What a difference a year makes.
A year ago at this time, Metro celebrated Derek Jeter’s farewell as the No. 1 New York sports moment of 2014. Sure, it was a classic moment – but it had little to do with a New York team actually closing in on or capturing a championship title. New Yorkers care about championships and championships alone.
The prospects for 2016? They actually look pretty damn good in terms of there being a parade down the Canyon of Heroes.
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A look at what we think will go down in 2016:
1. Either the Mets or Rangers will win it all
A major New York team hasn’t captured a title since the Giants beat the Patriots four years ago. It’s far from an epic drought for the city. But it’s a drought, nonetheless. Expect the malaise to end in 2016. The Mets, armed with the best young pitching staff in the game, have the weapons necessary to get back to the World Series. The also now have the October experience to win the whole damn thing. As for the Rangers, they’re going through a little funk right now. But better now than in the spring. The NHL season is ridiculously long. The Blueshirts will find their way.
2. The good and bad for Knicks
Kristaps Porzingis will beat out Minnesota’s Karl-Anthony Towns and Philly’s Jahlil Okafor to win the NBA Rookie of the Year award. But the Knicks won’t make the playoffs. Just their luck that the rest of the Eastern Conference finally decided to be decent again. There are nine teams behind the Cavs right now with above-.500 records and all of them are just a few games out of the race for the No. 1 seed. In the entire conference, only the Nets and 76ers have zero chance at making the postseason.
3. Tom Coughlin will “retire”
Coughlin and the Giants will do this the classy way, but the two-time Super Bowl winner will no longer be employed by Big Blue in 2016. The hunt for his replacement will be fascinating as Giants brass are rarely in this spot. After doing their homework, they’ll hire Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. Bill Belichick still holds a place in his heart for the Giants organization and will give McDaniels his blessing. And it may actually work out for this Belichick assistant in New York. Remember, Belichick wasn’t Belichick until he landed his second NFL head coaching gig. McDaniels should be a whole lot better in his second go-round than he was in Denver.
4. Cano will return
The Yankees will have another blah first half of the season, Starlin Castro will be a complete bust, and the Yanks will need to make a big splash at the trade deadline to catch some buzz. They’ll bring back a disgruntled Robinson Cano and Cano will tear it up in late July and have the Yankees in the hunt for a playoff spot. The Yanks won’t get there, but Cano’s return will be hailed as a coup by Brian Cashman.