It's a Hard Knock Life for Jets

HBO casts its lot with the Jets

By Josh Alper
|  Thursday, Mar 25, 2010  |  Updated 9:00 AM EDT
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It's a Hard Knock Life for Jets

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It may get a little confusing in a few weeks time so let's just clear something up right now. Revis Island has nothing to do with Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima or anywhere else that the brave soldiers of "The Pacific" will be visiting during their battle with Japan. 

Such disclaimers are necessary because the Jets will be starring in an HBO series of their own this year. They'll officially announce that they are the subject of this year's edition of "Hard Knocks" on Thursday, a decision that's been rumored for a while and slipped out of the bag after the Jets announced they had something big to share that had nothing to do with actual football operations.

It's a smart choice by the network. Rex Ryan's potential as a breakout star is through the roof, especially when he's on a network where he can work as blue as he wants without running afoul of any censors. The rest of the team doesn't have any problem speaking their mind and Mark Sanchez is a little bit of eye candy for those who have been avoiding HBO ever since Carrie Bradshaw hung up her high heels. Such viewers will also probably like Ryan, who bears more resemblance to Samantha than Kim Cattrall should probably be comfortable with.

For the Jets, it also seems like a smart move. Coming off a playoff run, they have a highly marketable team in place and added a well-known future Hall of Famer in LaDainian Tomlinson to sweeten the pot for viewers. Woody Johnson still has a bunch of PSLs to sell so it makes sense to expand the tent to as large a size as possible. Barring a disaster, the show will serve as a six week sales pitch by putting the Jets' best face forward and convincing people that they want to get on board the train while watching the team in training camp.

The only potential downside is that all of this could well wind up going to the Jets' heads. Coming on the heels of Johnson's sad little tantrum about the first home game, the show can be viewed as another sign that the team isn't as focused on football as it should be. As good as the roster looks on paper, there's nothing guaranteed for the Jets this season and franchise history is filled with cruel reminders that things don't always work out like you hope.

That's a different show for a different time, though. "Hard Knocks" is going to be entertaining and, much like "The Sopranos," it's going to end without any explicit determination of the fate of our heroes.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com.

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