Yes, you can say what you’ve been thinking all along: we’re on track for the worst year in the modern era of New York professional sports.
It’s not hyperbole anymore. Here’s the evidence to support it.
I took the won-loss records of the two main New York metro area sports teams in each of the four major professional sports in the last 50 years: the Nets (since they joined the NBA in 1976), Knicks, Giants, Jets, Yankees, Mets, Devils (since they came to New Jersey in 1982), and Rangers. I then adjusted their records by league, so that the 16-game NFL schedule had equal weight as the 82-game NBA/NHL schedule and the 162-game MLB schedule.
After adjusting all four leagues, I measured each year from the beginning of the MLB season to the end of the NHL/NBA season, and took a “composite winning percentage” from all eight teams (using the percentage of possible “points” for the NHL, which is how they measure the standings).
Sure enough, the 2014-2015 NY Sports Season currently ranks last throughout the last 50 years, and recently by a wide margin.
(Image here, if you can’t see the interactive chart.)
See that huge dip on the very right? That’s this past year’s composite winning percentage of .381. Though some of the early years in the 60s rival it, professional sports were hardly a blip in New York City outside of baseball by that time. In the “modern era” of sports, no season has even come close to this level of haplessness.
It’s still relatively early in the NBA and NHL seasons, and these are projections — i.e. the chart projects the Nets’ 6-9 record over a full season, and uses that as the guideline. The numbers at the end of the year will differ from today’s.
But right now, it isn’t looking pretty. The Mets and Yankees both missed the playoffs, basically canceling each other out with near-.500 records. The Jets and Giants are both in complete disarray, with a combined 5-18 record and both coaches in serious danger of losing their jobs. The Knicks are 4-14 and seem content with losing for a high draft pick, while the Nets sit at 6-9, seeking answers after losing their first seven games against winning teams.
Only the Nets and Rangers have a chance of sniffing the playoffs right now. And championships? Forget it.
I decided not to include the New York Islanders — who rank first in the NHL’s Eastern Conference with a 17-7 record — to keep in tune with the “two teams per sport” rule, and since hockey is the least popular sport among New York sports fans, it seemed unwise to give it the most weight. But even if I did, the Islanders’ success only bumps New York’s winning percentage this season to .417, still dead last in the last 35 years by a comfortable margin. At least Barclays Center gets one winning team next year.
Definitions of “worst” are subjective. Some might argue that 1957, the year the Brooklyn Dodgers left for Los Angeles, might rank as the worst year for New York sports. Maybe watching the New Jersey Nets stumble through a 12-70 season beats out a full decade of the Knicks missing the playoffs. If you’re a hockey fan, you probably felt disgusted in 2005-2006, when a lockout kept you from a full season of fandom.
But this is the bigger picture: New York’s staring down the barrel of possibly their worst year ever in sports. Takes a little luster off tonight’s Nets-Knicks matchup, doesn’t it?
I’m going to go drink some sewer water now.