New York Sports Teams-Not a Single Championship Since 2012

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By Marvin A Azrak Around these New York streets, the record for most days without a championship being brought to this city from the four major sports was surpassed long ago and currently stands at 3,535 days and counting since Eli Manning bested the Patriots again on February 5th, 2012, and the G-Men were victorious 21-17 in Super Bowl 46 over the Patriots. The earliest it can end would be in Super Bowl 56 if the Giants, Jets, or Bills win the Super Bowl on February 13th at 3,661  days.

But after the Yankees were eliminated in the Wild Card game on Tuesday night, falling 6-2 to the Boston Red Sox ensured the city of New York will go at least a full decade chip-less, and getting the opportunity to see a parade down the canyon of heroes. However, the Rangers and Mets did give us hope by making the 2014 Stanley Cup Final and 2015 World Series respectively, but that was a tease for both wound up losing in five games to the Los Angeles Kings, and Kansas City Royals. There were also three ALCS appearances by the Bombers, and two conference final appearances during this period by the Islanders. Alas only one team from each sport gets to enjoy the offseason with their fans and that’s a luxury the city of Boston bathed in with the Patriots dynasty, and the Red Sox even bringing home a couple of titles. But nothing from NY, why not? Well, let’s get into each year, and find out. Today’s installment: 2013. Next week: 2014.

2013:

NBA: Knicks: 54-28(L in ECSF), Nets: 49-33(L in ECQF)

The Knicks were coming off a season where they were relevant once again due to the rise of Jeremy Lin, but they didn’t want to bring the star back due to Carmelo Anthony wanting to have his team, and lobbied for  Mike Woodson to become the head coach. Woodson excelled and so did the Knicks, as led by Melo who won the scoring title, sixth man of the year JR Smith, sharpshooter Steve Novak, Tyson Chandler, and Iman Shumpert, while Jason Kidd, Pablo Prigioni, Kenyon Martin, Chris Copeland, and Raymond Felton all contributed off the bench. Grit, toughness, star power, and a team-first mantra led to some memorable moments, and a successful regular season. If you had to pick a winner that defined this team, it was December 11th against the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center. “This game captured what made this team successful. Carmelo scored 45 points and was on a tear from the get-go, J.R. Smith had 18 off the bench and was an all-star every time he stepped on the court. But the moment of this game came from Jason Kidd.

He provided the keen veteran presence and value as a floor general that the Knicks have lacked since this run. In this contest, he scored 18 points, but his final points came off of a four-point play where he was fouled while taking a three. New York won 100-97 rallying from down 14 after the first quarter. The Knicks entered the playoffs as the second seed and faced off against the Boston Celtics. New York tore through the first three games and was firing on all cylinders, but a gritty response by the Celtics in games four and five, set up the moment of the series in game six at TD Garden. The first 36 minutes were subjugated by the knickerbockers who led 77-47 after three, and 75-59 a few minutes into the final frame. But realizing this might be their last game in a Celtics uniform, 2008 champions Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett turned back the clock a few seasons and put the C’s on their back with the held of Avery Bradley for a 20-0 run in a spank of four minutes. Suddenly there was 5:44 remaining, and it was a 75-69 ballgame. The Garden crowd was now in a rambunctious state of rowdiness, almost blowing the roof off of its hinges. However, like they did all season the composure of this Knicks team would show, and they would quickly respond with an Anthony jumper, and a JR Smith three-point play putting them into the lead at 87-79, essentially wrapping up the series and an era in Boston when the buzzer sounded at 88-80 In game 6.

In round two, the Knicks faced off against a Pacers team that finished 49-32 good for third in the East. Indiana took game one, but 10 late points by Pablo Prigioni and a 32 point performance by Carmelo Anthony in a game I attended saw New York even up the series with a 109-75 victory. But when the team traveled to Bankers Life Fieldhouse for the next two games in Indy, they succumbed to the amain tenacity of the Pacers defense, who controlled the “Pace” of games three and four, sending the Knicks into game five at home on the brink of elimination. They would win that game on the back of a 28 point performance by Melo, but little did anybody know at the time it would be the last postseason game at MSG for eight seasons, as Indiana fended off New York’s finest in game six to complete the upset.

When considering the Nets’ time in the NBA up to this point, the 49–33 record in 2013  is tied for the second-best in franchise history. They would net the fourth seed in the East during their first season in Brooklyn but were vanquish in seven games to a scrappy Chicago Bulls team. The Nets dropped a tilt that could’ve gone both ways, losing a triple OT classic 134-132 in game four at United center, but took the next two forcing a game seven. At Barclays Center, the Nets had to wait another season for their signature NY moment falling 99-93. Despite the first-round exit Deron Williams(18.9 PPG) and Brook Lopez(19.4PPG)  showed that with some help this team can go a long way, and in the offseason, the Nets getting “Help” for the dynamite duo is an understatement….

