I hope everyone had a wonderful holidays and is gearing up for a quiet and respectful New Year's Eve. No hooliganism people! It kind of dawned on me as we hit 2013 that man it is the freaking future. I mean, we're now past Back to the Future II. That is in our rear-view mirror and yet, I don't see a single flying car. What went wrong?
Jets: This Jets season seemed like it was about a lot of things. It was about Rex Ryan, Tim Tebow, Tony Sparano, Mike Tanenbaum, Woody Johnson, hell, even Fireman Ed. But this Jets season was, sadly, really only about one thing: Mark Sanchez. You can't be a consistently good NFL team without a quality quarterback. Regardless of the perception, you don't need an elite player at the position to be a regular contender, but it can't be a problem either. 2012 is the year Mark Sanchez became a problem. For all the readily available excuses -- the lack of weapons, the Tebow distraction, the pressure of his adorable features -- they all mask that as bad as Sanchez was this year, this is pretty much who he's always been. That is to say his numbers are all in line with his career averages, the team was just better in previous years. After ending a 6-10 year with an ugly loss to Buffalo, the Jets face an offseason in which they need to answer the question all franchises dread, whether it's time to start over with another QB, with all the risks and patience that requires. It's pretty much the worst.
Giants: This Giants season seems uniquely frustrating, until you realize it's pretty much like every other Giants season of the Coughlin/Eli era. New York raced out to a 6-2 start as they always do, then tried to hang on to make the playoffs as they always do. Some years they get hot and ride it to Super Bowl glory, others end in ignoble defeat. Of course, this year was especially cruel, given that the team split time dominating and being dominated. As good as they looked blowing out the Eagles, Saints, 49ers and Packers, they looked equally bad in losses to Atlanta and Baltimore. It was just that kind of year. Given their status as defending champs, folks seem inclined to go easy on down years from Justin Tuck and Jason Pierre-Paul, and willing to give Eli a pass for what was in all honesty something of a spotty season, and rightfully so. Even in closing with a 42-7 rout of Philadelphia, this Giants season can't be qualified as a success, but New York still has plenty of pieces in place for serious contention. We'll pencil them in next year for another 6-2 start, at which point we'll begin holding our collective breath. It may not always be satisfying, but it's certainly entertaining.
Knicks: Though the Knicks stand at 21-9 and tied for first place in the Eastern Conference with the Miami Heat, it's kind of remarkable how little has gone right. The team's waited patiently for the returns of Amar'e Stoudemire and Iman Shumpert, something that finally looks close to fruition, while dealing with nagging injuries to Marcus Camby, Rasheed Wallace and more urgently Carmelo Anthony. Then the news of Ray Felton's broken pinkie left them without their point guard for over a month. Jason Kidd has gallantly stepped into the voice, but one wonders how much longer they can keep asking the ageless Kidd to carry the load. After a thrilling win this week in Phoenix, New York suffered a heartbreaker to the Kings in Sacramento, with J.R. Smith doing his best to step in for the injured Melo. Despite all this injury drama, the Knicks could be back with their two superstars as soon as this week, something it's worth remembering could be awfully exciting.
Monday, Dec. 31
7:00 PM NBA Brooklyn at San Antonio
3:00 PM NCAAB Syracuse vs. Cent. Conn
Tuesday, Jan. 1
7:30 PM NBA NY Knicks vs. Portland
8:00 PM NCAAB UConn at Marquette
Wednesday, Jan. 2
8:00 PM NBA Brooklyn at Oklahoma City
7:00 PM NCAAB Syracuse vs. Rutgers
Thursday, Jan. 3
7:30 PM NBA NY Knicks vs. San Antonio
Friday, Jan. 4
7:00 PM NBA Brooklyn at Washington
Saturday, Jan. 5
7:00 PM NBA NY Knicks at Orlando
7:30 PM NBA Brooklyn vs. Sacramento
11:00 PM NCAAB Rutgers vs. Pittsburgh
Sunday, Dec. 23
12:00 PM NCAAB Syracuse at So. Florida
Nets: Remember when Avery Johnson was the head coach of the Nets? Yeah, well he's not that anymore. A 3-11 month of December convinced the Brooklyn hierarchy that the reigning Eastern Conference Coach of the Month was actually the worst coach there was, so they moved to replace him with P.J. Carlesimo, who happily took the job as long as Deron Williams promised not to strangle him. The Carlesimo era got under with Williams back on the court in two straight wins over Charlotte and Cleveland, something that has a lot to do with those teams being terrible. Brooklyn's season seems to be deteriorating into something of a mess, but it's worth reminding them they're still comfortably in the playoff picture, with plenty of time to right the ship. They'll look ahead to a game on Monday, and put the lingering questions on whether their franchise point guard really deserves the label for another day.
Big East Basketball: The Big East is still a thing that plays basketball, at least for the next several months. Jim Boeheim earned his 900th career win in a victory over Detroit, then watched his Orange take an upset from Temple for their first loss of the season. No. 8 Cincinnati suffered its first loss, as well, losing a nail-biter to New Mexico, 55-54. Rutgers held the fort together playing without suspended head coach Mike Rice, while UConn found its footing enough to reward Kevin Ollie with a freshly minted five-year deal.