It just happened–for the first time in history: Giants, Jets, Knicks, Rangers won on same day

IMG_0104December 11, 2016 was a landmark day in New York sports history. On that Sunday, the Giants, Jets, Knicks and Rangers all won.

Big deal you say? Well….yes. As a matter of fact, 12/11/16 marked the first and only time all four of those NY teams won on the same day. And that goes back to 1960, the year the Jets took off….as the New York Titans.

Think about that for a minute. 57 seasons of competition. Five Super Bowl championships, two NBA titles and a Stanley Cup. And yet, not once did the Giants, Jets, Knicks and Rangers ever win on the same day. Until December 11.

Oh sure, there were hundreds of instances when the four didn’t play on the same day. The Jets on a Sunday, the Giants on a Monday for instance. Strikes by the NFL, NBA and NHL also came into play several times.

In the entire decade of the 70s (from 1971-80), the Giants and the Jets managed to win on the same day just three times. That’s some lousy football.

On four separate occasions – in 2014, 1988, 1968 and 1962 – the Giants, Jets and Rangers all won on the same day. But the Knicks lost. In 2010 both football teams won along with the Knicks, but the Rangers lost.

Four others times, in 1986, 1971, 1968 and 1962, the football teams both won but the Knicks lost to the Lakers. In each case, the Rangers were idle.

Finally, on Dec. 11 it all clicked. That day the Jets rallied to beat the 49ers 23-17 in overtime on a 19-yard touchdown run by Bilal Powell. On Sunday night, the Giants defeated the Cowboys 10-7 as Odell Beckham caught a 61-yard touchdown pass from Eli Manning for the game winner. The Rangers, playing at Madison Square Garden that night, routed the Devils 5-0. behind the shutout goaltending of Antti Raanta. And later that night, on the West Coast, the Knicks beat the Lakers 122-118 as Kristaps Porzingis scored 26 points and Derrick Rose added 25.


Rangers are up, Knicks are down

Who are these guys? The Knicks. For starters, perhaps the worst team in NBA history.

It’s like night and day for the two main tenants at Madison Square Garden these days. The Rangers are soaring, having won 12 of their last 13 games, their hottest streak since the Stanley Cup season of 1993-94. And the Knicks. Unwatchable.

When Phil Jackson took over last year, Knick fans were hoping that their team might finally reach the championship heights last seen in 1973. At the very least, they were hoping for a competitive team. After all, just two seasons ago the Knicks won 54 games and finished second in the NBA Eastern Conference.

Instead, we’ve been sold a bill of goods with yet another rebuilding program, another wait-until-next-year approach. Listen up Zen Doctor, 40 years of mostly lousy basketball is long enough.

The Knicks are currently on a 14-game losing streak, the longest in their star-crossed history. They’ve lost 24 of their last 25 games, and at 5-34 stand last in the league, behind even the lowly Philadelphia 76ers, who lost their first 17 games. At this pace, they could finish with the worst single-season record in NBA history, behind the 9-73 76ers of 1972-73.

The worst record in team history belongs to the 1963-63 Knicks, who were 21-59, a .263 winning percentage. At least that team had some exciting players in future Hall of Famers Tom Gola and Richie Guerin, along with Johnny Green and Willie Naulls. And they were just a couple of years away from drafting players like Willis Reed, Walt Frazier, Bill Bradley, and yes, Phil Jackson, who would lead the Knicks to their only two NBA titles.

Here’s a challenge. Name three players on the today’s Knicks other than Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire, who never play anyway.

At least there’s hope with the Rangers, who made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals last year before losing to the Los Angeles Kings. The Blueshirts are currently the hottest team in the NHL, light years away from their worst team. That would be the 6-39-5 club of 1943-44.

With goalie Henrik Lundqvist, Rick Nash on a goal-scoring tear and a corps of young defensemen, the Rangers are poised for another playoff run. The Knicks. They’ll be on the sidelines, waiting and watching.


