To say that there’s buzz about the New York Jets is an understatement. No, that buzz is more like the deafening roar of a Boeing going throttle-open down the LaGuardia runway.
The Jets are coming off a loss to Indianapolis in the AFC Championship, and they’re a popular preseason favorite to win the AFC — if not more — this season. Their confident and colorful head coach, Rex Ryan, has the Jets throwing their weight around the league (though Ryan lost weight himself, thanks to offseason lap-band surgery). Their quarterback, Mark Sanchez, enters his second season and is already an Internet legend for his “poise” on the field and with the ladies. Their rushing attack, tops in the NFL a season ago, now has LaDainian Tomlinson, who spent the past nine seasons with San Diego and is now out to prove he’s still a premier back. The No. 1 defense from ’09 returns arguably the NFL’s best defensive player in CB Darrelle Revis (if he ever ends his holdout), and adds CB Antonio Cromartie. Longtime Jets nemesis DE Jason Taylor is now in the fold, as is former Super Bowl MVP WR Santonio Holmes. The Jets appear on ESPN’s Monday Night Football a league-leading three times. And they’ll play in the nifty New Meadowlands Stadium opening this season.
If that’s not enough, Hard Knocks: Training Camp With the New York Jets premieres Wednesday, Aug. 11 at 10pm ET/PT on HBO. A 24-person NFL Films crew will live at the Jets’ training camp, capturing over 1,000 hours of video for the sixth season of the hit reality series. Crews will have total access to meeting rooms, training rooms, dormitories and practice fields, showing not only the big names preparing for the season, but also the drama of unknown rookies and free agents battling for a spot on the roster. The series will air for five consecutive Wednesdays until the finale on Sept. 8, the day before the regular-season kickoff.
Of course, one has to wonder if all the attention and expectations are just setting up the Jets to spectacularly crash and burn. We’ve come to expect the unexpected in the topsy-turvy NFL. And being on Hard Knocks hasn’t exactly guaranteed success. Of the previous five Hard Knocks teams, only two, the 2001 Ravens and the 2009 Bengals, made the playoffs that year, and two teams, the 5-11 2002 Dallas Cowboys and the 4-12 2007 Kansas City Chiefs, were monumentally bad.