Cup Fever Sweeps New York

For the first time since 2007, both New York NHL teams are in the playoffs – and both teams are making some noise.

The sixth-seeded New York Rangers, after falling behind the Washington Capitals 2-0 in the series, have tied things up at two games apiece. The Blueshirts’ best postseason performer (much like the regular season) has been goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, who through four games has a 2.44 GAA and .922 save percentage.

“King Henrik” has allowed some soft goals thus far, but it’s the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and that’s just what happens. Things get weird in the playoffs – rebounds, deflections, etc. – but Lundqvist has stood tall through four games versus Washington. Hank has kept Capitals star Alexander Ovechkin to just two points (one goal, one assist) thus far in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.

On a half-related note, Ovi pulled this stunt in Game 4 at MSG Wednesday Night.

As far as skaters go, Carl Hagelin has arguably been the most impressive Ranger. After scoring twice in Game 4, Hagelin increased his playoff total to four – two goals, and two helpers. Hagelin’s speed, combined with his ability to finish, has been giving Washington fits in this series.

(Case in point: Hagelin netted this beauty of a goal during the Rangers’ Game 4 victory.)

If the Rangers wan to keep their momentum going, the most important factor for them is Rick Nash. Nash, one of the league’s most talented players, hasn’t really “Made it Nashty” too often through the first four games, as he only has one point – an assist – in the postseason. As a matter of fact, Nash has just two goals and an assist in his last eight games, including the regular season.

In fairness to Nash, he did take a page out of MSG co-tennant JR Smith’s book when he “got the pipe” near the end of regulation in Game 2. Close doesn’t cut it though, and after coming to New York in a big offseason trade, the Ranger faithful will surely be getting on Nash soon if he doesn’t produce when it matters most. He’ll get his next chance to impress Friday night at 7:30, when the Rangers and Caps drop the puck in our nation’s capital for a pivotal Game 5.

Now, let’s shift a few miles east.

The New York Islanders are in the midst of their first playoff appearance since 2007 – a first round exit to the Buffalo Sabres. Like 2007, the Isles are the Eastern Conference eight seed. However, unlike 2007, the Isles already have two wins over the heavily favored Pittsburgh Penguins and have forced at least a Game 6 in the series.

The Isles currently trail the Pens 3-2 in the series, but have a chance to even things up again on Saturday night at Nassau Coliseum. There have certainly been some problems for the Islanders this series – bad line changes, silly penalties and less-than-stellar goaltending have all proven costly through the first five games. However, the heart and resiliency this team has shown has the fans beLIeving (see what I did there?) that anything is possible – including another comeback, and potentially even a monumental first round upset.

Going back to that goalie thing, though. Veteran goaltender Evgeni Nabokov, who had a good regular season, simply is not getting the job done in the first round against Pittsburgh.

Nabokov has some ugly stats for the series, including a save percentage of .847% (yuck) and a GAA of 4.69 (double yuck). Believe me, I understand what Nabokov is up against. Playing against an All-Star lineup with an (at times) overly aggressive defense in front of him is certainly no easy task. However, Nabokov has allowed some absolutely brutal goals, including a Douglas Murray shot that hopped over his shoulder an into the net.

Now, while Nabby has been the Isles’ best goalie all season without question, I believe Jack Capuano has a serious goaltending decision to make for Saturday’s Game 6. Kevin Poulin has stopped 14/15 shots this series (having come in in relief in Games 1 & 5). Does Capuano go with the 23 year-old backup, or stick with the (struggling) guy who got him there? That’s a tough call, and I’m glad I’m not the one to make it.

Let’s get to the positives from this series for the Islanders, because there have been a few. For one, Kyle Okposo has finally turned into the player everyone thought he could be. Through five playoff games, he has four points and a team-leading three goals. One of his biggest contributions, however, had nothing to do with point totals. Coming off a 5-0 drubbing in Game 1, the Isles found themselves down early again in Game 2. Down 3-1, Okposo took matters into his own hands (or fists) when Pittsburgh D-Man Matt Niskanen took out Matt Moulson in the neutral zone.

