Ranking the 10 New York/Metropolitan Area's Professional Sports Franchises
New York City is home to over 8 million people, many of whom are sports fanatics who love to watch their favorite teams compete on a daily basis. Right across the Hudson River is the state of New Jersey which is technically the home of some of New York’s franchises including the New York Jets, New York Giants, and New York Red Bulls.
While fans from both states like to boast about their respective hockey and basketball team, everyone in the New York/Metropolitan area can come together during the football and soccer season.
The New York City area is one of the very few regions in the country that has one or more teams in every major sports league. There are 10 to be exact and all have had their share of success over the years.
Here is how each franchise shakes out on the list of 2011’s best New York/Metropolitan area sports teams.
1. New York Yankees
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The New York Yankees have owned New York for the better part of over 80 years since they moved into Yankee Stadium in 1923. The most successful sports franchise in New York sports history, the Bronx Bombers have won an unprecedented 27 World Series championships and an incredible 40 American League pennants.
From ownership all the way down to the bottom of the organization, the Yankees franchise is the model of a successful and first-class organization. The tradition of the team is one of the richest in all of sports with names like Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle, Derek Jeter, and Reggie Jackson leaving behind a legacy in the Bronx.
The New York Yankees are one of the wealthiest teams in all of sports which allows them to go out and spend big money on big name free agents. But it isn’t just about the money with the Yankees. They have made their fair share of mistakes signing guys like Kei Igawa and A.J. Burnett for a boatload of money but have continued to win year in and year out.
There is no question that the Bombers are the best team in New York history as they will once again be contenders to win a World Series this season.
2. New York Jets
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The New York Jets right now are the city’s best football team and they provide the best chance for New York to take home the Lombardi trophy. The team made it to two consecutive AFC Championship games under Rex Ryan and young quarterback Mark Sanchez, and they look to be strong contenders to get back to that stage and perhaps win a Super Bowl.
Once considered the little brother to the New York Giants, the Jets have owned the town the past two seasons with bold coach Rex Ryan making headlines virtually every day during football season. His trash-talking and cocky predictions have made the Jets relevant again in New York, but ultimately it is the success of the team that has made Gang Green the center of attention in the Big Apple.
The Jets have quite possibly the best athlete in New York on their team in Darrelle Revis. He and the rest of the defense can carry the team to a championship this season. First they must get through the Patriots in the AFC East.
3. New York Knicks
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The Knicks were the laughing stock of the NBA after Isaiah Thomas took the helm at Madison Square Garden. The team was a mess and the playoffs were just a dream for the Knickerbockers. But in 2008, things would change at the World’s Most Famous Arena.
Newly signed GM Donnie Walsh took over and cleaned up the mess left behind by Thomas. It took Walsh three years but the wait was well worth it as now the Knicks are back. The signing of Amar’e Stoudemire and the trade for Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups has reinvigorated an entire city, finally bringing playoff basketball to New York after a seven year absence.
Now the team has their own big three in Stoudemire, Melo, and Billups, and 2011 is the year that they can get back to the NBA Finals. A full season of Carmelo and Billups on the Knicks will most likely result in a top five finish in the Eastern Conference, making New York’s chances of reaching the Finals that much better.
The changing of the landscape in the Atlantic Division might me happening soon. The age of Boston is catching up and now is the time for the New York Knicks to take top spot over the Celtics and 76ers.
4. New York Red Bulls
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The Red Bulls do not get much media coverage in New York but maybe it is time for that to change. The team is not afraid to spend the money and make bold moves in the MLS. Led by the legendary Thierry Henry and the Mexican star Rafael Marquez, the team from Harrison, New Jersey went from worst to first a season ago.
The team moved into a brand new state-of-the art soccer specific stadium and out of the cavernous football stadium that they shared with the Jets and Giants. The move into Red Bull Arena has brought a brand new energy in this town, ultimately leading to more wins.
The season ended in disappointment last year for the Red Bulls when they were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs against the San Jose Earthquakes. Though frustrating at the time, winning Supporters Shield (best team in the Eastern Conference) was a huge step forward for a team that finished worst in all of the MLS the season before.
Now with the services of Thierry Henry and young American sensation Juan Agudelo, New York has its best chance ever at winning its first MLS Cup in franchise history.
