(Neil Miller/Sportsday Wire)
Given that they share the New York NFL market and only meet during the regular season once every four years, there is always excitement when the Giants and Jets face each other as they will this Sunday irrespective of their won-loss records.
Neither team can be classified as an NFL powerhouse, but as was the case when these teams last met on Christmas Eve 2011, this contest has possible playoff implications for both squads.
The Giants have been disappointing but even with a 5-6 record they still have to be considered favorites to win the pathetically weak NFC East. The Jets at 6-5 have, as per custom, no shot at dethroning the perennial AFC East champs, the New England Patriots, but like countless other teams, they have wild card aspirations.
As long as Tom Coughlin has been coaching the Giants, Big Blue has had the upper hand against Gang Green in these games. When the Super Bowl-bound Giants manhandled the Jets four years ago, it not only ended the Jets playoff hopes that year but in retrospect it precipitated a decline that would culminate with Rex Ryan being dismissed as the Jets head coach at the end of last season.
Following the 38-20 whipping of the Miami Dolphins last Sunday I asked Jets QB Ryan Fitzpatrick about the hoopla that will come with his team playing the other NFL tenants of MetLife Stadium and if it would be comparable to his college days when his Harvard Crimson played the Yale Bulldogs.
Fitzpatrick agreed that the analogy was appropriate and appeared happy to reminisce about his days in Cambridge, Mass. “I’m not sure how much you want to hear about Harvard , but yes, the Yale game was different. It wasn’t only because of the rivalry with Yale but because it was the last game of the season and it would be the last football game most of the seniors would ever play.”
The Jets paid tribute to their Queens heritage on Sunday when two of the team’s best running backs in its history, Matt Snell and Emerson Boozer who wreaked havoc at against opposing defenses at Shea Stadium in the late 1960s and early 1970s, were inducted into the team’s Ring of Honor. Snell, who has had a running feud with the Jets ever since his retirement in 1972 for reasons that have never been made public, was a no-show.
The Jets and Giants won’t be the only rivals going at it. This Friday night our local NBA teams, the Knicks and the Nets, will meet for the first time this season at Madison Square Garden.
The Nets have played hard under head coach Lionel Hollins as exemplified by taking the NBA champion Warriors to overtime and giving LeBron James and the Cavaliers all that they could handle last month. As is generally the case with bad teams, however, they lost those close ones.
Rangers center Derek Stepan must feel like the National Hockey League’s version of Job. He broke his jaw during the 2014 Stanley Cup Final. This past Friday Boston Bruins winger Matt Beleskey broke Stepan’s ribs by hurling him into the boards after he Stepan passed the puck to a teammate. Adding insult to injury was the fact that the referees did not call a penalty on the play.
Dodgers second baseman Chase Utley’s contact with Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada during the National League Division Series looked like a game of tag compared with Beleskey’s actions.
The late 1960s were a rough time in New York City. Crime was rising and it seemed as if every family with any economic resources was fleeing for the suburbs. It was however the best of times for New York sports as the Mets, Jets, and Knicks were winning championships. Longtime Sporting News writer Sean Deveney revisits the time when John Lindsay was our mayor and Joe Namath, Tom Seaver, and Walt Frazier epitomized what it was to be cool and young in his new book, “Fun City” ( Sports Publishing). If you are a baby boomer who grew up here then this is a must read.
Major League Baseball’s collective bargaining agreement with the Major League Baseball Players Association expires in two years. A work stoppage such as what occurred in 1981, 1985, and 1994-95 is not likely although there are some issues that may prove thorny for negotiators.
“Split Season 1981” ((St. Martins Press) written by Jeff Katz is a look back at that troubled year that resulted in baseball creating convoluted “half seasons” because of a seven-week work stoppage. Katz nicely researches the main issues that were on the table and is able to gleam insider info from owners, players, and union executives about what was going on behind the scenes in that pre-Internet era.
Major League Soccer commissioner, as well as Bayside High School alum, Don Garber was undoubtedly hoping that the New York Red Bulls could do what the New York Cosmos accomplished last week in the North American Soccer League; namely win a title. Unfortunately, as always seems to be the case, the Columbus Crew defeated the Red Bulls in their Eastern Conference playoff series.