New Jersey Professional Sports Teams
New Jersey stands out as the industry leader for sports betting in the United States. In September 2021, the state handled over $1 billion in wagers, a record monthly handle figure for the US sports betting market. NJ’s total handle for 2021 surpassed the $10 billion mark.
New Jersey’s dominance of the sports betting market primarily reflects the state’s advanced gambling infrastructure and efficient regulations. But it also tells a story of the intense passion that residents have for sports.
The Garden State boasts a rich sporting history, with many successful teams and legendary athletes across various competitions. Olympic Gold medallist Carl Lewis and NBA-championship-winning stars Dennis Rodman and Shaquille O’Neal all hail from the state. MLB legends Mike Trout and Yogi Berra were also born in the NJ area.
In this article, we will explore some of the most notable sports teams that are or were based in NJ.
New Jersey Devils
The Devils began as the Kansas City Scouts in 1974-75 before moving to Colorado for six seasons, where they were called the Rockies. The team finally landed in NJ for the 1982-83 season as the New Jersey Devils, playing their home games in the 19,500-capacity Prudential Center.
Over the years, the franchise has had noteworthy players such as Patrick Elias, Scott Niedermayer, and Martin Broduer. Elias, in particular, holds a revered spot among the New Jersey Devils’ passionate fanbase, leading them to two Stanley Cup wins and posting 1025 points during a one-team career that spanned 20 years.
There’s little to report in terms of recent success for the Devils, with playoff appearances proving particularly hard to come by in the last decade. Nonetheless, the team has had a successful history, winning three Stanley Cup championships within a glorious 8-year period in the late nineties to early 2000s (1995, 2000, 2003).
They have also won five Eastern Conference titles and nine division championships.
New York Giants
NJ sports fans wondering what NFL teams play in New Jersey may be pleased to know that there are, in fact, two such franchises. The first is the Giants, named after New York City but based in NJ. This New Jersey sports team is headquartered at the multi-purpose 82-500-capacity MetLife Stadium, an arena they share with cross-town rivals, the Jets.
The Giants were founded in 1925 and have won four Super Bowls, the most recent of which came in 2011, their 87th season in the league. The franchise made history that year by becoming the first NFL team to reach the Super Bowl despite posting a negative point differential (minus 6).
Their victory in the Super Bowl XLVI came against the New England Patriots, almost mirroring their championship success from four years earlier against the same franchise. The Giants have also won eight NFL championships, tied for third-most in league history. They maintain a strong rivalry with their fellow NFC East team, the Philadelphia Eagles.
New York Jets
The Jets are another example of a professional sports team in New Jersey named after NYC. They were founded in 1960 as the Titans of New York and won their first Super Bowl nine years later, during the 1968-1969 season. That success made them one of the fastest NFL teams to win the championship after their inception, but it wasn’t an indication of what was to come.
Since their 1968 success, the New York Jets have only managed to add one AFC trophy to their name. However, they reached the NFL conference finals in the 2009 and 2010 seasons.
They have also recorded 12 playoff appearances from 1981 to date. Despite their modest history, the Jets boast a passionate NJ fanbase capable of going toe-to-toe with their more successful cross-town rivals.
The Nets are a professional basketball team founded in 1977 as the New Jersey Nets. The franchise was initially based in Teaneck but played most of its home games at the Continental Airlines Arena. They transitioned to Brooklyn’s Barclays Center in 2012, where they rebranded as the Brooklyn Nets.
The Brooklyn Nets recorded some success in the early 2000s, clinching the Eastern Conference two years in a row between 2002 and 2003.
However, despite some heroic performances from Jason Kidd, their consecutive NBA Finals appearances ended in defeats to star-studded LA Lakers and San Antonio Spurs teams.
New York Red Bulls
The New Jersey Red Bulls are a professional soccer team that plays in the MLS. The franchise was founded in 1995 as the New Jersey MetroStars and renamed the New York Red Bulls in 2006. They have won the Supporters’ Shield (given to the team with the best regular season record in MLS) three times and the Eastern Conference championship twice.
The Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ, is where the Red Bulls hold their home games, with a seating capacity of 25,000 people. After purchasing legendary World Cup-winning French player Thierry Henry, the organisation recorded a global popularity spike. Henry’s spell at Red Bulls was an overall success, with 51 goals scored in 122 appearances.
In July 2014, he became the team’s all-time assist leader, surpassing Tab Ramos and Amado Guevara.
The Garden State’s long and proud history of producing iconic pro sports teams is almost unmatched in the US. From the NHL to the NFL, MLS, and NBA, there’s a New Jersey team for every sports fan.
Naturally, these teams vary in history, status, and recent success. But one common thing to each of them is that they bring immense excitement, passion, and pride to NJ’s sporting landscape.