From Online Sports Betting To Sports Personalities, These Things We’re Thankful For In New York

Written By Mike Mazzeo on November 25, 2021 - Last Updated on November 24, 2021

Ah, Thanksgiving.

A time for family and friends. For remembering loved ones and appreciating all we have. A time overindulging on turkey and stuffing, mashed potatoes and homemade rolls, pumpkin pie and ultimately gaining seven pounds in one sitting.

What a holiday.

Above all else, Thanksgiving represents a time to, well, give thanks. To recognize and honor our blessings and express our gratitude.

There is plenty to be thankful for in New York. But we’ve narrowed it down to these 10 things.

1. Legal online sports betting in New York

One of the biggest pieces of news this year: Legal online sports betting is coming to the Empire State.

By early 2022, nine sportsbooks should roll out NY betting apps in time for the NFL playoffs and the Super Bowl. It’s taken a long time to get to this point. But the operators have been selected by the New York State Gaming Commission, and getting online sports betting fully up and running before the Feb. 13 Super Bowl seems very realistic.

2. Three downstate casino licenses expedited

There had been a moratorium in place for this not to happen until 2023. But policymakers revisited that given the growing state budget deficit caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

It’s possible the two existing VTLs in Queens and Yonkers will become full casinos, with the third being located near Citi Field or Belmont Park, though other locations remain in play.

3. Kevin Durant, Brooklyn Nets

Kyrie Irving is an anti-vaxxer who simply may not love basketball anymore. And James Harden has been playing his way back into form off a hamstring injury (plus the rule changes).

Durant, meanwhile, has responded by playing MVP basketball with a lesser supporting cast around him in Brooklyn.

4. Tom Thibodeau, New York Knicks

After massively overachieving last season, expectations have changed for the Knicks. And a slow start featuring a porous starting five hasn’t helped matters. But if there’s anyone who can turn things around in a more competitive Eastern Conference of the NBA, it’s Thibodeau.

5. Igor Shesterkin, New York Rangers

The Broadway Blueshirts have exceeded expectations out of the gate, and their 25-year-old Russian netminder is a massive reason why. Shesterkin needs more of a sample size of dominance, but it looks like the Rangers have their long-term solution in goal following an incredible era between the pipes from Henrik Lundqvist.

6. UBS Arena

No more half-measures from Barclays Center or Nassau Coliseum. The New York Islanders needed a home. They got one in their stunning $1.3 billion arena which features 17 bars (and, unfortunately, $17 beer). Now their back-to-back Final Four roster needs to step up.

7. New York Giants overhaul

Jason Garrett is gone. Dave Gettleman (and maybe Joe Judge) could be next. Big Blue desperately needs a house cleaning, with no GM-HC arranged marriages. John Mara’s franchise has transformed from gold standard to annual embarrassment. The next front office and coaching staff has a lot of work to do.

8. New York baseball $$$

Fans aren’t exactly happy with Steve Cohen and Hal Steinbrenner, and that makes a lot of sense. The New York Mets took forever and a day to hire a GM, and they’ve got several holes to fix on their roster. Jacob deGrom’s future health will be everything.

The New York Yankees, meanwhile, haven’t won it all since 2009 and can’t afford to waste the primes of Gerrit Cole, Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge. Let’s see what Billy Eppler and Brian Cashman can do with a couple open wallets. The pressure is on.

9. Elijah Moore, New York Jets

The Jets don’t have much. Zach Wilson’s up-and-down rookie season has been halted due to injury. And the defense hasn’t been able to stop a nosebleed. But Moore has the necessary tools where you can envision him as a potential WR1 down the road.

10. Buffalo Bills defense

Welp. Last week didn’t go so well. It was a gut check. But the Bills still rank first in yards allowed per game and second in points allowed per game. Josh Allen and the offense need to try to find some sort of consistency. Buffalo can still be a Super Bowl contender but the pressure is mounting.

Photo by AP / Eduardo Munoz Alvarez
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Mike Mazzeo

Mike Mazzeo has covered New York sports since 2010, previously working as a beat writer and columnist for ESPN (Nets), Yahoo Sports (NBA/MLB) and the New York Daily News (Yankees). His work has also been published in the New York Times, New York Post, Forbes and The Ringer.

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