The Record

The full-court press to bring the 2026 World Cup final to New York (and New Jersey) kicked into high gear Thursday.

A New York Times story. A press event in Times Square with Michael Strahan doing MC duties. A brand and logo reveal. And Mayor Eric Adams and Gov. Phil Murphy went on MSNBC for a segment that felt like a “Saturday Night Live” sketch come to life, as early Donald Trump enabler Joe Scarborough and acclaimed fabricator and plagiarist Mike Barnicle decided to rant about fellow candidate Dallas (actually Arlington) being unfit to host because everyone will probably be carrying assault rifles. No, really, this happened.

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But what we did not hear or see (as far as we can tell): Anyone broach the only issue that matters when it comes to bringing the World Cup final to the region.

The trains.

NJ Transit was a disaster for the Super Bowl. It was a disaster for WrestleMania. And God knows what will happen next weekend when Taylor Swift is in town. If FIFA does not have confidence the public transportation can hold up, how can it put the final at MetLife Stadium? And why should the governing body — or anyone else — have that confidence?

It is mind-boggling Adams, Murphy and bid officials have not been pressed on this more. Or that NJ Transit has not made clear how it plans to avoid another meltdown.

Yes, the stadium is in New Jersey. But everything else is in New York. There are going to be thousands of people who do not realize they have to go across the Hudson River to watch the game until hours before kickoff. The trains have to work. Period. Everything else is noise. If there is a real plan to make that happen, the final should easily be awarded. But if there is not, congratulations for Los Angeles will likely be in order.

James Kratch can be reached at


James Kratch is the managing editor of ESNY. He previously worked as a Rutgers and Giants (and Mike Francesa) beat reporter for NJ Advance Media.