Jets selected for involuntary slot as 2023 ‘Hard Knocks’ feature

Jets Hard Knocks
The Jets logo from Hard Knocks back in 2010 (wikimedia commons)

Despite New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh making it clear that he did not want the Jets to be the feature team on this season of HBO’s hit show “Hard Knocks,” the Jets will still reportedly be selected.

“I haven’t gotten word or anything like that,” Saleh previously said. “I know there are several teams that would love for ‘Hard Knocks’ to be in their building; we’re just not one of them.”

The NFL just didn’t seem to care. 

Jets' Robert Saleh responds to Mekhi Becton
New York head coach Robert Saleh at minicamp (Nick Faria, amNew York)

On Monday it was reported that the Jets were being chosen as the feature team for this season, even though the team itself objected and also films its own version with a show called “One Jets Drive.” So far, there has been no indication whether Gang Green’s participation in “Hard Knocks” will mean that “One Jets Drive” will be canceled for the season or pre-season at least. 

Under criteria that were developed years ago, the NFL allowed for certain teams to be forced to participate in “Hard Knocks” provided they do not have a new head coach, haven’t been to the playoffs in either of the last two years, and haven’t been the subject of the show for the last ten years.

It turns out that the Jets’ recent inability to get to the postseason made them powerless to combat the NFL’s decision. 

While the Saints and Bears were also contenders to be pressured into complying by the NFL, the Jets always seemed like the most likely option given Aaron Rodgers’ arrival and the fact that New York is a team on the rise with young talents like Garrett Wilson, Sauce Gardner, and Breece Hall. 

However, the fact that Gang Green had to be forced into participating is not a good sign for the NFL. 

The league allegedly approached all teams about being the subject of the 2023 show and found no takers. The Lions were asked to be the feature team again but also declined. Instead, 2023 will feature the first team to be pressured to appear on the show despite coaches not wanting the opportunity. 

Fans are also understandably upset since the show is linked to a long-standing “Hard Knocks Curse.” 

No team has reached the Super Bowl in the season it was featured on the show. The Houston Texans were featured in 2015 and made the postseason but then no team made the postseason until the Rams in 2020, when they reached the Divisional Round, and the Cowboys in 2021, when they were upset by Washington in the Wild Card game. 

Only team has advanced to the Conference Championship Round when it was the feature of Hard Knocks: the 2010 New York Jets in a season that launched the fan-favorite status of a small running back named Danny Woodhead. 

Perhaps that means Hard Knocks is a bit of good luck for the Jets?

For more Jets coverage, visit amNY Sports

Jets introduced Aaron Rodgers as new QB
New York Jets’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers, third from right, poses for a picture with general manger Joe Douglas, left, president Hymie Elhai, second from left, co-owner Christopher Johnson, third from left, owner Woody Johnson, second from right, and head coach Robert Saleh, right, after an NFL football press conference at the Jets’ training facility in Florham Park, N.J., Wednesday, April 26, 2023. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)AP Photos