The Giants and Jets combined for a record of 8-24 and played irrelevant football as far as the standings were concerned from mid-November until the season came to a close.
Football season is always fun, but last year watching the Jets and the Giants was not.
For the Jets a season ago, a result of 5-11 was anything but surprising. After all, the hope among a majority of the fan base was that the team would lose enough games to land them a potential difference maker at the most important position on the field.
On the flip side, the Giants never in a million years thought they would end up with a worse record than the team they share a stadium with.
The 2017 season was an absolute nightmare across the board for Big Blue.
There was the 0-5 start, the loss of star wide receiver Odell Beckham for the season, the ridiculous benching of Eli Manning for Geno Smith, and the firing of head coach Ben McAdoo.
For a proud Giants franchise, 2017 was the definition of an embarrassment and a disgrace.
Well that was then, and in the here and now, there is reasonable and legitimate hope for both local football franchises for various reasons.
For the Giants, it’s about winning now.
The Giants passed up on taking Eli Manning’s successor and drafted running back Saquon Barkley, hoping he will be a part of a new look and transformed offense under new head coach Pat Shurmur.
The Giants are better on the offensive line, they added a top-notch running back, and they paid Odell Beckham, Jr.
Assuming Manning still has something left in the tank, their offense should be pretty fun to watch.
In drafting Barkley and re-signing Beckham, anything short of a playoff appearance will be a disappointment for a franchise looking to bounce back in a big way.
For the Jets, the reason for excitement has nothing to do with season expectations.
Last year’s “Suck For Sam” campaign didn’t exactly go according to plan, but the end result was exactly what the Jets had in mind: land a rookie quarterback who can be a difference maker for a long, long time.
The Jets think they just might have that guy.
In fact, the reason the Jets will be must-watch Sunday after Sunday regardless of what their record is will be due to rookie quarterback Sam Darnold, who will make his Jets debut under the bright lights of Monday Night Football next week in Detroit.
The Jet fan base that is dying for a winner and a franchise quarterback now has a guy they can pin their hopes on for years to come.
He will make mistakes, he will learn on the job, but that’s all part of the plan.
The 2018 season is about Sam Darnold growing into the job of being a leader and the face of the Jet franchise.
Different hopes, different expectations, but expect a far more entertaining and compelling year for both teams.
And besides, after last year, there’s nowhere to go but up!
You can listen to me on Friday, Sunday & Monday from 2 to 6 a.m. on WFAN Sports Radio 660/1019 FM. You can also catch me on Geico Sportsnight Saturday at 11 p.m. on SNY.
JJ’S WEEK 1 UNLOCKS
• Baltimore -7
• LA Chargers -3
• Cleveland +4.5
• Houston +6
• Green Bay -7.5