Okposo’s first career fighting major sparked the Isles to an inspired comeback, and very well may be the reason the team is still playing games.

Another positive for the Isles thus far has been the first overall pick from the 2009 Draft, John Tavares. The young superstar’s first playoff series is going quite well. Tavares has two goals and two assists through five games, and scored the eventual game-winner in Game 5, and it was a beauty. JT danced through the defense, put a shot on Fleury, knocked home the rebound, and sent the already-raucous Nassau Coliseum into a frenzy.

The Old Barn will be rockin’ again this Saturday night, but with a more nervous feel to it. Facing elimination, the Isles need to do a better job defensively against Crosby, Malkin, and the like. Just a reminder to Isles fans: In 1993, the Islanders dropped Game 5 of their playoff series to the Penguins.

Two games later, David Volek put the nail in Pittsburgh’s coffin. It ain’t over yet, folks.

So maybe neither the Islanders nor the Rangers are top-notch NHL squads. Maybe they’ll both be out within a few days. But for now, buckle up and enjoy the ride. Not much is better than the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Follow James on Twitter at @JamesStumper.

We Want Playoffs!

Grabner, who scored twice Tuesday, rips a puck down the ice against Florida. (Photo by Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images)

Grabner, who scored twice Tuesday, rips a puck down the ice against Florida. (Photo by Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images)

Tuesday night at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum was Fan Appreciation Night, and for the first time in a while, the Islanders faithful finally have something to appreciate.

The Islanders won again Tuesday night, lighting up the Florida Panthers 5-2. The Isles got contributions from all over, including two pretty goals by Michael Grabner.

The latest win gave the Islanders 49 points, good for sole possession of seventh place in the Eastern Conference and one point out of sixth. The Isles are now 7-1-2 in their last 10 games, and the playoff-starved fans on Long Island (and this one, who’s currently in New Jersey) are flying high. April the last five years at Nassau Coliseum hasn’t sounded like much of anything, because it’s been empty. However, these days, the old barn in Hempstead sounds like this.

The fan base is energized, and with good reason. The Isles haven’t made the playoffs since they snuck in as the eighth seed in 2006-2007, when folk hero Wade Dubielewicz led the team to an improbable late-season run. Now, they are in prime position to do so.

At the season’s outset, it didn’t seem like the Islanders would have much of a chance with the much-improved (or so we thought) New York Rangers, perennial-favorite Penguins, Flyers and Devils all in their division. However, the Isles have surprised everyone, and now have a magic number of eight points to get into the Stanley Cup Playoffs.  Any combination of eight points gained by the Islanders or lost by the Winnipeg Jets will put the Islanders into the playoffs for the first time in what seems like an eternity.

The final push will not be easy though, as New York hits the road for their final five games of the regular season, including a huge game in Winnipeg this Saturday night.

There have been many individual players that have impressed this season. John Tavares, with 24 goals, is making a legitimate case to be the Hart Trophy winner. Evgeni Nabokov has been front and center for a goaltending crew that hasn’t allowed more than two goals in nine consecutive games, tying a franchise record that was set in 2001.

However, what has been most impressive about the Islander’s playoff push is the team aspect that has finally come together. Secondary scoring  (as in goals from people who aren’t named John Tavares or Matt Moulson) is finally coming from players that we knew had potential all along. Guys like Kyle Okposo and Josh Bailey are finally starting to come into their own after years of underachieving. This squad also has role players who do the dirty work, as Matt Martin, Casey Cizikas and Colin McDonald have all become fan favorites.

And let’s not forget Mark Streit. The captain since signing a deal in 2008, Streit has experienced zero success in the orange and blue. In the final year of that contract, he is finally in contention for a spot in the NHL’s big dance. Last night Streit addressed the Coliseum faithful after the win, thanking them for their support all season.Hopefully for Streit and the Isles, they’ll be back on the ice at the Nassau Coliseum sooner rather than later. As for now, they’ll take their act north of the border, with their next game Thursday night in Toronto.

