The 2019 National Football League campaign may wind up being the best of times for the hometown Giants and Jets. Or the season could follow the script that makes 2019 the worst of times.
It all depends on the teams' quarterbacks, 16-year veteran Eli Manning of the Giants, and Sam Darnold, entering his second year with the Jets.
Complicating matters is the presence of Daniel Jones, the Giants' heralded rookie quarterback from Duke. Jones, who the Giants took with the plum sixth pick of the draft, is poised to succeed Manning.
Neither the Giants nor the Jets have done much winning in the last few years. Bad management has plagued both teams, which have been mired in endless rebuilding programs.
The Giants shipped out Odell Beckham Jr., whose wild talent didn't always overshadow the mayhem he seemed to spark. Manning must now work with less-skilled players and pray that his offensive line, a porous liability in recent seasons, will give him enough time to find receivers down the field.
Meanwhile, Darnold has the pressure of showing that his bright rookie season was not a fluke. The Jets have had their share of good quarterbacks, but nobody has ever come close to replacing Joe Namath for Jets fans.
A Picture of Class
The drama intensifies when Giants fans ponder the legacy of Manning. He led the team to two Super Bowl upsets of the Bill Belichick-Tom Brady New England Patriots. But he has been castigated by fans and media for his failure to help the Giants to return to paradise.
Manning has a lot riding on this season: his reputation, the Hall of Fame and how he will be remembered by the fans. Manning has been a picture of class throughout his career, but that's not enough for such a competitor as this man. He wants to ride off into the sunset with a final season of great success.
Darnold is the opposite. He's just starting out on his journey to possible football immortality. He could get derailed by injuries or shoddy play. The ball is in his hands.
The Jets fan base has high hopes. They see Darnold as their best chance to topple the all-champion Patriots, who have won six Super Bowl titles in this century.
It's going to be an interesting year. Will Manning or Darnold put his stamp on it?