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February 20, 2019

Jets want no part of ‘Hard Knocks,’ though HBO has interest: sources

February 11, 2019

The Jets might be a perfect fit for the next installment of “Hard Knocks” given all their colorful personalities, but don’t set your DVRs expecting to find them this summer.

Although I’m told that people putting together the annual docuseries have interest in having the Jets on air, the feeling isn’t mutual. People on One Jets Drive have privately expressed their desire to me to steer clear of the show for myriad reasons.

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Translation: Don’t expect the Jets to volunteer for Hard Knocks.

The Jets have not had any formal discussions with NFL Films, which chronicles one team’s journey through training camp, about the topic. NFL Films kicks off those types of conversations with potential teams in March, according to sources.

Imagine Adam Gase on “Hard Knocks” (Seth Wenig / AP)

The NFL Films brain trust typically doesn’t ask teams with new head coaches to be on the show, but the Jets’ motley crew has created a curiosity internally among some of those folks.

The policy, however, is clear: The Jets are exempt from appearing on the show due to guidelines set forth by owners six years ago.

League rules explicitly state that teams cannot be compelled to appear on Hard Knocks if they fall into one of three categories:

1) They have a first-year head coach.

2) They have made the playoffs in the past two seasons.

3) They have appeared on the show in the past 10 years.

Since the Jets check two of those boxes (see: Adam Gase and Hard Knocks appearance in 2010), they’re in the clear. There are only five teams that won’t have the right to refuse to be on the show: The Giants, Washington, Raiders, 49ers and Lions.

The Jets haven’t had an internal discussion among their brain trust about the matter given that NFL Films has not formally broached the topic with them. But know this: Forget about Gang Green volunteering to be on the show.

If the Jets called up NFL Films right now to tell them that they wanted to do the show, it would take, oh, about three seconds, for them to jump at Gang Green’s offer.

But that’s an offer that won’t happen, according to sources.

The Jets have quite the collection of interesting personalities that would drive ratings. It’s a needless distraction from a team perspective, but people would tune in to watch.

Just look at the cast of characters: Jamal Adams, Gregg Williams and Gase.

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Adams would try to hog as much air time as possible. Williams would be Williams. Gase would put show editors to work by bleeping every third word given his penchant for colorful metaphors (according to former players who I spoke with).

Jamal Adams.
Jamal Adams. (Steven Ryan / Getty Images)

The Jets added another layer to the story last week by hiring Joe Vitt, who testified against Williams during the BountyGate hearings. (Williams and Vitt evidently have made amends).

The rest of the league would also find out that Sam Darnold is a pretty interesting dude, too.

Sprinkle in a little bit of Le’Veon Bell (maybe) and/or other high-priced free agent signings and you have the makings of an entertaining show.

The Jets wisely couldn’t care less about any of that. They just need to win more games. Having a camera crew documenting their every move while they try to set a proper foundation for the season doesn’t actually help toward that end.

That’s not to say that it absolutely would adversely affect them in 2019.

The Jets actually made the playoffs when they appeared on Hard Knocks in 2010. It was the last time they sniffed the postseason.

The Jets might be good theater in August, but they’re more interested in people tuning in to watch them in January when it actually matters.

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