Now that we are 2 years into the new decade, I thought I'd do a little number crunching and take a look at who was the most successful team in the New York area over the 10 year period of 2000 - 2010. With a total of 10 professional franchises in the region, I looked at the following:
NHL: Devils, Islanders, Rangers;
NFL: Giants, Jets;
MLB: Yankees, Mets.
I examined their regular season for % of wins in a season and over the decade, as well as postseason success in terms of # of wins, % of postseason games won, playoff series wins, championship appearances and championships won. The following are my findings:
The team that won the highest percentage of their regular season was the New Jersey Devils. However, there are minor caveats in that prior to the 2005-2006 season, NHL games could end in ties rather than shootouts (for purposes of this analysis I counted ties as wins). In addition, there was a lockout of the 2004-2005 season leaving a statistical gap that could have influenced the percentage (although it could have increased it since they had their 2nd best season of the decade the year prior).
The second team is the Yankees which is very impressive considering they played 878 more games than any NHL franchise. Obviously different sports with differing factors but impressive nonetheless.
- Devils - 62.47% of 738 games
- Yankees - 59.72% of 1,616 games
- Giants - 55.00% of 160 games
- Liberty - 53.13% of 320 games
- Mets - 50.37% of 1618 games
- Jets - 50% of 160 games
- Rangers - 49.19% of 738 games
- Nets: 47.00% of 820 games
- Islanders: 46.61% of 738 games
- Knicks: 39.88% of 820 games
The three worst teams of the decade in terms of percentage of regular season wins were the Nets, Islanders and Knicks. The Knicks were far and away the worst franchise in the area being nearly 7 actual percentage points lower than the Islanders. No other team was more than 4 percentage points worse than the team above them.
This is a bit more difficult to put into numbers considering different sports have different amounts of rounds, requirements to advance, and games required to win. For instance in the WNBA, you need to win 2 games to advance. In the NFL there is a wild-card game for some teams, and 1 win = 1 round. Additionally, judging merely by % of wins doesn't really tell the story of success if a team only made the playoffs once or twice.
The team that won the majority of their postseason games was the Mets at almost 70% of their games. However, they only played 19 games (won two playoff series) which, when compared to the Yankees at 69 games, should really put them behind. The second best winning percentage was the Nets at 60% of the 68 playoff games they played in, winning 9 playoff series. Once again, the Yankees are up near the top at 56.62% of the 69 postseason games they played.
But here are some breakdowns:
Percentage of postseason playoff wins:
- Mets - 68.52% of 19 games with only 2 playoff series wins
- Nets - 60.29% of 68 games with 9 playoff series wins
- Yankees - 56.62% of 69 games also with 9 playoff series wins
- Giants - 55.56% of 9 games with 5 playoff series wins
- Devils - 50.52% of 97 games with 8 playoff series wins
- Liberty - 51.52% of 33 games with 7 playoff series wins
- Rangers - 45.16% of 31 games with 2 playoff series wins
- Jets - 44.44% of 9 games with 4 playoff series wins
- Islanders - 27.27% of 22 games with 0 playoff series wins
- Knicks - 22.22% of 9 games with 0 playoff series wins
Once again, the Knicks and the Islanders were the two worst teams in the area in the postseason, with gigantic differences in percentages of games won from the teams above them, and did not win a single playoff series during the decade.
Judging a percentage of wins isn't important here, but rather, making an appearance in the championship game (W/NBA Finals, World Series, Superbowl, Stanley Cup Finals). Here is the list of teams who made the championship game, how many times, and whether they won it:
- Yankees - 4 World Series appearances, winning it twice, 13 games won
- Devils - 2 Stanley Cup Finals appearances, winning it once, 7 games won
- Giants - 2 Superbowl appearances, winning it once
- Nets - 2 NBA Finals appearances, no championship, 2 games won
- Liberty - 2 NBA Finals appearances, no championship, 0 games won
In my opinion, it's clear that the Yankees are at the top of the pack here with two World Series championships won in 4 appearances. This easily gives them the title of the best team of the New York area, followed by the Devils and then the Giants. Championships mean everything.
The Jets, Islanders, Knicks, Rangers, Mets all failed to make it to the big show during this decade.
I think the middle of the pack are teams like the Nets who didn't make it over .500 of the regular season, but had great success in the playoffs, with two championship appearances. The same with the Liberty, having made it to the WNBA Finals twice during the decade, and winning more than half of their regular and postseason games.
Overall, it appears that the worst team of the New York area during the decade was the Knicks. They had the lowest percentage of regular season wins and postseason wins, as well as playoff appearances and games won. They are followed by the Islanders in this category.
Let me know if you are interested in seeing the spreadsheet on this.