Photograph: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

Professional football in the New York metropolitan area somehow has become even bleaker in the two-plus years that have passed since the Giants and Jets last played each other. The Jets (2-7) rallied to beat the Giants (2-8) that glum November day in the Meadowlands in the so-called Toilet Bowl, with tailgaters displaying toilet-seat lids with each team’s logo.

The NFL’s two NYC-based teams are each 4-11 heading into the homestretch of the 2021 season. It is likely that both will finish the season with 13 losses, which has never happened since New York added an AFL team in 1960. In the last 10 years, only the 2016 Giants reached the playoffs (and they were promptly blown out by Green Bay in the wild-card round). More recently, they have been pro football’s biggest losers: none of the other 30 teams in the NFL have posted a worse record than the Jets (21-58) or Giants (22-57) since 2016.

Giants and Jets

There have been other barren stretches in the city’s football history: the Giants and Jets went through the entire 1970s with neither team making the postseason. The 1977 season ended with the Giants (5-9) losing in the snow and rain at home to Chicago, 12-9, and the Jets (3-11 for the third straight year) falling at Philadelphia, 27-0, before just 19,241 fans.

This drought, like the Toilet Bowl, is a shared misery around the metro area. Because the Jets and Giants play in different conferences and don’t face each other as often as the Rangers and Islanders in hockey or Knicks or Nets in basketball, there is less rancor between the local supporters. Baseball fans in New York are more likely to pick a side, either the Yankees or Mets, than football fans.

The NFL has, and will, survive with two lousy teams in the nation’s No 1 television market, and it is possible that one team, if not both at the same time, will be good again someday. But what has unfolded this season in New York makes a turnaround for either team look…



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