Giants And Jets Have NFL’s Biggest Market Enjoying October Football For First Time In Years

Sports talk radio in New York City was abuzz with talk of the New York Mets’ embarrassing exit from the MLB playoffs Monday in a way only this tough-nosed market knows how to state its point.

“Up here today you’d think the [bleeping] Mets finished in last place,” Hall of Fame football coach and bigtime baseball fan Bill Parcells said on a cellular connection. “They won 101 games. But New York’s a tough place to play if you’re not winning.”

Bill Parcells
JUPITER, FLORIDA – MARCH 04: NFL Hall of Fame coach Bill Parcells attends batting practice before the spring training game between the Miami Marlins and the Baltimore Orioles at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium on March 04, 2020 in Jupiter, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty dImages)

First Hand Experience

Parcells knows first-hand because he was the coach of the New York Giants in lean years and championship years. And he was the coach of the New York Jets when they made the playoffs and also missed the playoffs.

So he knows about Gotham’s passion. He knows the Big Apple can adore its teams or threaten to storm team facility gates depending on the standings.

And the last few years the standings have been unkind to both the Jets and Giants. The two New York teams have, in fact, tied for the fewest wins in the NFL the past five seasons from 2017 to 2021.

Each won an NFL low 22 games in that span. Even the Jacksonville Jaguars won three more games than that.

But this year has so far been different. There’s been a professional football renaissance in New York with the Giants tied for second place in the NFC East at 4-1 and the Jets in second place in the AFC East with a 3-2 record.

It is the first time since 2015 both teams have a winning record at the same time.

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – NOVEMBER 18: The New York Giants and Tampa Bay Buccaneers stand on the field during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium on November 18, 2018 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

Football Season In New York Not Over This October

“The teams around here have been so bad that fans woke up here this morning and went, ‘Wow, the Giants have the second-best record in the league and the Jets are over .500 and we’re already five weeks into the season,’ ” said Gary Myers who spent 29 years covering both teams as a football columnist for the New York Daily News.

“Usually by this point everybody’s thinking about who they’re going to tank for to get in the draft next year.”

Not this season.

The Giants have come out of nowhere — if that’s possible for a team from New York — to shock 2021 playoff teams Tennessee in the opener and the Green Bay Packers in London on Sunday.

The Jets have won three of their last four games and two games in a row, including Sunday’s blowout 40-17 victory over the Miami Dolphins.

Playoffs here they come!

NASHVILLE, FL – SEPTEMBER 11: Saquon Barkley #26 of the New York Giants carries the ball during an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium on September 11, 2022 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images)

Saquon Barkley Leads A Revival

“If you’re smart you’ll wait until Thanksgiving,” Parcells said. “You know, after Thanksgiving is the best time to really start to evaluate things and how they’re shaping up. A lot can happen between now and then.”

That’s obviously true but New York is enjoying the run in the moment and Parcells can understand why, especially with the Giants he coached to two Super Bowl titles.

“They’re playing pretty good situational defense and Saquon Barkley is more like the rookie Saquon Barkley and less like the two years in between,” Parcells said. “He looks like a really good pro back right now.

“As a result, they’ve got a little balance in their attack and Daniel Jones is playing well, and I have to give the coach credit for that. He’s got him doing what he can do and, you know, he’s a pretty good athlete, this kid. He can run around. He can convert first downs.

“I still have some reservations. But I think they’ve done a real good job coaching. I like their defensive coach Wink Martindale. I thought he did a terrific job [against Green Bay]. You know, you get a combination of those things, the confidence gets up and things happen.”

Myers sees what Parcells sees with the Giants.

“The Giants are pretty much playing without any receivers,” he said. “All their guys are hurt or they’re bad. Kenny Golladay has been hurt and he’s been terrible. Kadarius Toney they can’t get the guy on the field, Sterling Shepherd is out of the year.

“They’re playing guys like Richie James and David Sills. Darius Slayton played well a few years ago but he was on the verge of getting cut and now he’s their most accomplished receiver.”

PITTSBURGH, PA – OCTOBER 02: Zach Wilson #2 of the New York Jets in action during the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Acrisure Stadium on October 2, 2022 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)

Jets Young And Improving

The Jets, oddly, are perhaps further along in their development than the Giants despite the inferior record.

Quarterback Zach Wilson has looked better in the two games he’s played than he did last year as a rookie. Breece Hall is blossoming into a good running back, Receiver Garrett Wilson is being compared in some circles to Justin Jefferson and Sauce Gardner is starting to play like a shutdown corner.

“They got a young team,” Parcells said. “They’re hustling and their confidence level is growing. But I got to see more, you know what I mean?”

That’s fair. The story of the 2022 New York Jets and New York Giants is far from written. But the first few chapters have been a gift for the NFL’s biggest market.

“I think it’s better for the NFL when at least one of the New York teams is in it,” Myers said. “It’s because there’s such a huge audience here. When New York fans are indifferent I don’t think that’s good for the league.

“The NFL isn’t going out of business because the New York teams suck but it’s better for them if these high-profile teams in New York are at least competitive.”

Parcells agrees the NFL is more compelling when its New York legacy teams are relevant.

“Well, I think it is,” Parcells said. “I think it is and make no apology for that.”

Spoken like a true New Yorker.

Follow on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero

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Written by Armando Salguero

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