“Hard Knocks” is one of my favorite shows on television. If you haven’t seen the series and you have HBO, you need to get on board. Hard Knocks gives a behind-the-scenes look at a specific team’s training camp leading up to the NFL season and it’s something that no other network has ever offered to the extent at which HBO offers. In the past, the team’s featured have been tremendous and this year should be no exception. This past week, it was announced that the New York Jets will be the team featured this season. What a great choice by HBO. Not only are the Jets an up and coming team in the AFC, but they take on the personality of their coach. The Jets, like Rex Ryan are a team that doesn’t take any crap from anyone and they go into every game very confident and at times borderline cocky. Rex Ryan is tremendously entertaining in interviews and press conferences and I can’t wait to see him when he gets on HBO where there is really no censor. Needless to say that when the new season of Hard Knocks starts, I will be sitting in front of my television or I will be setting my DVR because I think the New York Jets on HBO will be must-see T.V.
Ross Greenburg, the President of HBO Sports joined XX Sports Radio in San Diego with Darren Smith to talk about why they picked the Jets for this year’s season of Hard Knocks, what storylines they are going to follow, and what kind of role Rex Ryan will have in the series.
On making a big splash with this season’s Hard Knocks:
“I think this one was a little bit louder than year’s past. The Cowboys certainly were a big play for us, but I think that the Kansas City Chiefs a few years ago were a little under the radar. Last year we were taking a 4-12 Cincinnati Bengals team that ended up going 10-6 and making the playoffs, but they were a little under the radar. I think this year we hit it big. We really went for the team that had tremendous character, driven by a heck of a Head Coach who has an interesting way about him. I think we picked the right team at the right time. I know I’m doing this in San Diego Darren so I’m sorry to have to do that to San Diego fans.”
On why Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum hesitated with the decision:
“We’ve been close for a long time and I think he needed to hear not from me but from other GM”s, Coaches, and people in the league that it wasn’t a distraction. He did his due diligence and homework and talked to people around the league to get their take on how intrusive this could be. Once he was satisfied that it was not and in fact picked up the pace of practice because players had to be focused ‘cause cameras were always on them, then he was confident that he should actually give it the green light and he did.”
On the role for Rex Ryan in this series:
“I just like to tease him because the coach does become the candidate for best actor category in this particular show. This show really does center around the axis of the football coach. As Steve Sabol said yesterday in the press conference, the axis is getting a little skinnier because he had the surgery to get a band around his belly. At the end of the day, he is going to be the leading actor in the film and I just like to compare him to all those handsome leading men so that I can get a little chuckle out of Rex. He of course said absolutely as soon as I said it.”
On how big of a factor it will be to have a guy like Rex Ryan at the center of this series:
“It’s a big factor. I think if you look at the different head coaches and the show has been at its best, it’s been when Marvin Lewis, Brian Billick, or Herm Edwards have been carrying the show in a lot of ways. They just have a real charismatic leadership mentality to them. Rex is his own man. He’s gonna bring a breath of fresh air and I’m sure we’re gonna have to cut a lot of quotes that we wouldn’t want to cut in an hour because he’s just going to be a machine for this show. I can sense it. He’s almost a comedian and has a very quick wit. I think his relationship to his players are very special. There’s something about this team’s chemistry and the way it works on the inside that I think is going to be fascinating television because I think there is something going on there.”
On how confident he is that Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao will actually fight each other:
“I’m a lot more confident than whether we will see San Diego on a Hard Knocks. I think we have a legitimate shot there. I’m gonna try my hardest to make that happen because I know the boxing public and the sports fans around the world are waiting for it. The sport needs to deliver it and I know the two fighters want it, so what else is there? Let’s make sure it happens.”