NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It’s the thought on the minds of many local sports fans: when will a New York City-area team win a championship again?
“It doesn’t feel too great to be honest with you. It would be nice to at least have a team that made it to the finals in any sport,” Manhattan resident Matt Denicoon told CBS2’s Steve Overmyer on Wednesday.
It has been seven years since the Giants hoisted the Vince Lombardi Trophy after winning Super Bowl XLVI.
And there hasn’t been much to talk about.
The city’s perennial best hope, the Yankees, just came up short again in the AL Championship Series. The Mets‘ run at a playoff spot was ultimately doomed during the first half of the season by a bullpen that couldn’t close out games.
The Jets and Giants are currently a combined 3-10 and it looks like it would like take a miracle for either to finish .500, let alone win a ring.
Many experts believe the Knicks, who seem to always be in the throes of some kind of chaotic transition, will be lucky to win 30 games this season.
As for hockey, a sport that doesn’t get as much attention as baseball, football and basketball in this town, the Islanders are intriguing. They have arguably the best coach in the NHL in Barry Trotz and some very good young players and rock-solid veterans. However, they remain largely unchanged from the team that only made it to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs last spring. That may mean another early exit from the postseason next spring, should they even qualify.
It would be unfair to the soccer fans in our area if we didn’t mention New York City FC, which is in its fifth season of operation. The other team that calls Yankee Stadium home is just two wins from playing for the MLS Cup title, something the area’s other MLS team, the Red Bulls, hasn’t won in its quarter-century history.
But as far as enthusiasm for the sport goes, futbol remains a hard sell to the city’s sports purists.
That leaves the Brooklyn Nets as the team many see as having the best chance to win New York City’s first championship since the Giants captured the NFL crown in February of 2012.
Can the Nets really be the team to restore order to Gotham’s universe? They did make the playoffs last season and had what many considered a spectacular offseason, but arguably their best player, newcomer Kevin Durant, likely won’t play until next season due to injury.
Remember, this is a franchise that is largely viewed as the little brothers to the Knicks, regardless of how dysfunctional the occupants of Madison Square Garden tend to look.
New point guard Kyrie Irving seems confident the Nets will be the talk of the town this season and will earn the respect of basketball fans everywhere.
“It’s a respect thing. If you can play, they’ll respect you. If you play hard every night, they’ll respect you. No matter if you’re in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, Harlem. It doesn’t matter,” Irving said.
Some Knicks fans welcome the idea of the Nets being the team to beat in the city.
“Brooklyn has never been an outcast. Its always been the Knicks, because that’s what New York had. The Nets were New Jersey. Now they’re in Brooklyn. Bring it on,” said Jonathan Colon of the Bronx.
The Nets have earned their blue collar persona, they work hard on both sides of the court and have more talent than they’ve had in years, including small forward Caris LeVert and guard Spencer Dinwiddie. Add that to the bold summer of acquisitions, we may be on the verge of the dawn of a new day in New York City sports.
But the question still remains: Can you really envision the Nets on floats coming down the Canyon of Heroes?
“Those guys over there at the Garden, they’re not gonna be the guys clapping,” said Joe Shabot of Brooklyn. “If you get guys the caliber of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant people are gonna wanna come watch. You’re welcome, bandwagoners.”