1966: The Worst of New York sports

New York sports fans will be glad when they bring down the big ball on 2013 in Times Square on New Year’s Eve. No playoffs outside of the Knicks, Nets, Rangers and Islanders — and look where those teams are right now. No baseball playoffs. No football playoffs. No nothing.

Take heart, 1966 was worse. Fuhgeddaboudit!

New York sports fans, don’t despair. With the Mets and Yankees both struggling to live up to expectations, the Rangers facing a long summer after being ousted by the Penguins, and the Knicks (well, let’s not even go there), times have been tough lately in Gotham.

Let’s forget, for purposes of this exercise, the Giants improbable Super Bowl victory over the previously unbeaten New England Patriots. Since February, it’s been nothing but doom and gloom on the New York sports scene. But it could be worse, much worse. It could be 1966, the worst year ever for professional sports in New York.

1966. Lyndon B. Johnson was President, the first Star Trek episode aired, Truman Capote wrote “In Cold Blood”, and a gallon of regular gasoline cost 32 cents. The first Super Bowl, Woodstock and Richard M. Nixon were just over the horizon.

The Yankees, Giants, Rangers and Knicks all finished in last place. Only the Jets, third in the AFL East, and the Mets, ninth in the National League after four successive last-place finishes. avoided the basement. It was bad. It was worse then bad, it was terrible, embarrassing, pathetic.

The Yankees were the biggest disappointment. Just two years from a fifth straight World Series appearance — and after dominating baseball for more than 40 years — the Bronx Bombers finished 10th and last in the America League for the first time since 1912 with a 70-89 record, 26 1/2 games behind the Baltimore Orioles.

Led the by the likes of Horace Clarke, Steve Whitaker and Dooley Womack, the Yankees hit rock bottom on September 22, 1966. That day, paid attendance of 413 was announced at the 65,000-seat Yankee Stadium. Legendary broadcaster Red Barber asked TV cameras to pan the empty stands as he commented on the low attendance. Although denied the camera shots on orders from the Yankees’ head of media relations, Red said, “I don’t know what the paid attendance is today, but whatever it is, it is the smallest crowd in the history of Yankee Stadium, and this crowd is the story, not the game.” The Yankees lost to the White Sox that day 4-1.

The Mets actually wound up with a worse record than the Yankees, 66-95, but showed signs of progress, finishing out of the National League cellar and avoiding 100 losses for the first time in their history. Led by the likes of Ed Kranepool and Ron Swoboda, the Mets would draw nearly two million fans to Shea Stadium.

No Defense for Giants
That fall, the football Giants finished with the worst record in their illustrious history, 1-12-1 and last in the NFL East. There was no defense. The Giants surrendered 501 points that year, a record for a 14-game schedule. They lost 52-7 to Dallas, 55-14 to Los Angeles and 72-41 to Washington. Gary Wood and Earl Morrall shared quarterback duties, and Chuck Mercein led the team in rushing with a paltry 327 yards.

The Jets were starting to show promise under young quarterback Joe Namath, but wound up with a mediocre 6-6-2 record. On November 27, 1966, the same day the Giants gave up the NFL regular-season record 72 points to the Redskins, the Jets were beaten 32-24 by Kansas City, marking one of the darkest days in New York pro football history.

Things weren’t a heckuva lot better at the old Madison Square Garden on Eighth Avenue and 49th Street. The Knicks would finish 30-50, last in the NBA’s Eastern Division for the seventh straight season. And the Rangers would finish last, out of the playoffs for the fourth straight year in the six-team NHL, midway though a 54-year Stanley Cup drought.

Even during these darkest hours, (it’s always darkest just before the dawn), the Jets, Mets and Knicks were all within four years of winning championships. It would take a bit longer for the Yankees, who returned to baseball prominence with a refurbished Yankee Stadium and an American League pennant in 1976, and World Championships the following two years.

For the Giants, the climb was steep, the team finally returning to the playoffs in 1981 after an 18-year drought, and winning the Super Bowl five seasons later. And in 1994, the Rangers won the Stanley Cup.


