This is part of a series of sports history articles celebrating the best in 1986 sports. This piece asks the question of which geographic fan base had the best year in ’86.
Where was the best place to be a sports fan in 1986? There’s a strong argument to be made for Boston. The Celtics won the NBA title, the Red Sox made the World Series and the Patriots won the AFC East. But we chronicled Boston in both its agony (1978) and its ecstasy (2004).
We could also look at New York, where the Mets won the World Series and the Giants won the Super Bowl. This gets us closer, and based on this you would have to give the nod to NYC. But I still have a problem.
The typical fan divide in the Big Apple is Yankees/Giants on one side and Mets/Jets on the other. A celebration of a successful fan market isn’t going to give favoritism to two-team cities that get there just on sheer volume. I’d rather focus in a specific fan segment.
So, while we acknowledge Boston, the choice is still New York in 1986, but with a twist. Sure, we’ll give a respectful tip of the cap to Bill Parcells, Lawrence Taylor, Phil Simms and the champion Giants. But our focus is going to be on the fans of Underdog New York—at least underdog in terms of media coverage—and pairing up the Jets and Mets.
The New York Jets had a crazy up-and-down year—they started 10-1 and it looked like they would give Underdog New York—as opposed to New York overall—a chance of pulling the World Series-Super Bowl Parlay. A five-game losing streak promptly ended that. Then the Jets won a first-round playoff game and followed it up with a gut-wrenching loss in Cleveland, a game that seemed to take the roller coaster ride that was their season and sum it up in a single game.
1986 was an exciting year to be a fan of Underdog New York’s teams. The Mets’ World Series run including a taut National League Championship Series and a World Series survival of Boston that made history. The Jets provided their own thrills. Together, they kept a fan base on its collective toes.
Read more about the 1986 New York Mets
Read more about the 1986 New York Jets