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SportsColumnistsNeil Best

Another lost season for Jets and Giants fans

Giants head coach Pat Shurmur at MetLife Stadium.

Giants head coach Pat Shurmur at MetLife Stadium. Credit: Daniel De Mato

Danny Dimes Time! This is a good thing, in the sense that it gives us all something to watch, talk and write about for the next three months – and maybe, if all goes well, to look forward to in 2020 and beyond.

But let’s be real here. The guy Daniel Jones is replacing, Eli Manning, the greatest quarterback in Giants history, lost his first six starts in 2004 with a team that had been 5-4 without him, including a 0.0 passer rating against the Ravens.

So while the Giants’ big announcement on Tuesday does add some juice, much like when Sam Darnold started in 2018 for a bad Jets team, it does not change the fundamental math of another lost season.

Too negative? Fine, let’s review some reasons for optimism regarding the local teams’ seasons as we approach autumn.

Like this: It is impossible for both the Jets and Giants to go 0-16, as they play one another on Nov. 10. So, it can’t get any worse than twin 0-15-1 finishes.

And this: They play a total of three games against the Dolphins, including on consecutive Sundays at MetLife Stadium in December, so odds are they will be no worse than 3-29 combined.

And, finally, this: The Yankees still are playing, and there will be no one rooting harder for them to keep playing and occupying the headlines until the end of October than Adam Gase and Pat Shurmur.

Game 7 of the World Series is scheduled for Oct. 30, a Wednesday, so the Yankees' victory parade might wait until Monday, Nov. 4, providing some useful cover all the way until Jets-Giants Week.

See? Not all bad. But overall, it’s bad. Very bad. Excruciatingly bad.

The 2010s will finish as the bleakest decade in New York football since the 1970s, when desperate youths around my age adopted the Cowboys, Steelers, Raiders and other outposts of competence for lack of anything to root for here.

Yes, the Giants won Super Bowl XLVI after the 2011 season, but this will be their sixth losing season in the past seven. It will be the Jets’ eighth non-winning season out of nine.

The teams already have a combined nine seasons of double-digit losses this decade, and by December it could well be 11.

(Full disclosure: One of Newsday’s football writers picked the Jets to win the Super Bowl in our preview section. But my email account was hacked, and someone sent that pick to our editors. We are investigating the incident.)

Not that there won’t be some interesting things that occur over the next 15 weeks, with Jones now at the helm for one team and Darnold eventually due to return to the other.

But all of that sugarcoats the real shame of all this numbing, relentless losing.

The late Giants co-owner Wellington Mara used to say that his baseline expectation was meaningful games in December, when the weather becomes a challenge and fans need a good reason to show up.

The worst thing about the recent awfulness — outside of the 2015 Jets and 2016 Giants — is those bleak late-season games, especially the ones at home before thousands of empty gray seats at the teams’ soulless stadium.

What makes it worse this time is how fast it all happened. With the Jets and Luke Falk — now the most experienced starting quarterback in New York — headed to Foxborough on Sunday, at best the locals will reach the first day of autumn 1-5 combined.

And that is assuming that Jones learns quickly and that the Giants can convince Lawrence Taylor and Michael Strahan to come out of retirement to generate a pass rush against the Bucs on Sunday.

We New York football fans in late middle age were scarred for life by what we saw in the 1970s. Not that we wish that upon another generation, but at least we have company now.

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