The New York sports scene is overloaded with success and feel good stories right now. Stars have been born, teams are winning games and players have elevated their play to match the spotlight which they have been given.
And get this, none of fresh cast of New York sports icons are in the spotlight for talking trash, being malcontents or filling up the gossip pages. They’re all actually getting recognition for phenomenal performance.
The NYC sports spotlight de-jour has no Alex Rodriguez, Rex Ryan or Carmelo Anthony. No, no.
The three heroes of the moment are Mr. Elite, Eli Manning, two-time Super Bowl MVP and champion; King Henry, Henrik Lundqvist, stonewalling goaltender and MVP candidate; and of course, Linsanity himself, Jeremy Lin, the Most Linteresting Man in the World.
Lin is the newcomer, and we all know the story by now. Harvard graduate. Cut by two teams. Lives on brother’s couch. Comes in and lights up the NBA at a record-setting, heart stopping pace.
With a treacherous lack of Tim Tebow in our lives over the past month, he has picked up the reins as the crossover – killer crossover, in his case – sports story which captivates the nation. What’s not to like about him? He has the New York Knicks winning games, and the Garden is buzzing with excitement. Every scout, coach and general manager in the country looks like a schlub for completely missing the boat on this kid.
King Henry won over the Garden faithful years ago with his consistently great performance in net for the New York Rangers. This season though, he’s more than a top 5 or 10 netminder, he’s the frontrunner for NHL MVP. As I wrote in the beginning of February, he is on pace for one of the most spectacular goaltending seasons in modern NHL history, and he has the Rangers in place as the number 1 seed in the Eastern Conference.
Give the guy two goals and you’ll get a win, period. Get him well rested and hot in the postseason with a top seed, and you may just get much more than that.
Then there’s Eli Manning, who has grown up from hyped little brother to legitimate superstar right before our eyes. He might look like a scrawny college kid you could take in a fight if you met on the street, but make no mistake about it, there’s no quarterback in the NFL today with a tougher disposition, a superior killer instinct or a better track record of clutch performance.
He has stared down Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots twice in the Super Bowl. He has led his underdog team through a grueling road gauntlet of postseason games en route to both of those championships, and he has officially shut the mouths of every doubter, hater and disbeliever.
It’s a great time to be a fan of New York sports teams with Manning, Lundqvist and Lin leading the charge, and I don’t care how long it’s going to last. I’m just enjoying the ride.
This article was first published on Yahoo! Sports on February 15, 2012