Earlier today, the FedEx man showed up at my doorstep with a package from our friends at NFL Films. Inside? A DVD of the first episode of Hard Knocks, which debuted last night on HBO.
Missing? A note from Rex Ryan that said, “Merry f–king Christmas.”
Even without a cover letter from Rex, it’s excellent. It’s always been an excellent production; it’s now even more excellent because the folks at HBO and NFL Films have gotten the right team at the right time under the right circumstances.
And it’s already making us — and surely HBO and NFL Films — wonder how in the hell they’ll ever be able to follow it up.
Complicating matters is the reality that some coaches, G.M.’s, team presidents, and/or owners never will agree to permit cameras into every nook and cranny of their training camps, regardless of Vince Lombardi’s belief that cameras made his players try harder. We’d be shocked if, for example, the Dolphins (Bill Parcells), the Patriots (Bill Belichick), the Chiefs (Scott Pioli), or the Browns (Eric Mangini) ever would sign up for Hard Knocks detail. Recently, Lions coach Jim Schwartz (who worked for Belichick in Cleveland) said he wouldn’t want to do it, either.
Other teams will be glad to oblige. The Cowboys likely would do it every year. The Texans wanted to do it this year. Pete Carroll probably will throw the Seahawks into the mix for 2011 (if there is a training camp in 2011).
But even more coaches likely will want nothing to do with Hard Knocks if the Jets underperform in the season during which they were featured.
Still, even if there is another compelling team that volunteers for Hard Knocks next year or in the future, we can’t imagine any being as interesting as the 2010 Jets.
Maybe they should just feature the Jets every year. We have a feeling that Ryan would be willing to do it.