It was March 28, 2022, when it was announced the Detroit Lions would be the subject of HBO’s “Hard Knocks,” which follows one NFL team each season as it takes on the trials and tribulations of a league training camp.
It’s now June 16, 2023, and the league has yet to announce the subject of this summer’s season. So it bodes the question: is the NFL just waiting for the Jets to say yes?
The Jets have been one of the show favorites since landing star quarterback Aaron Rodgers in a blockbuster April trade. And they don’t fulfill any requirements to avoid being the show’s subject: they don’t have a first-year head coach, haven’t been the subject of the show in over a decade, and their playoff drought has lasted over a decade longer than the two-year threshold. Plus, they’re in the league’s annual Hall of Fame Game to commence the 2023 preseason. And it’s a New York market, which is all the reason for television.
So the NFL has absolutely every argument for choosing the Jets, but still hasn’t made any announcement? Even though Jets training camp opens late next month? Why is this?
Well, it might be because there seems to be an impasse. We know Robert Saleh isn’t fond of the idea. The third-year Jets head coach recently told the media at OTAs, “I know there’s several teams that would love for ‘Hard Knocks’ to be in their building, but we’re just not one of them.” And honestly, why would the Jets want to do it? They’re in a small championship window for the first time in decades. Why would they want any distraction ahead of the most crucial season in franchise history?
This could be why it’s taking so long for the league to announce anything.
It’s very possible the league is desperate to portray arguably its most intriguing team ahead of the 2023 season in order to maximize ratings. When has the NFL not tried to maximize ratings? And it’s possible the Jets are holding firm, which has caused the NFL to wait, and wait, and wait, possibly into late June for either side to cave.
The Jets would gain nothing from being the subject of Hard Knocks. The NFL — and HBO — would gain a whole lot. So the league has a significant reason to wait this out.
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