In some alternate reality, American football has promotion and relegation — not just for the college ranks, but up through the pros as well. This will never happen in our timeline, of course. But somewhere, winning the SEC one year gets you a spot in the AFC South, knocking the Jaguars down to the SEC East.
I bring this idea up because the New York Giants — the team I cared about when I cared about the NFL — have seemingly forfeited their ability to compete at the highest level. It’s been a slow decay, mind you, but this offseason did seem to speed things up a bit. After trading away their best player (Odell Beckham Jr.) and letting one of their best defenders (Landon Collins) walk, they used the sixth pick in last night’s NFL Draft to select... Duke quarterback Daniel Jones.
Yes, the same Daniel Jones who had relatively comparable stats to the Syracuse Orange’s Eric Dungey, a player who will not hear his name called this weekend. The same Daniel Jones that doesn’t grade out as the top QB in the draft by virtually any measure. The same Daniel Jones that lost to Wake Forest 59-7 in his final home game with the Blue Devils (as ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt reminded everyone on SportsCenter last night).
For these sorts of sins, and the coming failures that fans will have to endure, there should be a price. That price is relegation. We have the perfect replacement in mind.
In no way are we claiming that Syracuse is an NFL-caliber team at this point. Save that take for some other venue. But as the best team in the Northeast this past season (give us our damn trophy, Army) and one that’s actually in New York state, it seems reasonable that another organization gets a shot in the NFC East while the Giants figure some stuff out.
Would Syracuse lose a lot of games? Probably. But... even if they went just 1-15 and looked entertaining while doing so with Dino Babers at the helm, that could be just fine. We’d hang a banner, the Giants would probably win the ACC (though no guarantees given the talent at Clemson right now) and we’d switch back next year with everyone probably better off for it.
Cool? Cool. At least for now, SU can take solace in the fact that the Orange won just five fewer games than the three New York NFL teams (Giants, Jets, Bills) combined last year — in 35 fewer tries. So are we the best football team in New York? Think that answer’s indisputably “yes” at the moment.