The NFL is forcing a team to do Hard Knocks for the first time in the show’s history. And while Aaron Rodgers understands his New York Jets being tabbed, he doesn’t seem thrilled with the decision.
Earlier this week, the Jets were officially announced as the next team to be featured in HBO’s Hard Knocks. With no teams volunteering to be on the docuseries produced by NFL Films and HBO, the Jets seemed like the obvious choice because of their new quarterback and because they didn’t meet the criteria for any of the offered opt-outs. NFL rules allow teams to opt-out if they have a first-year head coach, reached the playoffs in the previous two seasons, or appeared on the show in the past decade.
Rodgers is in Lake Tahoe for the American Century Championship this week and on Thursday, he was interviewed by KPIX-TV sports reporter Vern Glenn. When asked about being on Hard Knocks, Rodgers made it clear that the Jets aren’t doing it by choice.
Hard Knocks on @HBO is coming to the @nyjets. What say you, Aaron Rodgers? Thgts from the 14th green at the American Century Championship. @ACChampionship @AaronRodgers12 @KPIXtv pic.twitter.com/SrfVEW7w88
— vernkpix (@vernKPIX) July 12, 2023
“I understand the appeal with us,” Rodgers said. “Obviously, there’s a lot of eyes on me. A lot of eyes on our team. A lot of expectations on our squad. So, they forced it down our throats, and we’ve got to deal with it.”
That news should make Mike Francesa feel better. Last week, the former WFAN radio host ripped the Jets for considering Hard Knocks, completely ignoring the fact that the NFL could force them onto the series. And that’s exactly what happened. The NFL is forcing Hard Knocks down the Jets’ throats, as Rodgers put it.
Last month, Jets’ head coach Robert Saleh admitted he did not want the extra cameras around during training camp, claiming “I know there are several teams that would love for Hard Knocks to be in their building.” And even before coming to the Jets, Rodgers similarly expressed that he had no interest in being on the HBO docuseries.
“I heard they were interested a couple times but our GM never wanted to do it,” Rodgers said referring to the Packers. “I mean, usually it’s teams that are kind of at the bottom, and they’ve kind of worked it in the deal where there’s like five or six teams that they can choose from that don’t really have a choice. But I mean, I like real authentic interactions.”
But when it came time for the NFL to make a decision on Hard Knocks, Saleh could not find another willing participant, Rodgers could not veto the idea, and Francesa could not convince all parties involved that the Jets being featured would be a “terrible turn of events.” It’s being forced down their throats because picking Rodgers and the Jets for Hard Knocks was an obvious decision for the NFL to make.