There’s Never Been a Hoop/Hockey Double

The New York Rangers won the Stanley Cup in 1994, but the Knicks couldn’t complete the double as they fell to the Houston Rockets in seven games.

With the NHL and NBA playoffs just getting started, five cities have the opportunity to accomplish something that’s never been done before — win hockey and basketball championships in the same year.

Only Boston, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles and Phoenix remain in the race to win the elusive double rings.

Since the NBA was founded in 1946, eight cities have had teams in both the NBA and NHL finals in the same year. But none of those cities was able to win both a Stanley Cup and an NBA championship.

In both 1957 and 1958, the Celtics and Bruins played for championships for the city of Boston. In 1957, the Celtics won their NBA championship when they beat the St. Louis Hawks in seven games.The following year the Celtics lost to St. Louis in six games.

The Bruins meanwhile, lost both Stanley Cup finals to the Montreal Canadiens, in five games in 1957 and six games in 1958. The Canadiens were in the midst of a five-year championship run.

In 1972, both the Knicks and Rangers made their respective finals. That year the Lakers defeated in the Knicks in five games for the NBA crown, and Boston defeated New York in six games for the Stanley Cup.

Two years later, in 1974, the Celtics, led by center Dave Cowens, left, beat the Milwaukee Bucks in seven games, but the Philadelphia Flyers surprised the Bruins in six games to win their first Stanley Cup.

The City of Brotherly Love was a two-time loser in 1980 — the 76ers lost to rookie point guard Magic Johnson and the Lakers in six games while the New York Islanders took the Flyers in six games for the first of four straight  Stanley Cups.

In 1992, Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls beat Portland in six games, but the Blackhawks were swept by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Stanley Cup finals.

New York came closest to the double rings in 1994. That year the Rangers beat Vancouver in seven games to win their first Stanley Cup in 54 years. But the Knicks fell to the Houston Rockets in another seven-game series.

Finally, in 2003, the New Jersey Devils beat the Anaheim Ducks in seven games to win the Stanley Cup, while the Nets lost to the San Antonio Spurs in six games.


A New York Hat Trick: All in One Day

It would have been a tight squeeze, but with a little ingenuity fans could have seen the Knicks, Giants and Rangers on the same day.

The enterprising New York could have caught three originals franchises in action today – the Knicks, Giants and Rangers.

  • The Knicks in a noon matinee against the Nets at the Garden
  • The Giants in a 4:15 kick against the Cowboys in the Meadowlands
  • And the Rangers in a 7 pm face against the Red Wings at MSG

Sure, it’s probably happened before. And it would have taken some hop-scotch back and forth across or under the Hudson to make it happen again.

But if anyone out there did it, send me a post card.

You are my hero.


Top 10: New York State of Mind

 

The SportsLifer couldn’t get through the year without one more top 10 list.

So here they are, the top 10 moments in New York sports, 2008.

1. Catch XLII: Sparked by the unbelievable Eli Manning to David Tyree pass play, the Giants rally to defeat the previously unbeaten Patriots in the Super Bowl.

2. Yankee Money: Failing to make the playoffs for the first time in 15 years, Yankees sign free agents C.C. Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Mark Texiera.

3. House Cleaning: The Knicks finally manage to get rid of Isiah Thomas, and new coach Mike D’Antoni puts Stephon Marbury out to pasture.

4. Collapse: For the second year in a row, the Mets fall apart in a September swoon and allow the Phillies to steal the NL East championship.

5. Collapse Redux: Brett Favre and the Jets lose four of their final five games and miss the playoffs, forcing the removal of coach Eric Mangini.

6. Final Farewell: Many of the greats return as the Yankees play the final game in the House that Ruth Built and the Mets close Shea Stadium.

7. Giants Among Men: Despite the distraction of the Plaxico Burress shooting, the Giants earn top seed in the NFC heading into the playoffs.

8. He Said, He Said: Disgraced Roger Clemens tries to clear his name of steroid allegations by trainer Brian McNamee.

9. Domination on Ice: The Rangers continue their sudden mastery of the cross-river rival Devils, taking round one of the Stanley Cup playoffs 4 games to 1.

