In recent memory, sports teams in New York haven’t been able to live up to the bright lights of the big city; but there could be a chance on the horizon.It’s been a while since a team from New York City was able to hoist a championship trophy in their specific sport.
Okay, okay: we’re not talking about a century long drought like the one the Chicago Cubs overcame in November. But in the fast-paced, hustling and bustling concrete jungle, almost five years — when the New York Giants won the Lombardi Trophy in Super Bowl XLVI — is an eternity compared to a New York minute.
At the moment, calling New York City title town is simply a farce.
The New York Yankees may have 27 World Series Championships, but the last one was nearly a decade ago. The New York Mets represented the National League in the World Series in both 2000 and 2015; unfortunately, however, they haven’t lifted the Commissioner’s Trophy since 1986.
The Giants were named champions twice in the last nine years but did little else since their Super Bowl victory in 1990. On the other hand, the New York Jets couldn’t be any more of an opposite franchise as their only successful Super Bowl campaign came almost 50 years ago.
Many see New York as the birthplace of basketball, which makes the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets even more disappointing. The Knicks have been a complete mess since their run in the 1990s while, despite being a premier franchise in the early 2000s, the Nets have been a struggling franchise whether playing at the Continental Airlines Arena or the Barclays Center.
The New York Rangers have been one of the more consistent franchises in recent memory but continue to come up short when it matters most. The New Jersey Devils are more of an afterthought than anything else, and the last time the New York Islanders were a dynasty was back when Michael Jackson, Queen, and Billy Joel were fixtures on the Billboard charts.
There hasn’t been a complete depletion of (almost) winners, though.
The Rangers lost in the Stanley Cup Final in 2014 while the Mets did the same in the World Series a year later. In 2016, the New York Red Bulls and New York City Football Club finished first and second in the Eastern Conference of the MLS, respectively, and the Giants have as good of a shot as anybody to represent the NFC in this year’s Super Bowl.
For a town that loves its winners, New York’s representatives haven’t done a great job in making their respective fan bases proud.
But with the way things are set up, the fortunes of the city may begin to change.
If healthy, the Mets boast the best starting rotation in baseball, bar none. Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Steven Matz, and Zack Wheeler — in one form or another —have flashed ace potential. Combine them with the enigmatic Yoenis Cespedes and it’s hard to make an argument as to why they can’t finish 2017 atop the NL East.
While the Knicks are letting the Garden faithful down, it’s the Rangers who are trying to restore order in the World’s Most Famous Arena. A Stanley Cup Playoff constant, a balanced offense that features the fan-favorite Mats Zuccarello and impressive Chris Kreider, a former All-World netminder with a chip on his shoulder in Henrik Lundqvist, and a no-nonsense, underrated leader like Ryan McDonagh should have the Blueshirts back in contention this season.
Even NYCFC has the chance to make serious noise next season. With reigning league MVP David Villa and former international star Andrea Pirlo leading the charge, the franchise is one of the favorites to take home the MLS Cup in 2017 in its third year of existence.
And it’s not only the present that should have New York sports fans excited. The future is equally as bright.
They’re not considered one of the top teams in the playoffs, but the Giants have a legitimate chance at making noise in the postseason this year. And while that’s exciting for the organization, the future, too, is impressive. Star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. is 24 years old and his defensive counterpart in Landon Collins is just 22. With youth on the side of impact players like Sterling Shepard (23), Weston Richburg (25), Justin Pugh (26), Olivier Vernon (26), Johnathan Hankins (24), and Eli Apple (21), the future at MetLife Stadium (for Big Blue, anyway) is something to look forward to.
Phil Jackson still has a ton of work to do with the Knicks; but if there’s one thing to be excited about, it’s the potential of the magical, mythical unicorn known as Kristaps Porzingis. Arguably the brightest young star of the city, the 21-year-old Latvian native has displayed the potential to be a legitimate top-five player in basketball. If his talents can manifest on Broadway, Porzingis will be one of the NBA’s biggest faces.
On a smaller scale, the Nets, too, have positioned themselves to succeed in future years. The roster doesn’t feature any true game-changing players, but the combination of GM Sean Marks — who’s a part of the esteemed San Antonio Spurs tree — and head coach Kenny Atkinson were vastly underrated moves that pointed the franchise in the right direction.
The Yankees, meanwhile, arguably have the brightest future of them all. After years of signing over-the-hill players to massive contracts, GM Brian Cashman finally got his way and put all of the organization’s focus on the future. Gary Sanchez is already a household name; and if the rest of the Baby Bombers — Aaron Judge, Clint Frazier, Gleyber Torres, James Kaprielian, and Justus Sheffield, just to name a few — can come close to their potential, there will be a new dynasty taking place in the Bronx.
Not all hope is lost for the other teams, too. The Islanders have the most underrated star in hockey in John Tavares. The Devils have an impressive combination of Taylor Hall and Cory Schneider and the Red Bulls have Bradley Wright-Phillips to lean on.
And one can hope the Jets get their franchise QB in the upcoming draft.
To say that New York fans are deprived of winners may be a stretch — and that statement may only continue the spoiled, better than you narrative that outsiders believe New Yorkers have.
But this is the city that never sleeps. This is a city that’s known as much for its star power than it is their landmarks. It’s the greatest city in the world.
From the Bronx to Brooklyn. From Queens to Midtown. From The Rock to East Rutherford. This town will get a championship. It may be soon or it may be a couple of years from now.
But it’s hard to deny that New York City is on the verge of a sports renaissance.