Right now, the players are asking the fans to do one thing: beLIeve.

So far, so good.

Two games, two wins. Can’t really get much better than that.

While two games is certainly a small sample size, the Mets have impressed in their first couple matchups vs. Atlanta, with two straight wins. Their 1-0 Opening Day victory was followed up by a 4-2 Saturday afternoon win vs. the Braves. Saturday provided a burst of offense, with three home runs (one for David Wright, two for Lucas Duda) and four runs. R.A. Dickey threw a solid 6 innings, allowing only two runs on a home run to Martin Prado. That homer has been the only blemish on the Mets’ pitching staff record thus far.

David Wright is swinging a hot bat to start 2012, with a 3-5 effort on Saturday after a two hit performance on Opening Day. His approach seems to be to the opposite field, which is a sight Mets fans sorely missed. His home run in the first inning of Saturday’s win was hit into the bullpen in right center field, which is imperative for Wright. When he’s hitting the ball the opposite way, Wright can be unstoppable offensively. The Mets and their fans are hoping to see this approach from their All-Star third baseman all year long.

Lucas Duda also impressed offensively Saturday versus Atlanta. Duda went yard twice, including the first home run that cleared Citi Field’s new fence that wouldn’t have cleared the old one. Duda seems as if he’s primed for a huge season, and the league will take notice soon. Someone with Duda’s power will not go unnoticed for very long.

The Mets’ offense has not been the only big time positive  so far in 2012. Their bullpen, which struggled in Spring Training, has been spectacular thus far. Ramon Ramirez, Tim Byrdak, Jon Rauch, Bobby Parnell, and Frank Francisco have all been in action the first two games, and no one has given up any runs. For all the talk about the struggles the bullpen would have, (myself included…sorry Frank) everyone has been wonderful so far. Heck, he’s 2/2 on save opportunities this season. That’s two more saves than any other closer in New York has. Just. sayin’.

Santana and Dickey were also impressive in their starts, and we’ll break down the entire rotation later this week once everyone has had their turn.

So two games down, 160 games to go. We’re  not saying the Mets are gonna keep this pace up, (I think it’d be a little much to expect a perfect season) but in their first two games, they have shown the league and their fans that they aren’t going to lay down and die just because they’re expected to.

The Mets will go for the sweep tomorrow afternoon against Atlanta at 1:00 at Citi Field. Jonathan Niese gets the nod against Mike Minor and the Braves.

2012 New York Mets

The New York Mets enter the 2012 season facing both serious financial issues and improved competition in the National League East. At first glance, it is very easy to write them off and move on with your day. However, Terry Collins, in his second year as manager, has his team believing that they can shock the so called “experts” and make some noise in an extremely talented division. It does take more than believing in your chances to be successful, but it’s not a bad place to start. We’ll let you know what we loved and hated about the Mets’ offseason and Spring Training, and also give a prediction as to how the Mets will do in the upcoming campaign, their 50th season as a franchise.

Offseason: With the financial troubles that the Wilpons are in, the Mets were not in play for any big name free agents as they have been in years past. The biggest example of that lack of money to freely spend was their inability to even offer a contract to free agent shortstop Jose Reyes. Reyes, age 28, made the All-Star team 4 times as a member of the Mets. Unfortunately for the Mets and their fans, Jose’s free agency came at an inopportune time. They didn’t have the money, and he moved south to join Hanley Ramirez and the new-look Miami Marlins, leaving shortstop at Citi Field occupied by Ruben Tejada . This hurts for multiple reasons, including the sheer fact that Mets fans will be reminded of their former beloved shortstop 18 times a year when the Mets and Marlins square off. Reyes being with another NL East Club is also a big reason as to why many people feel the Mets will be buried by midseason.