10. Smart Sign: The Mets pull a huge off-season deal, acquiring left-handed pitcher Johan Santana from the Minnesota Twins to fortify their pitching staff.


1966: The Worst of New York Sports

New York sports fans, don’t despair. With the Mets and Yankees both struggling to live up to expectations, the Rangers facing a long summer after being ousted by the Penguins, and the Knicks (well, let’s not even go there), times have been tough lately in Gotham.

Let’s forget, for purposes of this exercise, the Giants improbable Super Bowl victory over the previously unbeaten New England Patriots. Since February, it’s been nothing but doom and gloom on the New York sports scene.
But it could be worse, much worse. It could be 1966, the worst year ever for professional sports in New York.

1966. Lyndon B. Johnson was President, the first Star Trek episode aired, Truman Capote wrote “In Cold Blood”, and a gallon of regular gasoline cost 32 cents. The first Super Bowl, Woodstock and Richard M. Nixon were just over the horizon.

The Yankees, Giants, Rangers and Knicks all finished in last place. Only the Jets, third in the AFL East, and the Mets, ninth in the National League after four successive last-place finishes. avoided the basement. It was bad. It was worse then bad, it was terrible, embarrassing, pathetic.

The Yankees were the biggest disappointment. Just two years from a fifth straight World Series appearance — and after dominating baseball for more than 40 years — the Bronx Bombers finished 10th and last in the America League for the first time since 1912 with a 70-89 record, 26 1/2 games behind the Baltimore Orioles.

Led the by the likes of Horace Clarke, Steve Whitaker and Dooley Womack, the Yankees hit rock bottom on September 22, 1966. That day, paid attendance of 413 was announced at the 65,000-seat Yankee Stadium. Legendary broadcaster Red Barber asked TV cameras to pan the empty stands as he commented on the low attendance. Although denied the camera shots on orders from the Yankees’ head of media relations, Red said, “I don’t know what the paid attendance is today, but whatever it is, it is the smallest crowd in the history of Yankee Stadium, and this crowd is the story, not the game.” The Yankees lost to the White Sox that day 4-1.

The Mets actually wound up with a worse record than the Yankees, 66-95, but showed signs of progress, finishing out of the National League cellar and avoiding 100 losses for the first time in their history. Led by the likes of Ed Kranepool and Ron Swoboda, the Mets would draw nearly two million fans to Shea Stadium.

No Defense for Giants
That fall, the football Giants finished with the worst record in their illustrious history, 1-12-1 and last in the NFL East. There was no defense. The Giants surrendered 501 points that year, a record for a 14-game schedule. They lost 52-7 to Dallas, 55-14 to Los Angeles and 72-41 to Washington. Gary Wood and Earl Morrall shared quarterback duties, and Chuck Mercein led the team in rushing with a paltry 327 yards.

The Jets were starting to show promise under young quarterback Joe Namath, but wound up with a mediocre 6-6-2 record. On November 27, 1966, the same day the Giants gave up the NFL regular-season record 72 points to the Redskins, the Jets were beaten 32-24 by Kansas City, marking one of the darkest days in New York pro football history.

Things weren’t a heckuva lot better at the old Madison Square Garden on Eighth Avenue and 49th Street. The Knicks would finish 30-50, last in the NBA’s Eastern Division for the seventh straight season. And the Rangers would finish last, out of the playoffs for the fourth straight year in the six-team NHL, midway though a 54-year Stanley Cup drought.

Even during these darkest hours, (it’s always darkest just before the dawn), the Jets, Mets and Knicks were all within four years of winning championships. It would take a bit longer for the Yankees, who returned to baseball prominence with a refurbished Yankee Stadium and an American League pennant in 1976, and World Championships the following two years.

For the Giants, the climb was steep, the team finally returning to the playoffs in 1981 after an 18-year drought, and winning the Super Bowl five seasons later. And in 1994, the Rangers won the Stanley Cup.