FLORHAM PARK, NJ — The show is hugely popular and has received critical acclaim. The show helped boost the Jets into the upper echelon of discussions for NFL supremacy — whether we liked it or not. The show also turned Rex Ryan from a loud-mouth, flamboyant head coach into … well, a loud-mouth, flamboyant head coach that America fell head-over-heels in a love-hate relationship.
With all the publicity it brought to the Jets — albeit both positive and negative — why is it no teams want to follow-up the Jets for the 2011 installment of HBO’s thrilling documentary “Hard Knocks”? On Sunday NFL Network reported that the Minnesota Vikings were the latest team to turn down the invite of HBO to their training camp (that is, if there is a training camp).
Vikings owner, Zygi Wilf, confirmed that the team was approached by HBO and declined the offer. “We have other issues — the stadium and football — and we need to focus on those,” Wilf said.
The Vikings join the Atlanta Falcons, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions and Tampa Bay Buccaneers to decline the “Hard Knocks” spotlight. But with all the attention that came the Jets way last season, why would these young, upcoming teams not like that attention? The Jets have paved the road for team’s with a “fake it ’til you make it” mantra of forcing a Super Bowl attitude without the ring, and “Hard Knocks” was a big part of implementing that winning swagger. Granted Ryan always has a finger on the pulse of his team, perhaps more so than the rest of the coaches in the NFL.
But it appears that those five teams that turned down “Hard Knocks” didn’t see the pros outweighing the cons. What cons you ask? Constant scrutiny and distractions along with a concentration that can be counter-productive and detrimental to the team’s goals. Remember Darrelle Revis and the now infamous Roscoe’s Diner?
But maybe “Hard Knocks” isn’t for everyone. Imagine Bill Belichick and Tom Brady on prime time every Thursday night? It’d be interesting, like C-SPAN is interesting. I know the Jets have denied any chances of a second run on “Hard Knocks”, but I think they should reconsider their stance. The series won three Emmy’s, made a star out of Ryan and did exactly what the Jets wanted out of the show: put an X on their backs and piss off the rest of the league.
The Jets love the spotlight and wouldn’t have it any other way, so why not continue that mindset heading into the 2011 season? They are without question one of the most compelling teams in football. And whether you like them or not, the Jets are always an entertaining team to watch. But should they decide to forgo a sophomore season with the documentary here are my top three teams I’d like to see:
- New Orleans Saints — Drew Brees has been one of the figureheads in the NFLPA’s ongoing battle with the NFL’s owners, recently likening them to sharks who smell blood in the water. Add in a controversial Reggie Bush – who has gotten himself in some hot water for his off-color comments regarding the NFL Draft and lockout on his Twitter account. Those guys need cameras in front of them more often. Add in a great draft (Mark Ingram, Cameron Jordan, Wilson Martez) to a team who already has Super Bowl aspirations and the temptation of Bourbon Street and I’m already setting my DVR.
- Green Bay Packers — The reigning Super Bowl Champs, is there really anything else I have to say? It’d be great to see how a reigning champ gets back in to the swing of things and see how much hunger they have to repeat. I’d love to get an inside look at how Aaron Rodgers and his receiving corps always seem to be on the same page.
- San Francisco 49ers — This team would be my number one choice if Mike Singletary was still the head coach. The guy just might be as quotable as Ryan. But with a new, sexy coach in Jim Harbaugh — who believes in former number one overall pick Alex Smith as his quarterback — I’d like to see how he handles the pressures of delivering in a weak division under the bright spotlights of HBO.
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