With the 2012 NFL season about to begin, the question will inevitably be asked:
Who is the best team in New York?
Except this year it will be asked both in New York City and in Buffalo.
The New York Jets and New York Giants only play each other once every four years and do not usually have much of a rivalry. Even so, this past year the rivalry (including some trash talk) developed some intensity.
At the same time, the Jets and the Buffalo Bills have always been rivals in the AFC East. The rivalry has waned a bit in recent years with the Bills not being as competitive. Nevertheless, the improvement of quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and running back Fred Jackson—along with the offseason pickups of Mario Williams and Mark Anderson—have heightened this rivalry.
With the Bills potentially in the 2012 playoff picture, the question can be asked:
Are the Jets the third best team in New York State?
If you judge only based on the results of the 2011 season, the rankings between the three New York teams are quite clear.
The Buffalo Bills were one of the worst teams in the NFL and came in last place in the AFC East. Clearly not a successful season.
On the other hand, a lot has happened since the end of the 2011 season. The Bills made the biggest splash in free agency, picking up two-time Pro Bowl defensive end Mario Williams.
At the same time the Giants—despite last year's Cinderella run—are not being viewed as one of the favorites to win Superbowl XLVII.
By taking a look at the three New York teams, I will decide if it is reasonable to consider the Jets the third best team in the state heading into the 2012 season.