NY Jets head coach Robert Saleh didn't mince words when asked about the possibility of his team appearing on HBO's "Hard Knocks" this year prior to Friday's final OTA practice of the spring.
Saleh made it very clear that the Jets were not interested in returning to the hit show for the first time since 2010. Unfortunately, the decision isn't up to Saleh. It's not up to anyone in the Jets' organization, in fact.
Saleh told reporters that he's aware of a number of teams that would be happy to appear as the featured team on "Hard Knocks." The Jets are not one of those teams, but they are one of four teams that could be forced to do the show if the NFL and HBO decide to.
The Jets, New Orleans Saints, Chicago Bears, and Washington Commanders are the four teams eligible to be selected (against their will) to be this year's "Hard Knocks" team.
To be eligible, teams must not have appeared on the show in the last 10 years, they cannot have made the playoffs in either of the past two years, and they can't have a first-year head coach.
The NY Jets could be forced to appear on 'Hard Knocks'
The Jets and Bears have both publicly insisted that they have no desire to appear on the show. Despite this, the Jets remain the odds-on favorite to be selected as this year's team. It wouldn't be unprecedented for the NFL to force a team to do the show.
Back in 2019, the then-Oakland Raiders were one of a few teams eligible to be forced to appear on "Hard Knocks." Despite team owner Mark Davis explicitly stating in a public interview that he doesn't want his team on the show, the NFL decided to choose the Raiders anyway.
Of course, this was the Jon Gruden-led Raiders. The series featured the infamous Antonio Brown fiasco, the return of Richie Incognito, and the team's move to Las Vegas. The Raiders were an obvious choice.
Many feel the same way about the Jets this year. Aaron Rodgers is obviously the center of attention, but storylines involving the likes of Robert Saleh, Sauce Gardner, Breece Hall, Zach Wilson, and many others could make for great television.
It's also unusual that we haven't heard any word about this year's "Hard Knocks" team. The NFL announced the Detroit Lions as the 2022 participant back in March of last year. It's now the middle of June, and we still haven't heard anything about this year.
Whatever the holdup, it's very clear that the Jets have no desire to appear on the hit HBO series. Unfortunately, if the NFL and HBO decide that they want the Jets, they're going to get the Jets.