All four of the New York area’s football and baseball teams choked pretty badly at some point in this decade, but all of them found success as well. Below, I will give a brief description of how each team fared in the 2000’s and give them a grade.
New York Yankees: B-
The Yankees were “built to win” at many points in the mid-2000’s but the team on the field found choking to be an annual occurrence. In the beginning of the decade, a crucial World Series victory over the cross-town rival Mets fueled bragging rights for Yankees fans for years to come. However, a pair of World Series losses to Arizona and Florida had fans scratching their heads as to why the team couldn’t build upon a dynasty. Following the World Series losses, the organization unraveled when they were unable to wrap up a 3 games to none series lead in the 2004 ALCS against Boston. The Yankees never really recovered, failing to win a playoff series until their 2009 World Series victory. In the latter half of the decade, their streak of division titles ended and even missed the playoffs in 2008. Their manager was more or less ran out of town following another first round exit in 2007 and the younger Joe Girardi took the helm.
New York Giants: B
Big Blue started the decade with a bang, clinching the NFC East, home field adavantage, and the whole package when they finished with a 12-4 mark in 2000 under head coach Jim Fassel. Although the Giants failed to win the Super Bowl that season, their 41-0 massacre of the Minnsota Vikings in the NFC Championship game had Giants Stadium bouncing up and down. The following season, the defending NFC champion Giants came up short on returning to the playoffs, but a solid 2002 campaign showed that Big Blue wasn’t about to sink to extinction. In the biggest game since the 2000 NFC Championship Game, the Giants had to win in week 17 in order to make the playoffs. To make things even more difficult, they were facing the first place Eagles. The Giants ended up winning in what could be the best way to win a football game, a game-winning field goal in overtime. In 2003, a promising 4-4 start took a sudden turn for the worse. The team dropped their final eight games en route to a 4-12 mark that signaled the departure of head coach Jim Fassel. The Giants decided to shake up the team by hiring a strict disciplinarian head coach in Tom Coughlin, and the team began a quick turnaround. They acquired the 2004 draft’s top player in Eli Manning, and improved upon the 4-12 mark by winning two more games in 2004 before a breakout season in 2005. In Manning’s first full year as starting quarterback, the Giants started 6-2 and ended with their best record since 2000 at 11-5. The Giants remained as one of the top teams in the league throughout the remainder of the decade, making the playoffs four consecutive years and winning three division titles along the way. The 2007 season reminded you of classic and traditional Giants football, as a solid defense and tough, three-headed running game led the team to an improbable Super Bowl title. The 2008 season was reminiscent of 2000, as the talented team finished at 12-4 with home field advantage yet again. The 2009 season started strong but was hampered by a slumping defense that ended up costing the team a playoff spot for the first time since 2004, ruining one of the best seasons offensively by the Giants in many years. In the end, the Giants organization remained one of the best in football through the decade, producing coordinators from within that have become head coaches in the league such as John Fox, Sean Payton, and Steve Spagnuolo.
New York Mets: C
In 2000, not everyone believed the wild card Mets would make it to the World Series. In the days of Mike Hampton, Timo Perez, Mike Piazza, Edgardo Alfonzo, Rey Ordonez, etc, the Mets dominated former division rival St. Louis Cardinals in the NLCS. The team only managed to win one game in the 2000 World Series, but it was more than enough for the Mets fans that didn’t expect much out of the season. The Mets entered the dark age for a few seasons, as they sat on the cellar of the NL East from the 2001 season all the way until the much-improved 2005 season. New general manager Omar Minaya brought in superstar players such as Pedro Martinez and playoff hero Carlos Beltran, all while he farmed prospects Jose Reyes and David Wright into the MLB system. This bounce-back season setup the breakout 2006 season, when the Mets won 97 games and the top seed in the MLB Playoffs. After sweeping the Dodgers out of the NLDS, the Mets were hoping for a World Series appearance by beating the Cardinals in the ensuing NLCS round. The Mets lost the nail-biting series in the 9th inning of game 7, but the team didn’t fall into the shadows of defeat. In 2007, the Mets remained the top team throughout the season, but a late-season collapse stunned the team and their fans. In 2008, the team was in the playoff race until the final game, when a loss combined with a Brewers victory officially eliminated the team from any possible playoff contention. An injury-riddled 2009 season knocked the Mets out of contention early, as nearly every starter from every position on the field endured a stint on the Disabled List.
New York Jets: C
The Jets, similar to the Mets, were not known as a dangerous threat in the 2000’s. They made the playoffs in consecutive seasons only once (2001, 2002), compared to the Giants’ four consecutive seasons. However, a lucky division title in 2001 gave the Jets something to look forward to. Despite a 2-5 start, the team rebounded to somehow win the division at 9-7 and clinched a home playoff game that season. The Jets surprisingly blanked the Colts, 41-0, but fell to the Oakland Raiders in the playoffs for the second straight year. The Jets struggled to a 6-10 mark the following season, but a strong output in 2004 led to a miracle playoff victory against San Diego in 2004 that nearly ended the Jets’ season. The Jets lived to play another day, but a series of missed field goals by kicker Doug Brien in the Divisional playoffs against Pittsburgh sealed New York’s fate. A quick one-and-done playoff appearance in 2006 was sandwiched between by two 4-12 seasons. Although New York is in the playoff race so far this season, an inconsistent rookie quarterback coupled with a rookie head coach has shown its’ growing pains. Thankfully for New York, the luck continues to fall into place. They will have ended their season against two teams that had nothing to play for, more or less potentially gift-wrapping a playoff spot and setting it under their Christmas tree.