There were only four possibilities for teams that could be forced onto Hard Knocks this summer: the New York Jets, Chicago Bears, New Orleans Saints and Washington Commanders. That’s due to the rules that offer opt-outs for teams who have new head coaches, have made the playoffs in the last two seasons, or have been on the show in the past 10 years, Now, according to Adam Schefter, the choice has been made, with the ESPN NFL insider reporting Wednesday morning that Gang Green will be on the show.
After deciding not to hold mandatory minicamps, the Jets will report to training camp one week from Wednesday (July 19) and will be the first full squad to do so.
NFL and NFL Films have selected the New York Jets to serve as this year’s team on Hard Knocks, per sources.
Jets report to training camp one week from today, July 19, and the cameras will be rolling in full force. pic.twitter.com/v9A7Pb9GP2
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 12, 2023
Last month, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, reported that the Jets were “bracing” to be forced to do the show, so this doesn’t exactly come as a surprise.
The thing is the Jets don’t want to be on Hard Knocks. And they’ve made that inherently clear. Jets’ coach Robert Saleh, in particular, does not seem to be a fan of the idea of being on the show. He’s said things to that effect before and added to that discourse more last month.
Robert Saleh: "I know there are several teams that would love for Hard Knocks to be in their building. We are not one of them." #Jets
— Zack Rosenblatt (@ZackBlatt) June 9, 2023
During a radio appearance earlier this month, Florio said that “NFL Films wants volunteers, not hostages.” But now, it appears that NFL Films, at least according to Schefter, has gone the hostage route.
Yes, it’s understandable why NFL Films prefers teams that volunteer. In particular, a team eager to participate may offer more access, and access has posed challenges for the show at times. But getting a team to volunteer for Hard Knocks appears to often be easier said than done.
As argued here previously, forcing the Jets to be on Hard Knocks looks pretty logical for the league. There’s massive nationwide interest in them following their trade for Aaron Rodgers. In terms of local interest, they’re in the No. 1 media market in the country (and even though that’s split with fans of the Giants and fans of other teams, there are a lot of Jets fans). Rodgers would be a fascinating figure to get regularly on the Hard Knocks cameras, considering his propensity for saying just about anything.
We’ll see how this Hard Knocks turns out. But there’s certainly some potential to rival the team’s 2010 edition of the show.
Buckle up, Jets fans.
[Adam Schefter on Twitter]