Now, the Mets did make some additions this offseason. Their biggest free agent acquisition happens to be my least favorite offseason move. Former Blue Jay and Ranger Frank Francisco was signed to be their closer; signing for 2 years and $12 million. Francisco has certainly had his share of Major League success, but he also has a history of being injury prone, in addition to his apparent inability to keep runners held on base. His Spring Training was less than impressive, with a 5.54 ERA and a .333 opponent’s Batting Average.  I know this sounds like a bitter Mets fan’s rant, (not entirely false) but I truly do believe the Mets would have been better served had they promoted someone in house (i.e: Bobby Parnell, Pedro Beato) to closer and spending their limited money elsewhere. Hopefully, for the Mets’ sake, I am wrong.

There were some good moves made by the Mets this offseason, such as the signing of Jon Rauch. Rauch, the 6’11” reliever who spent last year with Toronto has had a solid Major League career, and was signed for relatively cheap, with a one year $3.5 million contract. This addition should help the bullpen.

One of the biggest offseason shake-ups came via trade. Early in the offseason, Angel Pagan was shipped to San Francisco for centerfielder Andres Torres and reliever Ramon Ramirez. Pagan, one year removed from his breakout 2010 campaign, fell flat in 2011. He seemed to regress in terms of both performance and maturity. Mets fans were pretty fed up with him (myself included) by the end of the season, and ownership sent him packing. In return, they acquired a quality defensive centerfielder and speedy leadoff hitter to try and replace the speed lost with Reyes’ departure. In addition to Torres, Ramon Ramirez is another welcome addition to the bullpen. Many fans, including myself, were confident that the duo received will be more than worth Pagan.

Spring Training: The Mets finished with a lackluster 9-20-2 record in Grapefruit League play this season. However, we know that Spring Training records don’t necessarily reflect what a team’s regular season record will be. The Mets certainly hope not anyway.

One of the biggest problems Spring Training presented (more like reminded us of) was Jason Bay’s continued struggles. For all the offseason talk about Bay’s improvement, the results certainly were not there in spring. Bay finished Spring Training with the same amount of RBI’s that I did. That’s right folks –zero. He may get a pass for a tough spring, but a 30 game regular season stretch without a RBI will surely not sit well with the New York fans.

Another problem the Mets saw in Spring Training was injuries. Luckily for them, the three players that lost time due to injury will be active on the Opening Day roster. Andres Torres had a quad injury that cost him a few weeks, Tim Byrdak had meniscus surgery, causing him to miss the latter half of spring and David Wright missed the majority of the Spring season with a strained ribcage. However, these players are in New York for Opening Day, so the Mets did luck out in that respect.

One major positive from Spring Training was the production from this year’s starting Right Fielder: Lucas Duda. “The Big Lebowski” went yard four times, and finished spring with a .300 average. His fellow lefty in the lineup, first baseman Ike Davis, also hit four homers in spring. The Mets would love to see that type of production all season long.

With all due respect to Duda and Davis, the story out of Port St. Lucie was the success, and health, of Johan Santana. He finished the exhibition season with 18.1 innings pitched and a 3.44 ERA. He is healthy going into the season, and will start the season opener versus Atlanta. This start will mark his first Major League start since September of 2010, and the Mets are hoping he can recapture some of what made him a two-time Cy Young Award winner in Minnesota. Santana’s presence alone should bolster the rest of the rotation, to include RA Dickey, Jon Niese, Mike Pelfrey and Dillon Gee. Mets fans are hoping Santana can stay healthy and give them something to cheer about this season.

Prediction: Well, folks, many people have predicted the Mets to finish last in the NL East this season. I personally do not see that happening. I think, if they can stay healthy and play up to their potential, the Metropolitans can manage a .500 record (81-81). I believe they will finish 4th place in the NL East, with the Nationals disappointing a lot of people and finishing in last. In their 50th season, I wouldn’t expect the Mets to make any 1969-esque miracle runs, but this team has potential to be competitive. If they were in a weaker division, perhaps they could make a playoff push. However, the NL East will be deadly and I see .500 as a best case scenario. So Mets fans, try and enjoy this season and look at it is a building block towards a brighter future.