5. New York Giants
The Giants have historically been superior to their New York rival Jets, but that has not been the case the past two seasons. The Giants could have gone into the playoffs last year as a high seed with a first round bye but surrendered a 31-10 lead with eight minutes left in the fourth quarter to DeSean Jackson and the Philadelphia Eagles.
The loss cost the Giants in the end as they were left out of the playoffs after playing so well for much of the season. The loss to Philadelphia was unfortunate but it still doesn’t take away from the talent that Big Blue has this season.
The Giants still have probably deadliest pass rush in the game with guys like Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora, Jason Pierre-Paul, and Chris Canty anchoring the line. The defense faltered in that Eagles game but this year should be different.
New York added Prince Amukamara to a talented defense along with cornerbacks like Corey Webster and Terrell Thomas.
The Eagles are definitely the favorites this season with the recent acquisition of Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. But you can never count out Tom Coughlin’s team.
6. New York Rangers
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The New York Rangers have spent the money the past few seasons on big free agents but things just haven’t worked out for them. The team has a tendency of starting off well but fading towards the end of the season.
The Rangers were the New York/Metropolitan area’s only hockey team to make the playoffs though they did wind up losing to the Washington Capitals in the Conference Quarterfinals. This makes them the best of the three hockey teams in town.
New York will look to finally get over the hurdle and get back to the Stanley Cup Finals. They might be New York’s best chance of doing so next season.
7. New York Mets
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The Mets were one game away from the World Series in 2006 but lost a heartbreaker against the St. Louis Cardinals as Carlos Beltran went down looking on Adam Wainwright’s wicked 12-6 curveball. Everything has seemed to go wrong ever since.
Two collapses and two horrendous seasons filled with lots of disappointment have dampened the spirits of Mets fans and have made even the most optimistic of fans hesitant to get excited about the start of the 2011 season.
The Mets started off 2011 as bad as you can ever start a season at 4-11 in April. Things were looking all too familiar with players like Jason Bay and David Wright struggling mightily, and injuries setting in to some of the team’s best players.
Incredibly Terry Collins has turned things around as the club is in contention for a Wild Card berth going into the final two months of the season. Collins has brought out the best in his players, winning games despite having stars like Johan Santana, Ike Davis, Jose Reyes, and David Wright all miss time with injuries.
I guess you can call 2011 a success so far even if they don’t make the playoffs. The team has surprised a lot of people who never gave the Mets a chance to win this season.
8. New Jersey Devils
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The New Jersey Devils have been one of the most consistent teams in the NHL for over a decade now with star goaltender Martin Brodeur a fixture in New Jersey for as long as some can remember. The team has always been in contention for a Stanley Cup but suffered one of their worst seasons in a long time when they failed to reach the playoffs last season.
This was the first time since 1995-96 that the Devils haven’t played postseason hockey. New Jersey could not climb out of the hole that they dug themselves in despite ending the season on a high note. The Devils started off 9-22-2 but wound up finishing twelve points behind the Rangers at the conclusion of the season.
Brodeur’s team has won a lot of games the past 10 or so years, so one bad season is not enough for anyone to criticize the team. They are still a team that can go on long winning streaks and scratch out wins.
9. New York Islanders
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The New York Islanders certainly don’t get much attention in New York City but after the run that they went on last year, they have shown some promise for the 2011-12 season.
After starting off the season with the NHL’s worst record at 12-19-6, the Islanders went on an incredible run but fell short of a playoff spot at the end of the season. Had the team not put themselves in a gigantic hole by starting off so poorly, the team from Long Island would have earned a place in the postseason.
New York has a lot of young players who have the potential to become quality players within the next couple of years. Expect the youthful and exciting Islanders team to contend in 2011-12 and get more attention during the hockey season.
10. New Jersey Nets
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The New Jersey Nets have been one of the worst NBA teams the past few seasons. After finishing the 2009-10 season with only 12 wins, the Nets increased their win total to 24 in 2010-11 but still remained the New York/Metropolitan area’s worst sports franchise.
The recent acquisition of Deron Williams and the emergence of Kris Humphries along with big man Brook Lopez have given New Jersey a reason to have hope. In their final season in the state of New Jersey, the Nets will once again have a tough time playing in the Atlantic division which includes the likes of the Boston Celtics, the New York Knicks, and the Philadelphia 76ers.
It will be a tough task but it should be easier with Deron on the team from the start of the season. Maybe 2011-12 can be the season that sparks a new era once the team moves across the river to Brooklyn.