Here it is, a list of New York’s top franchises from 1 to 11. Most people think there are only nine, but I am including the New York Liberty and the NY/NJ Red Bulls.
1. New York Giants – This was a tough call, but the Giants have made the playoffs six times in the last nine seasons. Among those six playoff appearances, included two Super Bowl berths and one victory. But ranking the Giants number 1 isn’t just about wins. From top to bottom, on and off the field, the Giants are the best run organization in the area. They handle controversy well (see Plaxico Burress) and rarely embarrass themselves.
2. New York Yankees – Okay, so the Yankees haven’t won a world series since the 2000 season. They’ve made the World Series three other times this decade and had a string of consecutive playoff appearances stopped at 13. They’ll certainly make the playoffs this season and are currently the favorites to win the World Series. In terms of team management, the Yankees nearly as effective as the Giants. But there is one difference: George Steinbrenner. Steinbrenner gets all the credit in the world for making the Yankees a household name. But his history of firing managers and undermining his general managers counts against him.
3. New Jersey Devils – The best way to describe the Devils is that they are winners. They are in the midst of a 12-year playoff run. They’ve won three Stanley Cups in the last 15 years, including their latest one in 2003. It’s tough to argue with what the Devils have done. The only knock on the Devils is that they’ve had seven coaches in the last nine years. That has to tell you something about management.
4. New Jersey Nets – The Nets were one of the hottest teams in the area at the beginning of this decades. Six straight playoff appearances, including two straight trips to the NBA Finals will do that. The Nets have cooled off the last two years, but those things happen. Rod Thorn has done an excellent job of building the franchise into a contender. With a young nucleus that includes Brook Lopez, Devin Harris and Courtney Lee, the Nets are poised to return to the playoffs.
5. New York Liberty – The WNBA isn’t exactly a household name when it comes to American sports. But the women of the league deserve just as much credit as the men do. The Liberty have been one of the most consistently solid franchises the last nine years. The team has made nine playoff appearances in its 13 years of existence. They have yet to get over the hump, but they’ve knocked on the door of a championship several times.
6. Red Bulls – Although the Red Bulls are in the midst of their worst seasons, they have a string of six straight playoff appearances to boast. With a new stadium set to open next season under better ownership, the Red Bulls have a chance at something really special. The fact that they haven’t won a championship this decade is the only thing that is keeping them from a higher position on this list.
7. New York Jets – With four playoff appearances and just three losing seasons the last nine years, the Jets have been steady. They were a Doug Brien 38-yard field goal away from the AFC title game in 2004 and crushed the Colts in the Wild Card round of the playoffs, 41-0, in 2002. The Jets haven’t gotten over the hump in 40 years, but they are no longer the doormat of the NFL.
8. New York Rangers – After a seven-year playoff absence that started in the late 1990s and ended in the early years of this decades, the Rangers have made the post season the last four years. Like the Liberty, the Rangers haven’t gotten over the hump lately, but they are knocking on the door. Picking the Jets over the Rangers wasn’t easy, but the Rangers’ ineptitude in the early years of this decade counts against them.
9. New York Mets – Sorry Mets fans, but one playoff appearance since 2000 just doesn’t cut it. I know they finished one game out the last two years, but that isn’t enough. Odd firings and hirings, being hesitant to go after the big names (A-Rod, Sheffield, Vlad Guerrero, etc…) when they clearly had the chance, has really hampered this franchise. They way they fired Willie Randolph, handle injuries and the Tony Bernazard fiasco has made the Mets the butt of jokes.
10. New York Knicks – The Knicks haven’t made the playoffs since 2004. And that appearance was nothing to write home about as they were swept by the Nets. The Knicks have been mired in mediocrity for far too long. A terrible salary cap situation, bad management and terrible coaching have done a number on this once proud franchise. But Donnie Walsh has them going in the right direction. Yes, Knicks fans. There is hope.
11. New York Islanders – There isn’t much to say about the Islanders. Sure the Islanders have made playoff appearances this decade, with the last one coming in 2007. But the team is in such disarray over their inability to get a new arena built. Their fan base has steadily declined and they are losing a ton of money. Some would argue the Knicks should be in this position. But at least the Knicks can still pack the Garden. The Islanders have done everything to and anything to get fans to come to Nassau Coliseum.