The Mets open their season Thursday April 5th, with a 1:10 pm game against their division rival Atlanta Braves at Citi Field.  The pitching matchup is sure to be a good one, with Tommy Hanson squaring off against Johan Santana.

The Mets will honor the memory of 1986 World Champion Gary Carter, who died of brain cancer this offseason,  with a pre-game ceremony on Opening Day.

2012 New York Yankees

The New York Yankees are retooled, reloaded, and ready to bring Championship number 28 to the Bronx. Here is the lowdown on their offseason, Spring Training and our prediction for their 2012 season.

Offseason: The Yankees’ offseason this year was unusually quiet. While huge free agent names (i.e Jose Reyes, Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder) were out getting massive contracts with other teams, it seems as if the Yanks finally realized they didn’t need to make any huge free agent additions to their already All-Star studded lineup. However, this is not to say they didn’t make any changes this offseason. Their biggest splash came via trade, when they shipped the immensely talented catching prospect Jesus Montero to Seattle for the young Starting Pitcher Michael Pineda. Pineda, a rookie last season, made a big splash on the scene with the Mariners, finishing the season with 28 starts and a 3.74 E.R.A., quite impressive for a rookie. This trade provided a huge bolster to a rotation that was certainly not the team’s strength last season. (It has not worked out perfectly thus far, but we’ll get into that later)

Pineda was not the only pitcher the Yankees added this offseason. Just after they made the trade with Seattle the Bombers signed Pitcher Hiroki Kuroda, formerly of the Los Angeles Dodgers, to a one year, 10 million dollar contract. Kuroda, who had a 3.45 E.R.A. in Los Angeles last season, will without a doubt benefit from the high-octane lineup that will be hitting for him this season. So far, so good for Kuroda, whose Spring Training E.R.A. was 2.96. These additions, combined with C.C. Sabathia, Phil Hughes, and Ivan Nova should make the Yankees’ rotation one of the best in the American League this season. But wait aren’t we forgetting someone?

Oh yea, A.J. Burnett. The former free agent prize was shipped to Pittsburgh this offseason for two minor leaguers. Clearly, Burnett was not cut out for the Big Apple. He was an integral part of the team’s 2009 championship run, but the honeymoon was over. Fans no longer wanted to hear about AJ’s issues, and that was that.

One major signing of note includes that of former Yankee Andy Pettite. It took most people by surprise, but Andy could provide a veteran presence and some Champion experience to the clubhouse. Not to mention the fact that he still seems to think he’s got some gas left in the tank.

Another interesting departure from the team this offseason was the retirement of Jorge Posada. In pinstripes since 1995, Posada decided to retire instead of playing for another team. By doing so, he demonstrated some loyalty that we rarely see in sports today. It will indeed be odd to see a Yankee roster that does not include Jorge.

Spring Training So, we move ahead to Spring Training. Going into Tuesday’s game with the New York Mets, the Yankees sit at 17-11 in the Grapefruit League. While records don’t mean much, it is certainly good to see the Yankees getting good results. One of the major positives out of Spring Training is the health and numbers from Alex Rodriguez. The highly scrutinized (and paid) 3rd baseman has a .292 batting average and has gone deep a couple of times for the Yankees, and his swing just looks better than it has in years past. Healthy and prepared for the season, I think it’s safe to expect big numbers from A-Rod this season.

One major problem the Yankees have seen this Exhibition season is the problems the aforementioned Michael Pineda has encountered. He showed up to camp seemingly overweight, and his velocity was not where it was last year. He averaged a bit over 94 mph on his fastball last year, but is a bit down thus far with New York. Pineda has experienced shoulder soreness and will begin the season the 15 day DL. While the Yankees and their fans are a bit nervous about Pineda’s health, he should eventually regain his velocity and be the pitcher the Yankees traded a star in the making for. Pineda will be replaced in the Yankees rotation by Freddy Garcia for the time being.