NHL:

Rangers: 45-31-6(L in ECSF), Islanders Islanders: 24-17-7(L in ECQF), Sabres(21-21-6)

The Sabres have been dreadful all-decade never even sniffing the playoffs so we won’t talk about them here. But who we will talk about is the Broadway Blueshirts. The Rangers were able to open their 2013 training camp on January 13, 2013, and begin the lockout-shortened season. They opened the season just how it would end, with a 3-1 loss to the Boston Bruins at TD Garden. Ironically, their first win of the campaign came exactly what their last one would be, which was a 4-3 victory in extra time. Expectations were high coming into this season, especially with head coach Jon Tortorella on the hot seat, trying to lead a team that came within six wins of the Stanley Cup and was the top seed in the East the year prior.

The season would be filled with emotional highs and lows, but it would be the Rangers clinching the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference by five points over the ninth-seeded Winnipeg Jets. In round one, New York trailed 2-0 and 3-2 in the series but was rescued by the greatness of Henrik Lundqvist who backstopped the franchise with two shutouts in two days, 48 hours, and two cities to send them to the second round against Boston.

In a playoff battle or original six teams, the defending Cup champion Bruins didn’t back down and took the first two games in Boston. Back at the Garden, New York struck first in the second period on a Ryan Mcdonah wrist shot, but two tallies in the third by the Bruins and some game-saving stops by Tula Rask, put the Rangers on the brink, and in a 3-0 hole. It was here where the season, in particular, came full circle, as New York would stay alive, and force game five when Chris Kreider redirected Rick Nash’s pass past Rask for the OT winner but would see the series come to a close with a 3-1 defeat down in Boston.

As for the Islanders, they enjoyed a playoff berth for the first time since 1993, going 24-17-7 on the back of franchise cornerstone John Tavares who led the team with 47 points In 48 games. But On March 22, the Islanders were 12th in the Eastern Conference and a playoff spot seemed like a pipe dream. The group would then earn points in 14 of 15 games, including 11 consecutive games with at least a point in the standings to officially clinch a playoff berth a month after being 12th.

Against the one-seeded Pens, the isles didn’t make it easy splitting the first four games of the series, but a 4-0 loss in game five, and a Brooks Orpik OT winner in game six at Nassau  Coliseum sent the fish sticks home for the summer.

NFL: Giants: 9-7(Missed playoffs), Jets: 6-10 ( missed playoffs), Bills 6-10(Missed playoffs)

The G-Men were given benefit of the doubt since they went 9-7 in the season prior, before winning the Super Bowl so for the math to not work out in their favor was something manageable for Giants fans.

As for Gang Green, this was the season of the infamous “Butt Fumble”, the team being compared by many in the media as a “circus” because of the heated QB controversy between Mark Sanchez, and Tim Tebow and one of the worst offensive performances in franchise history only scoring 281 points(17.56 per game) which ranked 30th in football. The fact they finished 6-10, was an attribute to a top 10 defense led by pro-bowlers  Larod Landy, and Antonio Cromartie.

Meanwhile, the Bills had journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick as their QB which told you the state of a team still looking for an identity. Led by head coach Chan Gailey, the defense couldn’t guard a stop sign allowing a league-worst 435 points in 16 games. In a nutshell, it was that type of season for the Bills where if they won games, it was due to the offense doing just enough to back up a rare solid defensive effort on the other side of the ball.

MLB: Yankees: 85-77(Missed playoffs), Mets 74-88(Missed playoffs)

The Bombers missing the postseason in a rare sight signaled the end of an era for this was all-time closer Mariano Rivera’s final season. Mariano won five championships in 19 seasons and was a 13-time all-star, won World Series MVP in 2009, was a five-time reliever of the year winner, and in his final season won AL comeback player of the

Year returning from an ACL tear in 2012. He also finished with an MLB 652 saves and had his #42 retired by the Yankees in Monument Park.

Without the help of core players Derek JeterAlex RodriguezCurtis Granderson, and Mark Teixeira, all of whom had been assigned to extended DL stints, the Bombers remained competitive but could never quite go on a run to catapult them into the playoff picture down the stretch. It was then onto 2014 which ultimately was the captain’s final season, and what a journey it was….

In Queens, On May 30, the Mets swept the Yankees for the second time in the history of the modern Subway Series, but that was their only big-time accomplishment of the season. The team fired manager Terry Collins at the end of the season, ending the stint of the man who eventually did come back, and led them to the 2015 World Series. However, the team did build for the future by acquiring Noah Syndergaard who’s still on the team here in 2021.

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