When New York Jets rookies begin reporting to training camp on Wednesday, cameras from HBO’s “Hard Knocks” will be rolling — whether the team likes it or not.
“They forced it down our throats, and we’ve got to deal with it,” new Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers said when asked about the show which first debuted in 2001. The Jets were one of just four teams the league could select for involuntary participation — along with the Chicago Bears, New Orleans Saints, and Washington Commanders.
“I understand the appeal with us,” Rodgers added. “Obviously, there’s a lot of eyes on me. There’s a lot of eyes on our team, a lot of expectations for our squad.”
This isn’t the first time an NFL team has been an unhappy subject for “Hard Knocks” — which has been losing its luster in recent years, averaging well under 500,000 viewers per episode. But this season comes at a time when sports documentaries covering everything from Formula 1 to golf to tennis are flourishing.
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The NFL has even partnered with Netflix on a new series — “Quarterback” — which followed Patrick Mahomes, Kirk Cousins, and Marcus Mariota during the 2022 season. The series, made in conjunction with production companies involving Peyton Manning and Mahomes himself, is earning rave reviews.
While the NFL appears to be testing the waters with Netflix for a new spin on football docuseries, it has also doubled down on “Hard Knocks,” following the Indianapolis Colts and Arizona Cardinals for in-season series during the past two seasons.
The league hasn’t announced if “Hard Knocks” will follow a team midseason in 2023.