The Mets’ elimination from playoff contention on Wednesday and the combined 1-5 start for the Jets and Giants allows us semi-officially to put a bow on the 2010s in New York-area postseason sports qualification.
You know without researching it that it was bad, but crunching the numbers for the past century reveals just how bad a decade it has been.
We already are in the middle of the longest metropolitan-area pro championship drought among the four major team sports since 1905-21, with the Yankees likely the last hope until June of 2020 – at least. But the struggle goes beyond that to merely reaching the playoffs.
To oversimplify, it was the worst decade around here since the 1960s, at least by one measurement: Percentage of playoff appearances per number of team-seasons played.
Assuming the Jets and Giants do not rally, only 36.7 percent of seasons in the 2010s will have resulted in berths for the area’s nine major baseball, football, basketball and hockey teams.
And 42 percent of those come from only two teams – the Yankees and Rangers.
The .367 batting average is down from a best-ever .533 in the 2000s and is the worst since .300 in the 1960s.
Before we list the decade-by-decade numbers, some grounds rules:
Only the NFL, AFL, MLB, NBA, ABA and NHL count. Apologies to fans of the Federal League’s Brooklyn Tip-Tops and Newark Peppers in the mid-1910s, but that league did not play any postseason games.
Likewise, there were no NFL playoffs until 1933, so that is when the clock starts for the football Giants.
Teams that left New York or are defunct count, such as the NHL’s New York Americans, NFL’s Brooklyn Dodgers (but not before 1933) and New York Bulldogs/Yanks, plus, obviously, baseball’s Dodgers and Giants, who rumor has it left for California a while back.
We did count playoff tie-breaker games as postseason appearances.
By the way, only one team went 10-for-10 in a decade: The Knicks of the 1990s. (The 2004-05 lockout denied the otherwise 9-for-9 Devils of the 2000s.)
There are some clear apples-to-oranges problems with these statistics.
Over the decades, playoff berths obviously have tended to expand, making it easier to qualify. The flip side is that expansion has made it more difficult to reach the playoffs in the NBA and NHL than in previous eras.
High school math teachers are welcome to assign an extra credit project that takes into account such factors to come up with a more precise measure than ours.
But imprecise as these numbers may be, they do illustrate a larger point: All things considered, this has been an awful decade in New York sports.
1910s: 5 playoff berths, 30 team-seasons, .167 percentage
1920s: 15 playoff berths, 34 team-seasons, .441 percentage
1930s: 25 playoff berths, 64 team-seasons, .391 percentage
1940s: 20 playoff berths, 70 team-seasons, .286 percentage
1950s: 30 playoff berths, 58 team-seasons, .517 percentage
1960s: 18 playoff berths, 60 team-seasons, .300 percentage
1970s: 32 playoff berths, 77 team-seasons, .416 percentage
1980s: 42 playoff berths, 87 team-seasons, .483 percentage
1990s: 44 playoff berths, 90 team-seasons, .489 percentage
2000s: 48 playoff berths, 90 team-seasons, .533 percentage
2010s: 33 playoff berths, 90 team-seasons, .367 percentage