the Giants rarely have out-of-game embarrassments. There was Plaxico Burress accidentally shooting himself. Maybe, you can count the marital scandals of Tiki Barber and Michael Strahan. But the Jets? Pardon me for using a technical term, but, "Hoo, boy!" The incident with Geno Smith is just the latest.

As for in-game embarrassments, the Giants' last really bad one was probably that Playoff choke against the San Francisco 49ers. They've never failed to show up for a Conference Championship Game like the Jets did against the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2011, or had a "butt fumble."

Maybe you can count Sean Landeta's whiffed punt against the Chicago Bears in the 1985-86 Playoffs, but the Bears were going to win that game anyway. Or the Joe Pisarcik fumble that became "The Miracle of the Meadowlands," but that was before the George Young regime came in and instituted the current reign of competent control. There's never been a "butt fumble." Nor have the Giants ever been suckered by an opposing quarterback the way the Jets were by Dan Marino of the Miami Dolphins with that fake spike.

The Jets have hired head coaches that end up embarrassing them, even (especially) if they later went on to success elsewhere (though not all of these have): Lou Holtz, Pete Carroll, Rich Kotite, Bill Belichick, Rex Ryan. I doubt that Todd Bowles will embarrass them, but with the Jets, you never know.

Not since John McVay at the 1978 Miracle of the Meadowlands have the Giants been embarrassed by their coaches. True, Ray Handley inspired "Ray must go" chants, but he was merely ineffective, not embarrassing. Tom Coughlin probably should have retired after that 2nd Super Bowl win -- now 4 seasons ago -- and he drives a lot of Giant fans nuts, and the way his skin turns bright pink when he gets mad is a little silly. But he's never embarrassed Giant fans.

The Jets are a sucker organization, totally undeserving of their incredibly loyal fan base. They will rise again, someday -- only to fall at a very inopportune time.

The Giants just don't do that.

In short: The Giants/Jets relationship is like the Yankees/Mets relationship. You might think, "Well, the Giants have won 8 World Championships, not 27 like the Yankees." This is true.

But the Mets don't have to share a stadium with the Yankees. The Jets have to share one with the Giants. True, the Giants no longer have their name on the stadium that the Jets have to call home, and the Jets do have half-ownership, equal ownership.

But the Mets, at the very least, are Number 1 in their own building. The Jets are not.

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