It's time once again for everybody to make their New Year's resolutions. As usual, this coming year, in order to better myself, I'm vowing to watch more sports, drink more beer and eat more bacon. Or maybe I'm missing the point? As for the local sports scene, here is a resolution request for each area team:
The New York Jets must vow to not have any weird sexual fetishes by their players or coaches surface in 2011. Please.
The New York Giants' resolution should be to stop having late-season meltdowns by losing games in horrific fashion, whether it's a collapse or total disaster or some new way only they can come up with to lose.
The resolution for the New York Knicks and New York Rangers should be the same: Resolve to keep doing what they're doing, keep being the hard-working, hustling team that fans have been waiting years for. Please don't blow it and miss the playoffs.
No matter the patient plan or cost-cutting measures that the New York Mets are taking, in a gesture of good will toward Met fans, Sandy Alderson's resolution must be to make Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo disappear. We just can't take it anymore.
The New York Yankees' resolution should be to lower the prices of the seats behind home plate so they're available to non-millionaires. The only people who can afford to sit there are the Yankee players themselves. And what good does that do anybody?
The New Jersey Nets must vow to win more than 12 games this year. They're on pace to do it, but it's no guarantee.
The New York Islanders: Somebody, anybody please get these guys a new owner and a new arena. Can that be somebody's resolution?
The New Jersey Devils resolution? Don't hand out any more $100 million contracts.
And now on to the top stories of the week in the world of New York sports.
Fumbling Their Fate Away: The Giants had their destiny in their own hands and fumbled it away like so many Ahmad Bradshaw turnovers. How many nightmarish, humiliating losses can one team come up with? And how many of these games can one fan base put up with? Everybody's in on the act now. Tom Coughlin wasted a challenge and didn't have one left when he needed it. Nor did he have his team ready to play. Eli Manning is turning into a disaster. How can he make so many poor decisions at this stage of his career? Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs must grease up their hands before each game. That's really the only explanation for their constant fumbling. The special teams continue their year-long quest to be the most non-special special teams of all-time. Perry Fewell's defense is doing their impression of last year's D that got Bill Callahan canned. This is how they play with their season on the line? It will take a miracle for them to make the playoffs now. But maybe they'll surprise us and play like an actual competent football team against the Redskins. But how much confidence does anyone have that that will happen?
2009 Redux: 2010 is looking a little like 2009. The Jets' critics are giving the team the old "backing into the playoffs" and "just lucky to make it" spiel once again. But last year they backed themselves all the way to the AFC Championship Game, so they should be so lucky this go around. But this version of Gang Green just doesn't seem as strong as last season's edition. Mark Sanchez is better, of course, but the ground game and defense doesn't compare to 2009. Neither area is dominating like last year. They only have one more week to get themselves ready for the postseason, so they better figure out how to fix what's hampering them and do it in a hurry. Though they'll be $100,000 lighter in the wallet, as their punishment for Trip-Gate has been handed down. They've also been ordered to put up a chain-link fence on the sidelines to keep their coaches and inactive players from making a nuisance of themselves.
Not Quite There Yet: With recent wins over the Nuggets, Thunder and now the Bulls on Christmas, the Knicks are officially good. But as we've seen in their two games against the Miami Heat and the one vs. the Orlando Magic on Thursday, they're not great yet. They've at least entered the "beating the teams they should beat" stage, but can't conquer the elite. Maybe if they'd stop digging themselves a 20-point hole, they'd give themselves a chance to win. On Tuesday, the Knicks came storming back against the Heat, but fell short. It wasn't quite like the old Knick-Heat rivalry of the '90s, but if Mike D'Antoni would grab onto LeBron James' leg, a la Jeff Van Gundy and Alonzo Mourning, then maybe we'll have something. The Orlando game on Thursday was almost a carbon copy of the Heat game, but there was no sign of Stan Van Gundy crawling around on the floor in honor of his brother. As for the Nets, they're stilll trying to find any consistent success, or even consistent effort, with two more noncompetitive losses, one to Orlando on Monday and a drubbing at the hands of Oklahoma City on Wednesday. But they're still better than last year, right? Right?
Blizzard on Ice: The Rangers pulled off the local sweep this week, when they whipped the Islanders, 7-2, on Monday and won a close one over the Devils on Wednesday. It was total domination in the victory over the Islanders, as the Blueshirts finished with a 52-20 shot advantage, and Long Island native Matt Gilroy notched the first two-goal game of his career against his hometown Isles. The Islanders fared better in their games before and after losing to the Rangers, though, beating the Canadiens, 4-1, and impressively defeating the Penguins in a shootout, and snapping Sidney Crosby's consecutive point streak, to boot. Wayne Gretzky's record is safe once again. Meanwhile, the Devils keep losing no matter who is coaching the team.
Accolades and So Longs: Whether they deserve it or not, Chris Snee, Nick Mangold and Darrelle Revis will be starting in the Pro Bowl, while Justin Tuck, Antrel Rolle, Shaun O'Hara and D'Brickashaw Ferguson were named to the team as reserves. On the flip side of things, Hakeem Nicks broke his big toe and is out for the rest of the season (even though that may only be one game), Islander James Wisniewski was shipped to Montreal for a couple of draft picks, Devil Brian Rolston was sent down to Albany for the purpose of placing him on re-entry waivers, and the Rangers did the same to Todd White.