We now know exactly when the world will see the first episode of Hard Knocks covering Aaron Rodgers and the New York Jets. HBO and NFL Films announced Monday that this year’s preseason Hard Knocks will premiere on Tuesday, Aug. 8, at 10 p.m. ET on HBO, and will also be available to stream on Max.
— Max (@StreamOnMax) July 17, 2023
That one-hour premiere will be followed by four further one-hour episodes, debuting Tuesdays each week through Sept. 5. Here’s more from a release, which also touches on how well the last Jets’ Hard Knocks did:
HARD KNOCKS: TRAINING CAMP WITH THE NEW YORK JETS will mark the 18th edition of the 18-time Sports Emmy®-winning series, embedding camera crews at the Jets’ training camp in Florham Park, N.J. to chronicle third-year head coach Robert Saleh preparing his team of young emerging stars and prominent veterans — most notably, four-time NFL MVP, Aaron Rodgers, Offensive and Defensive Rookies of the Year Garrett Wilson and Sauce Gardner, and defensive All-Pros C.J. Mosley and Quinnen Williams — for the upcoming NFL season.
“NFL Films has a long and storied relationship with the Jets, from the early days of the AFL and Joe Namath’s “#1” salute after Super Bowl III, to The Sack Exchange, and the team’s first appearance on Hard Knocks in the midst of back-to-back AFC Championship Game appearances,” said Patrick Kelleher, Executive Producer, NFL Films. “The 2010 Jets changed the profile and the success of Hard Knocks forever. That Jets team made football fun for fans. And now we are excited for a new partnership with this iconic organization and HBO to create another chapter in both NFL and television history filled with great personalities and a roster striving to reach new heights of success.”
…HARD KNOCKS: TRAINING CAMP WITH THE NEW YORK JETS will be narrated by Liev Schreiber, marking his 17th season with the show.
For those who need a refresher, here’s one of the highlights of that last Jets’ Hard Knocks, featuring then-head coach and current ESPN NFL analyst Rex Ryan instructing the team to go eat a condemned snack:
The current Jets’ Hard Knocks is particularly interesting, with it coming from the NFL forcing them to appear on the show. While there have long been rules for forcing teams that meet certain criteria, and while not all selected teams have been thoroughly enthusiastic about the prospect, we haven’t previously seen a team whose key figures (including head coach Robert Saleh and quarterback Aaron Rodgers) have been so vocally against Hard Knocks being picked for the show (even if Mike Francesa didn’t notice their opposition). And the Jets aren’t alone there, with plenty of coaches and teams around the league complaining about the idea of being on the show. Los Angeles Rams coach Sean McVay (who was on the show in 2020 in a joint version with the Chargers that was altered due to COVID-19 protocols) had some interesting remarks on just why that is recently:
He touches on competitive disadvantages, and a lack of authenticity when cameras are rolling ? pic.twitter.com/uxjpRQpIRu
— Eben Novy-Williams (@novy_williams) July 17, 2023
As many, including ESPN’s Domonique Foxworth, have said, though, the distraction and disadvantage arguments often seem to be a little overstated. But what can be notable for the purposes of the show is how much access and cooperation players and coaches do actually provide. The 2019 version with the Raiders, ahead of their last season in Oakland, had some remarkable moments (especially around Antonio Brown and Canada), but the reluctance of figures like head coach Jon Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock to provide much access arguably hurt the series. So it will be interesting to see what the Jets do; they’ve been forced to be on the show, but will they get over that to provide good access, or will this be another limited-access version of Hard Knocks?