NEW ORLEANS — Here is what I wish for our humble sporting city some year soon: total, utter and absolute chaos on this January weekend.
Once — just once — it would be something if both of our football teams figure out a way to be good — and I mean really, legitimately good — in the same year, good enough to finish in first place in their respective division, good enough to earn home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. In the same year. At the same time.
The Giants and Jets have shared the same city for a combined 106 seasons in the Super Bowl Era. They have shared the same stadium for a combined 70 seasons since the Jets gave up the ghost at old Shea Stadium and joined the Giants in Jersey in time for the 1984 seasons.
There have been a total — a total — of three championship games played in that time. Three. THREE! And one of them actually deserves an asterisk: the one time the Jets had the game on their home field was in 1968, and they didn’t earn the right by having a better record than the Raiders (the Jets were 11-3 that year, the Raiders 12-2), but because until 1975 pro football randomly rotated where those games were held, unbeholden to who actually had the best record.
So, in essence, we are 2-for-106.
Both were for the Giants, and both were impressive: the 17-0 whitewash of the Redskins in the ’86 NFC Championship (played on Jan. 11, 1987) in which the wind and the epic Giants defense completely dominated, a 17-0 game that felt in every way like it was 71-0. And then there was the 41-0 bloodletting of the Vikings in the 2000 NFC title game (played on Jan. 14, 2001) in which the Giants led 34-0 at the half.
And that’s it.
And what’s more is, there has really never been a year when the possibility of both the Jets and the Giants hosting championship games has ever really been in play. Heck, there have only been five of those years — again, all-caps are warranted: FIVE! — when the two teams have even qualified for the playoffs at the same time.
The closest call was probably 1986, when the Giants started 8-2 on the way to Super Bowl XXI and the Jets started 10-1 — but the Jets quickly went 0-5 to close out the season and squeaked into the playoffs as a wild card.
In November 2008, at a time when the defending-champion Giants were 10-1 and the Jets were 8-3 after knicking off the previously unbeaten Tennessee Titans, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell actually saw fit to clarify what would happen if the Jets and the Giants ever did right their ships completely.
Obviously, holding a championship-day doubleheader would be out of the question. Because even if you held one game at, say, noon and the other at 8:30 p.m., the logistics of turning the stadium over would be virtually impossible. And Goodell said with certainty that they wouldn’t split the games Saturday/Sunday, because that would mean the first game would give one of the participating teams just six days to prepare.
So if and when this happens, there will be one game held Sunday (figure on a 4:30 kickoff) and one Monday night (around 8:30 or so).
Logic and probability tell you that sometime, some year, this has to happen, even if it seems, at this point, virtually impossible to envision that scenario any time soon. Still … that’s what we thought for years and years with the Yankees and the Mets, who shared the city starting in 1962 and never even qualified for the playoffs together until 1999, yet it was the very next year when they delivered a Subway Series to us, and there were decades where we never thought that would happen.
So it could happen.
And when it does …
Well, chaos will have never looked so cool.
There is no way I can recommend strongly enough “Breslin and Hamill: Deadline Artists,” an HBO documentary debuting Jan. 28 at 8 p.m. Folks like me owe our livelihoods to the professional pathways they built for us. But proud New Yorkers are similarly in debt for the way the two of them chronicled our city for well over 100 years between them. Trust me: It runs for close to two hours and you’ll be wanting two more when it’s over.
And if you are looking for one of the truly great books at this early date in 2019, I must tell you to pick up “The Elephant in the Room” by Tommy Tomlinson, a friend who has battled weight issues his entire life and chronicles those struggles elegantly and eloquently.
The time is overdue for the men responsible for the disgrace that Fordham University basketball has become to be shown the door so a competent voice can finally be ushered in at last. That line begins with athletic director David Roach, though he should have some company on his way out.
At the start of my career, Bob Sutton used to give me an awful lot of lessons about the ins and outs of football back when he was the head coach at West Point. I’ll be at the other game Sunday, which means I’ll have no reason not to openly root for Sutton, Kansas City’s defensive coordinator, to make it to the Super Bowl with the Chiefs.
Whack Back at Vac
Harold Frydman: It seems to me if the Nets continue to improve at the rate they’re going, they’ll be the team no one will want to face in the playoffs. And Jarrett Allen is becoming a beast.
Vac: I have a Knicks-fan friend who likes to treat the Nets like he would a bad cough in the wintertime: He ignores it until they go away. I do hope the Nets don’t put him in Urgent Care.
Mike Sullivan: I love Chris Mullin’s comment about no great coaches without great players — it reminds me of Casey Stengel. The Johnnies may be the only NYC team in winter postseason play besides my beloved Cardinal Hayes High School.
Vac: My 35-year-old memory of Cardinal Hayes: soft rims, tough big men.
@martyrosesi: From someone who goes back to the Polo Grounds days, I don’t expect much from this Adam Gase. Weeb Ewbank, Walt Michaels, and Bill Parcells were the only coaches that were any good for the Jets.
@MikeVacc: I tend to laugh when I read Gase regularly insist that he never goes on the internet, but maybe that’s not such a terrible idea.
Frank Gioradano: Is anyone out there starting to like what the Jets are doing?
Vac: See, Coach Gase? Maybe it’s safe to log on after all.