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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Why NYC is a “Tale of Two Cities.”

This is a little overdue but its better late than never. Being that we are now a few weeks from the end of a football season I had something on my mind. Is it me or are there sports franchises in NYC all on opposite sides of the spectrum right now? There is a clear division of winners and losers. The NY/NJ Metropolitan area is divided and there are two sides: The Winners and The Losers.
The Winners: NY Yankees, NY Giants, NY Rangers, NY Knicks
The Losers: NY Mets, NY Jets, NY Islanders, NJ/NY Nets
There is no denying that there is such a separation in our local sports market. The Yankees continue to win divisions and walk around with a swagger that is seen once a decade from the Mets. The Mets seem to be in financial woes and struggle to avoid last place while the Yankees own the town and the spotlight despite some post season woes. I was just at a wedding where Mr. Met showed up for two entire dances. They are so desperate for money that Mr. Met is making appearances at Jewish Events. In the NHL, tth Rangers have become the NHL’s best team and are thriving with excellent defense and goaltending while the Islanders struggle to keep up, despite their young stars. The Islanders sign a goalie to a lifetime contract only to have him get injured a year or two later. The Rangers are only as good as they are because of King Henrique sitting in their net. The Knicks have tons of potential, have star players and now are being mesmerized by the amazing play of Jeremy Lin. The Net see potential fly away over and over again. Players don’t want to play for the Nets, they want to play on Broadway. Brook Lopez is a shining light and the Nets seem to be on a good path and then he gets hurt. It just seems like this dissection is irrefutable.

But what really pushed me to write on the topic is the amazing difference between the two NY football teams who play in the very same Stadium. The NY Giants and NY Jets at this point in time could not be further apart if they tried. Here are some of my reasons why these two clubs are just so so different.

The Teams
Let us start off with the teams. These two squads are in two very different places. The NY Jets are coming off two Conference Championship losses in three years but why does it feel that they are still not “A Super Bowl Team.” The Jets randomly will get the regular season big win and can sometimes put away bad teams but too many of their games are closer than they should be. They seem to never get hot and I just don’t look at them and respect any player or quality other than their defensive backs. They have no passing game, no running game and even their defense is not as good as it used to be. The Giants on the other hand are coming off their 2nd Championships in 5 years and often dominating the field in some way. They have a dominant defensive line and boast a top 5 passing game. Of course, there are also the times when their running game looks absolutely dominant. The truth is that while I try to boast the Giants and bash the Jets, this is probably the area they closest in comparison.

The Coach
Tom Coughlin and Rex Ryan are opposites in as many ways as you can think. Before I go any further let me state the most obvious difference. Rex Ryan looks like the papa bear to Coughlin’s bear cub. It looks like Ryan eats a Coughlin every day for breakfast. Let’s delve further. Rex Ryan is an outlandish, outspoken and boastful coach who holds nothing back even when he should. He never shuts his mouth and has a comment about everything. He will go around making guarantees and promising to dominate this team and that team. Unfortunately, Ryan and his Jets are not always able to back up their big words and Rex is left standing like an idiot. He only focuses on defense, leaving his offense in the hands of a blubbering idiot. Coughlin on the hand is an offensive minded coach who also pays attention to his defense. More importantly, Coughlin is a reserve and stern man who lets his team’s performance speak for itself. Coughlin will take responsibility and admit when they play like crap. He doesn’t sugar coat it either way. He doesn’t talk a big talk or go for the best sound bite. Coughlin, at 67 is the oldest and perhaps one of the wisest coaches in the NFL. The two leaders of these NY squads couldn’t be the same person even if one of them lost 150 pounds.

The Quarterback
If these quarterbacks were the NY stock market, Sanchez would be the 2011 Depression and Manning would be the flourishing 90’s. The Mark Sanchez experiment is still young but definitely not going as planned. Sanchez, despite the two AFC Championship appearances, seems to not have improved at all over three seasons and neither does has the confidence anyone has in him. Watching the games, it was painful how poorly Sanchez was playing. Can he make the occasional play? Yes. Can he consistently be an accurate and productive pocket passer? I don’t think so. I have never thought that a quarterback who is at his best while rolling out to the sideline is a good NFL quarterback. Whether or not it was his offensive coordinator’s play call or not, Mark Sanchez has not shown me that the future is bright. Eli Manning’s stock has sky rocketed. Manning who to me was a level 2-3 quarterback before this past season has entered the next level. Despite a poor overall team performance for most of the season, Manning set career highs and some NFL and Giants records this season. His season was fantastic but his postseason, which really started with a regular season game against the NY Jets, was out of this world and truly elite. Yes, Eli has earned elite status. Some quarterbacks get chances to be great but only a few seize those opportunities. Eli has made the most of his situations and opportunities on the way to two Super Bowl wins. He plays with a calm, cool and collected confidence that is seen in the likes of Brady, Peyton, Breese, and Rodgers. There is perhaps no one else I would trust more with the football when losing late in the fourth quarter. Sanchez may be the GQ but Manning is the QB.

The Fans
I am a Dallas Cowboy fan and I cannot stand Jet fans. I happen to think the Giants are a team that get many breaks but also take advantage of those breaks. But what I do respect about Giant fans that I don’t like about Jet fans is the general attitude and awareness of their team’s successes and failures. The Jets and their fans remind me of a famous saying, “Give a Mouse a Cookie and He’ll ask for a glass of Milk.” You see to me, Jets fans never look at things as they are or are satisfied with what they have. If you give the average Jets fan a glimmer of greatness, they automatically assume they are great and their team is invincible. In my experience, Giants fans don’t do this. I have seen that Giants fans are awesome supportive fans when their team is great and are also able to recognize when their team is bad while maintaining their loyalty. I don’t see Jets fans doing this.

I truly believe that there is this distinct break in NY Sports right now and unless Deron Williams scores 38 every night, Jonathan Teveras scores 3 goals every night, David Wright hits a homerun every night, and Mark Sanchez can throw a 30 yard pass downfield with accuracy, I don’t see it changing anytime soon.

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