Top 10 New York Sports Stories of 2021
New York sports in 2021 was full of drama, progress, disappointment and another year of zero 'Big 4' championships. However, it's always a good year in Big Apple sports. That's because there is always something fun to talk about. There are enough major sports soap operas to interest a few cities, nonetheless one. This year was no different. I'm not going to spoil the ending but you know that somehow COVID 19 will find its way on to our list.
#10 New York Yankees starting pitcher Gerrit Cole was dominating Major League hitters until the MLB commissioner decided to crack down on pitchers use of illegal substances to grip the baseball in mid June. Cole was good after that but not like he was prior to the crackdown. The $300 million hurler gave up 3 runs and lasted only 2 innings in the Bronx Bombers 6-2 loss to the Red Sox in 2021 American League Wild Card game.
#9 With 3 games left in the regular season, on May 5th, New York Rangers owner James Dolan fired team president, John Davidson and general manager, Jeff Gorton. The announcement was made days after Davidson and the Rangers issued a scathing statement critical of the NHL and its Department of Player Safety. The statement torched the NHL for failing to suspend Washington forward Tom Wilson following what the Ranger's statement called a "horrifying" infraction that left star forward Artemi Panarin injured. However, the front office change to president and general manager Chris Drury and head coach Gerard Gallant has paid off and the Rangers are off to a fast start.
#8 The New York Jets select quarterback Zach Wilson out of Brigham Young University, 2nd in April's NFL draft. The rookie is off to a questionable start in his first season behind center for the Jets but they have won twice as many games as they did last year, already. It's all about wins.
#7 Brooklyn Nets superstar Kyrie Irving, fresh off of Brooklyn's early ouster from the NBA Playoffs with Irving injured for the final losses, decided against getting vaccinated for COVID 19 and therefore rendered himself ineligible to participate in games New York City.
#6 New York Giants head coach Joe Judge has not made progress in year 2 with the franchise. After showing some progress at the end of the 2020 NFL campaign, Judge and the Giants have been a complete disappointment this year, going 4-11 so far. The young head coach gets a D for 2021.
#5 The Buffalo Bills lose the AFC Championship game to the Kansas City Chiefs 38-24. After years of disappointment, the Bills faithful had finally been rewarded and their hopes hang on the arm of #17, their quarterback Josh Allen.
#4 The New York Knicks had gone 7 seasons without making the playoffs. New team president Leon Rose and his trusty new skipper Tom Thibodeau transformed Julius Randle into a superstar and the Knicks secured at #4 seed in the 2020-21 NBA Playoffs. They lost to #5 seed, Clifton Park's Kevin Huerter's Atlanta Hawks but they made it and brighter days are ahead.
#3 The New York Islanders say goodbye to 'the Barn', the Nassau Coliseum, with an explosion with a June 23rd 3-2 overtime victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup semi finals. Beer cans rained down onto the ice away from the players in a surreal Long Island Barn celebration.
#2 The New York Yankees finish a disappointing season by losing in the American League Wild Card Game 6-2 to the Boston Red Sox. Bombers ace Gerrit Cole pitched a meager 2 innings. Red Sox sluggers Xander Bogaerts and Alex Verdugo knocked in 5 runs to knock out manager Aaron Boone and the Pinstripes. General Manager Brian Cashman gave Boone a new 3 year deal after the season.
#1 New York Mets owner Steve Cohen delivers for his faithful fans. They wanted Buck Showalter to manage the team. They got it. They wanted a front line pitcher to go with Jacob deGrom. Cohen broke the bank and paid Max Scherzer more per year than any other player, after signing Starling Marte, Eduardo Escobar and Mark Canha. The billionaire purchased the #1 spot on our list! Let me know @charlievoelker on Twitter if you have any additions! Happy New Year!