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Happy New Year’s Eve! Here on the last day of the decade, without a Knicks or Nets game to discuss (mercifully), and at the beginning of a week where the NFL playoffs begin once again without a New York team vying for the crown, I find myself wondering about the big picture of professional sports in the Big Apple. One question comes immediately to mind: Which NY franchise might break the city out of its 8-year championship drought?
Gone are the days of long fur coats and outrageous proclamations like when Joe Namath won it all with the Jets. Gone are the days of Tom Coughlin’s ruby red angry face paired next to Eli Manning’s ghastly pale blank stare. Competitive football, in general, might have taken a sabbatical from New York for a while. New York has failed to send a team to the playoffs in 7 of the past 8 seasons. Not since 2006 have both Giants & the Jets made the postseason.
The Giants hope to be near the beginning of the end of their rebuild. With Daniel Jones set to be the Giants starter in earnest next season, the question turns to whom will franchise choose to be their next head coach. Should they look for someone to best exploit Jones’s skill set? Or would it be wiser not to tie their future to a 2nd-year player with exactly 3 career wins? Outside of Saquon Barkley, the enter Giants roster may be in flux – and it might be prudent to leave the next coach with as much flexibility as possible to chart his own course. Either way they go, the odds that Giants suddenly become a contender next year fall somewhere to be slim and none.
Odds Giants win Super Bowl LIV – N/A
Odds Giants win Super Bowl LV – 1/100
The Jets are either slightly ahead of the rebuilding pace of the Giants…or much closer to the end of another failed reboot. Adam Gase now looks like he wasted a very talented quarterback in Ryan Tannehill during his days with the Dolphins. There were some glimmers of hope this season that Gase would do better with Jets 2nd year QB, Sam Darnold. I was skeptical about this pair coming into this season, and it’s safe to say the jury is still out. The optimist in me points out that Sam Darnold did have a winning record this year as a starter (7-6).
Odds Jets win Super Bowl LIV – N/A
Odds Jets win Super Bowl LV – 1/75
Where have the bounces of yesteryear gone? New York City – once known as the mecca of basketball – has seen its street basketball courts largely empty over the past couple of years. That lack of enthusiasm for the game has bled its way into the rabid fanbase of the New York Knicks. They laugh along with the rest of now – almost in disbelief, that Madison Square Garden could host such an anemic squad year after year.
Odds Knicks win 2020 NBA title? 1/10000
Odds Knicks win 2021 NBA title? 1/1000
If there is a glint of hope for basketball across the New York Skyline, it comes not from Manhattan. Rather, some say, over the bridge high in the sky shines a black and yellow light beacon for one Kevin Durant. When Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant agreed to sign with the Brooklyn Nets this summer, it quickly became apparent that it would be at least year before Durant again dawns his batman outfit and attempts to save Gotham. That said when he does suit up – assuming he’s the same lethal assassin that he was when he left the game with a torn Achilles – the Nets star power will rival any team in the league. They should be a serious threat for the championship over the next 2 or 3 seasons.
Odds Nets win 2020 NBA Title? 200/1
Odds Nets win 2021 NBA Title? 20/1
Finally, we come to the sport with by far the best chance of bringing a World Title to New York. Baseball.
The Mets are the Mets. The little brother that could, and sometimes actually almost does. The Queen’s crew still has a stable of Top Tier Pitchers: including Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom. Additionally, they have added exciting young players like first-baseman Pete Alonso, who set records this season as a first-year slugger. As I wrote here the day after the Mets traded for SP, Eric Stroman, the Mets will be a team to be reckoned with next fall.
Odds Mets win 2020 World Series? 25/1
What’s new? The 27-time World Championships won the off-season already before even the start of the New Year. The biggest baseball story this offseason: The Bronx bombers add the best pitcher in the league. Former Astro, Garrit Cole fresh off one of the most historically dominant seasons for any pitcher ever – will be added to an already elite roster. Expectations? Hardware.
Odds Yankees win 2020 World Series? 7/2 (Odds via FanDuel).
Angle: What should we do with all this information? Easy, take the Yankees +350. Sports Betting Conspiracy Theory 101 teaches us that powers at be like to energize the fanbases of the largest markets – and there is no larger market than NYC.
Over the next 1.5 years, all non-Yankees NY sports teams have a combined 12% chance to win a championship. The Yankees themselves have around 20-30% chance. My guess is the Yankees either win it or come agonizingly close as the city watches on in raptures.