For those of you that haven’t heard (or for those of you outside the tri-state area who don’t pay attention to New York teams), there has been an interesting statistic making the Internet rounds over the last couple days. It involves the New York Jets and the New York Giants and their win totals over the last few seasons.
Since Rex Ryan took over the Jets in 2009, the Jets have gone 36-31 with 4 playoff victories. The Giants in that same time frame? 36-31 with 4 playoff victories. However, the perception of the two teams could not possibly be more different, as the Jets are viewed as a circus with poor players and a lame duck coach, while the Giants are seen as a top organization led by Hall of Famers in Eli Manning and Tom Coughlin.
Of course, the key to this comparison is that the Giants used those four playoff wins to win the Super Bowl in 2011. Obviously that is all that matters in the NFL, and that gives them a big leg up on the Jets when comparing the two teams.
I don’t want to downplay the importance of that Super Bowl win, but the otherwise equal success makes for an interesting study in media portrayal of franchises and how that affects public perception. I’m sure many fans are stunned by these numbers, as they have simply assumed that the Giants are the far more successful team because that is how they are so often portrayed.
What this statistic shows is that for all the nonsense surrounding the Jets, they have had their share of success on the field. However, reporting on the negative aspects of the Jets is what draws the big ratings, so that is what ESPN and other national media outlets do.
Ultimately, these statistics are meaningless, especially when you consider the Giants’ Lombardi trophy in the equation. That being said, it is still an interesting comparison, and a reminder that things are not always as they seem.