Another issue that has received some attention is the diminishing range of Hall of Fame shortstop Derek Jeter. Jeter, 37, simply does not have the same athletic ability as he did earlier in his career. However, with the stellar offense he will continue to provide, I personally don’t see this as much of a problem.

Prediction: The Yankees will be battle-tested this season without a doubt. The A.L. East, as always, will be among the game’s toughest divisions. However, between their lineup (including Mark Teixeira, Curtis Granderson, and the reigning Home Run Derby Champion Robinson Cano) revamped rotation, and stellar bullpen anchored by David Robertson and the sure-fire Hall of Fame Closer Mariano Rivera, the Yankees have the firepower to win this division.

While I do believe the Yankees will win the A.L. East, I see them falling in the ALCS to the Detroit Tigers, who face a much less challenging path to the postseason in the less competitive AL Central.

The Yankees begin their 2012 regular season where their 2011 regular season ended, Tropicana Field against the Tampa Bay Rays at 3:05 pm this Friday April 6th. Their home opener is next Friday, April 13th against the Los Angeles Angels at Yankee Stadium at 1:05 pm.

Tebowmania Heads East: What to make of the Jets’ deal

The New York Jets have (officially) acquired Tim Tebow, the highly scrutinized quarterback from the Denver Broncos, and perhaps the most polarizing figure in all of sports.

Tebow, the former University of Florida standout, stepped into the spotlight last season in Denver, taking over the 1-4 Broncos and leading them into the AFC’s Divisional Playoff Round, where he was beaten by Tom Brady and the Patriots, beating the Pittsburgh Steelers in a dramatic overtime game along the way.

However, Tebow’s on field success was only half the story. It has been well documented that Tebow’s style and throwing motion were not up to par with other successful quarterbacks, including prototypes such as Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. For many of his starts, he looked as if he was playing three quarters with his helmet on backwards, and would then turn it on late.Tebow made multiple 4th Quarter comebacks to bring Denver to the playoffs. Combine that with the fact that he wears his religionon his sleeve, and you’ve got yourself one polarizing figure.

Cue Tebowmania; one of the most insane frenzies any athlete has ever seen. From “Tebowing” becoming a national phenomenon to Saturday Night Live referencing Tebow in one of their comedy skits, it was nearly impossible to escape the coverage that he was getting.

Unfortunately for Tebow, once Peyton Manning became a Free Agent, the Broncos’ plans went in a different direction. Now where does that leave Tebow?

Where else? New York City.

The Jets traded two draft picks (a fourth rounder and a sixth rounder) to Denver for a seventh rounder and Tim Tebow in return. As if the Jets haven’t seen enough media attention the past few years, why not add the sport’s most polarizing figure into the equation? And of course in typical Tebow fashion, the trade made a comeback towards the end, with the Jets and Broncos settling contract disputes and Tebow choosing the spotlight of the Big Apple rather than his hometown of Jacksonville, Florida, about nine hours after news of the trade originally broke.

The story (or “saga” as it had been referenced by ESPN) began early this afternoon, when news broke that Gang Green had acquired Tebow. Naturally, social media networks of all kind were sent into a frenzy. “Tebow to the Jets” was a top trend on Twitter for much of the afternoon. However, it was later reported that the Jets and Broncos had agreed to the deal before going over some financial issues, including which team was to pay the five million dollar bonus he was owed.

As the day progressed, however, it seemed as if the issues were less about financials and more about giving Tebow the decision as to where he wanted to play. By about 8 pm, ESPN’s Adam Schefter (who originally broke news of the deal) reported that the Broncos were giving Tebow the opportunity to choose his destination.

Jets fans, regardless of their opinion of the move, (and believe me, EVERYONE has an opinion on this move) were stunned by the developments. If given the chance to go and play for their hometown team, who wouldn’t take that opportunity and, quite literally, run with it?

