Coaching New York-area professional teams never has been a path to job security, but we are close to a milestone in insecurity — with the Jets’ Todd Bowles seemingly the only remaining hope for the football/baseball coaching/managing fraternity.
For all of the firing and hiring drama in Gotham over the decades, never has there been a single sports season in which the Mets, Yankees, Giants and Jets all replaced their field leaders.
(NFL coaching departures in early winter count as part the previous calendar year, for the purposes of our little discussion.)
Terry Collins and Joe Girardi are gone, Ben McAdoo appears to have only seven weeks of misery left and Bowles is in limbo at 4-6 after a yucky loss in Tampa stalled his NFL Coach of the Year campaign.
Bowles’ contract expires after 2018, so if the Jets follow NFL custom they either will let him go after the season or extend him rather than let him coach as a lame duck.
So, we shall see. But if all goes wrong and he is dismissed it will be historic, and another example of the tenuousness of the profession, here more than most places.
There have been times when the four baseball and football locals almost achieved a grand slam of departures. Take 1982:
Ray Perkins left the Giants to coach his alma mater, Alabama, after the season. The Jets saw Walt Michaels resign in February, citing personal reasons, shortly after he led the team to the AFC Championship Game.
The Yankees went through three managers: Bob Lemon, Gene Michael and Clyde King. The Mets? They kept George Bamberger after a 65-97 finish, but he resigned at 16-30 early in 1983.
“I’ve probably suffered enough,” he said.
The Giants and Jets coaches left after that season not because of poor performances, so that’s a little different. And Girardi was one victory from the World Series last month. So it’s complicated.
In 1996, the Mets fired Dallas Green in favor of Bobby Valentine during the season, and after that football season the Jets fired Rich Kotite and the Giants did so to Dan Reeves.
But the Yankees’ first-year manager, Joe Torre, made a good case for sticking around: He won the World Series.
None of this is new, of course. The New York Giants changed managers 18 times over their first 20 years in the National League before John McGraw came in the middle of the 1902 season to provide long-term leadership.
George Steinbrenner arrived in New York decades later and turned the Yankee Stadium manager’s office into a short-term hotel.
Actually, the early 21st century has been a period of relative tranquility for local coaches.
Torre lasted 12 seasons with the Yankees, then Girardi got 10. Collins had seven seasons with the Mets. Tom Coughlin spent 12 with the Giants and Rex Ryan six with the Jets.
Jack Capuano coached the Islanders from late in 2010 to early 2017.
So we were due for some occupational turmoil.
The current dean of New York-area coaches is Alain Vigneault, who joined the Rangers for the 2013-14 season.
But there was a minute there earlier this autumn when AV’s Rangers and Jeff Hornacek’s Knicks were looking awfully shaky — and it seemed the Garden might be in for an early renovation.
All is well for now, though. The Knicks are the talk of a football-challenged town, and the Rangers have won six in a row.
As for Bowles, at least his situation cannot get any worse. The Jets are off this weekend.