My 2013 New York Sports Wish List

I thought about writing a recap of last week’s game, but what is there to say, really?  McElroy was sacked 11 times – that was impressive.  Jeremy Kerley, a WR, threw one of the longest passes of the season.  That was also impressive.  And once again the team made more headlines off the field (mostly Tebow-related), than it did on the field.  But that’s nothing new in 2012 for the New York Jets.

This week’s game – thankfully, the last – will be very difficult to watch.  I barely made it through 3 quarters of last week’s game (kudos to fellow diehard Greg for watching it with me in London), especially after it was clear that 90% of the team were phoning it in (McElroy, Kerley, Landry, Wilkerson and Coples were the only ones who seemed to care).  I will probably watch the 1st half on Sunday, simply for laughs and because the sadist in me will enjoy watching the team go down in flames.

So with the season and 2012 coming to an end, and my move back to New York just a few months away, I thought I’d put together a New York sports “wish list” for 2013.  Limiting it to just the Jets would be too painful to write….so, here goes:

1. A New GM for the Jets – someone who has a clue and a vision for the franchise.  Someone with 100% control over personnel decisions.  Someone who knows how to (re)build a franchise.  Someone who knows how to scout and build through the draft.  Bill Polian comes to mind.  So does another Bill P.  But they are both probably too smart for the job.  This will be Woody Johnson’s most important decision since he purchased the team.  No pressure.

2. A championship for the Knicks – why not dream big?  This is the most talented and deep team since the glory days of ’94 (the Sprewell team of ’99 was fun, but not nearly as talented).  Last night’s loss against the Lakers was as confidence-building a loss as there could be.  Carmelo is playing on another level, and if they can figure out how to integrate Stoudemire, and more importantly, Shumpert (their best 1:1 defender), this team has a real chance.  It’s been nearly 40 years since our last championship – we’re due.

3. Hope for the Mets – Unlike the Jets, at least the Mets appear to have a plan.  Sandy Alderson seems to be making all the right moves and I believe in what he’s building.  Now it’s still pathetic that a baseball team in the biggest sports market has to pinch pennies, but Alderson is making the most of what he has while building for the future.  I was bummed to see Dickey go, but it was the right move.  Resigning Wright had to happen or there would have been a fan mutiny.  And if Harvey continues to develop, with Wheeler not far behind, they could have a dominant 1-2 pitching combo for years to come (and let’s not forget about Jon Niese, who ESPN analyst Buster Olney said could be a “hidden ace” next year).  This team will be bad in 2013, but could contend as soon as 2014.

4. An end to the NHL strike – I’ve been an Islanders fan for as long as I can remember.  My parents had season tickets in the glory days – the Dynasty days – of the 80’s.  I grew up idolizing Brian Trottier, Billy Smith, Mike Bossy, Clark Gillies and so many of the other Islander greats.  But since those days, this has been one sorry franchise.  Last year we saw our first glimmers of hope, as players like Tavares, Bailey and Grabner really came into their own.  And with a slew of highly touted prospects on their way (Strome, Reinhart), this could be finally be a team worth rooting for again.  And of course, they are moving to Brooklyn in just a few years.  So let’s please end the strike (that said, has anyone noticed?), and let these guys play.

That’s my abbreviated list.  There are probably 9 other things I could put on the Jets’ list alone, but we’ll save that for early next year.

Finally, in somewhat related news, I won my fantasy football league as the no. 8 seed. Pure dumb luck.  At least one of my teams won something in 2012…



Squish the Fish

That was always one of my favorite pre-game chants for the annual Jets-Dolphins showdown at the Meadowlands.  I haven’t been back for one of these games since they moved to the new stadium, but if the trash talk this week is any indication, the pre-game scene in the parking lot should be just as intense and fun.

Much has been written about how improved the Dolphins are since the Jets last faced them.  And while they have evened their record at 3-3, those wins have come against the Raiders and Rams (a game they barely won) at home and Cincy on the road.  I don’t doubt they are an improved team, but this should be a winnable game for the Jets.  Our run D has improved every week since the Dolphins’ game, and if we shut down Bush, we should be able to force rookie QB Ryan Tannehill into mistakes.  Sanchez will have to make some big throws, just like last week, and he’ll be under more pressure.  But with Keller back (he missed the last game) and Kerley playing like a #1 receiver, I expect another solid performance in the air.  Let’s just hope they get the game in before Frankenstorm arrives…

Another New York team made big news this week: the New York Islanders.  I grew up in a family of diehard Islander fans – my parents had season tixx throughout the 80s and were lucky enough to watch four Stanley Cup victories in a row – one of the few true dynasties in sports.  Since that time however, it’s been pretty much misery.  Numerous owners, over 10 head coaches, and a lot of bad hockey.  Making matters worse, they played in one of the worst arenas in all of sports – Nassau Coliseum.  And while I have fond memories of the place, it’s fallen apart in recent years and was generally regarded as a dump (much like the former home of my beloved Mets – Shea Stadium).

So it was very welcome news this week to learn that the Islanders would be moving to Brooklyn.  While the news was surely met with mixed emotions by many Long Island fans, this move is a great one for the franchise.  They get the stability and world-class arena they’ve been craving, and the team stays in New York (there were serious threats of a move to Kansas City, etc.).  The team will now be able to attract marquee free agents and with a young and promising core, this will be a team to be reckoned with again in the near future – if the lockout ever ends, of course.

Somewhat coincidentally, a fellow Jets and Islanders fan (but alas, Yankees fan) this week sent me this clip – it hit a little too close to home.  If you are a Jets/Islanders/Mets fan, you must watch this:  Are You a JIM?

Kick-off is in 4 hours….Let’s Go Jets!