Apparently, Mr. Tebow.

The deal was finalized at about 9 pm, and Tim Tebow is officially a New York Jet. The Jets and Broncos will split Tebow’s five million dollar bonus, and Tebowmania is heading east: to the nation’s biggest media market.

So now that Tim Tebow is actually here, what on earth does it all mean?

Well, as with any move, there are absolutely positives and negatives that come along with his acquisition. We’ll take you through what it could potentially mean moving forward for the New York Jets.

Being a Jets fan, starting with the negatives seems like the obvious things to do.

  • First and foremost, Tim Tebow is truly not that great of a passing quarterback. Last time I checked, as a quarterback, passing the ball tends to be fairly important. An awkward, looping throwing motion and a 47.3% career passer rating does not really scream success as a professional quarterback..
  • Another reason why this could be a problem for the Jets is the fact that they already have a quarterback; one that just signed an extension keeping him with the franchise through 2016, at a $58.25 million price tag. Mark Sanchez, who led the Jets to back to back AFC title games his first two seasons, fell on hard times last year. Under his leadership, the team failed to reach the postseason, which did not sit well with a fanbase promised a Super Bowl by Head Coach Rex Ryan for a third straight season. Although Sanchez was just given an extension by the team, his confidence will surely take a hit with the addition of Tim Tebow, and if Sanchez is going to improve, he will certainly need confidence from everyone in the organization.
  • And that brings us to the biggest potential issue: the absolute Media Circus that will be the 2012 Jets season. The aforementioned Rex Ryan certainly attracts the media enough on his own, with his bold predictions and apparent inability to shut his mouth. The Jets also have players, such as Antonio Cromartie and Bart Scott, who do their fair share of talking, which attracts nothing but more media attention. Adding Tim Tebow (who can’t take a step without ESPN airing it) to this locker room may put this team over the edge “personality” wise, with every single thing involving the team being aired on every sports network imaginable. This isn’t always a bad thing, but after watching the cross-town Giants fly under the radar and win Super Bowl XLVII, you would think the Jets would want to follow suit. Apparently not.

Now that I’ve thoroughly depressed every Jets fan out there, let’s look at the positives that come with the addition of Tim Tebow.

  • Let’s get the obvious out of the way first: Intangibles. Tim Tebow has more than anyone in the league. His work ethic,  toughness and will to win is matched by no other player in the league, which will certainly be a welcome addition into this locker room, which was one of the league’s worst last season, exemplified by the discontent between Mark Sanchez and Santonio Holmes during last season’s regular season finale in Miami. Adding Tebow’s character into the mix can only help the Jets on that front.
  • Now, let’s get to the actual on-field stuff. I mentioned earlier that this may shatter the confidence of Mark Sanchez. On the other hand, it may light a fire under him. After last year’s sub-par season and the addition of one of the league’s most popular players, Sanchez cannot feel too comfortable, which may do him well. Sometimes, competition brings out the best in people, and the Jets and their fans are certainly hoping for more out of Sanchez next season.
  • One more positive that can be taken from the acquisition of Tim Tebow is the reintroduction of an effective Wildcat offense into the Jets’ playbook. The addition of Tony Sparano, the pioneer of the Wildcat, as Offensive Coordinator combined with the tough running ability Tebow brings to the table may provide a welcome wrinkle into Gang Green’s offense, one that they sorely missed after Wide Receiver/Wildcat Quarterback Brad Smith signed with division rival Buffalo.

At the end of the day, no one can really be sure as to how impactful the trade of Tim Tebow to the Jets will be when it comes to on field production. Will he provide enough of an offensive spark to outweigh the inevitable controversy that follows him wherever he goes? No one can be sure. One thing can be promised, however. The 2012 New York Jets will not be lacking entertainment. So, Jets fans, I say buckle up and try to enjoy the ride. Good or bad, “Tebowmania” in New York will be something to remember forever.