The TV network that brought you Tony Soprano could now feature NY Jets quarterback Zach Wilson in an upcoming season of "Hard Knocks." We never thought we'd say those two names in the same sentence.
Fans may love 'em or hate 'em, but they undoubtedly feel something about HBO's "Hard Knocks" documentary series that focuses on one NFL team's training camp and preparations for the season ahead.
In 2021, the Dallas Cowboys — led by golden boy Dak Prescott — fell victim to the big screen, and later that year, HBO released a second series, their first-ever regular-season version featuring the Indianapolis Colts.
This year, the Jets may be forced to partake in the newest season of "Hard Knocks" as one of three eligible teams.
The series debuted in 2001 and has attracted more viewers year after year, despite many NFL teams remaining reluctant to open their doors to HBO (mind you, these are football players, not movie stars).
NY Jets may have no choice but to participate in HBO's "Hard Knocks" series in 2022
In 2013, the league passed a set of rules which can force certain teams to cooperate with HBO. Under these rules, any team that has not hired a new head coach, has not made the playoffs in the past two years, and has not appeared on the series in the last decade may be forced to do the show.
In 2022, the Jets, Carolina Panthers, and Detroit Lions check all those criteria. Zach Wilson certainly has the face for ample camera time, but this HBO series seems like it would be more of a distraction than anything to the Jets' rebuilding efforts.
The last time the Jets were featured on "Hard Knocks" was during the show's sixth season in 2010 when HBO visited Cortland, New York to document the team's ups and downs in training camp and the preseason.
With then-head coach Rex Ryan stealing most of the spotlight, the series had its dramatic — and hilarious — moments: Darrelle Revis' climactic return to the team, Antonio Cromartie's deficiencies as a father, and ear-splitting soundbites from Ryan's various speeches and rants.
Some would use the word "iconic" to describe the "Hard Knocks" series, others may opt for "trashy." Come this season's training camp, the Jets may become must-see TV, but not necessarily for the right reasons.
We just hope Robert Saleh provides plenty of snacks.