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It A Hard Knock Life, But Not For The Jets

It appears fans of  HBO’s  Hard Knocks will not be able to get up close, personal, and behind all the scenes of the New York Jets this training camp.

According to Dennis Wasznak of the Associated Press, the Jets have reportedly turned down HBO’s offer:

A person familiar with the decision said the team decided to not participate in the hit HBO show this year after being approached by the cable network about appearing again.

Rex Ryan, Mark Sanchez and company were big stars and drew huge ratings two years ago—the last time the show aired—but the Jets opted to pass on doing it again this summer, the person told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Friday because neither the team nor the cable network had announced the decision.

This past Tuesday night on The Jets Zone on Blog Talk Radio I said this was the best decision the team could have made.

When you consider the three ring media circus that has already surrounded the franchise, the media frenzy and questions that came up when “backup” QB Tim Tebow was traded for, another Darelle Revis situation, and the locker-room problems the Jets had last season, the last thing they need are more cameras and eyes on the team as they go through training camp.

From a football perspective, the show would be a serious distraction. The report states the reason for turning the show down is the fact that they have a new offensive coordinator in Tony Sparano, and that makes perfect sense. Sporano is going to have his hands full with a new defense and getting used to the Jets.  The last thing he needs is his focus taken off the team.

Unfortunately, the Jets’ decision is a football fans loss when it’s all said and done.  .

The show would have been a must-watch had the Jets been the focus.

 I can only imagine what the dynamic between Tim Tebow, Mark Sanchez and the camera would be like. There are only so many cameras and so much face time available—who would end up getting most of the spotlight?  Who would have the biggest crowd of fans when the cameras would be present?

And then there’s boisterous head coach Rex Ryan. What would he have up his sleeve for the audience?  More yelling?  Another snack?  Perhaps a few wise cracks or dirty jokes would be heard on top of the cameras covering his weight loss.

Alas, fans of great reality TV will suffer, because it appears the Jets have made the smart and conventional move for the first time in a while.  With 1,001 cameras already on them they did not need HBO’s as well.

They’ll be better for it, and the rest of us will be stuck hoping for anybody but Jacksonville.

Jets Hard Knocks Review & Giants One Up Jets

HBO Hard Knocks: Training Camp With The New York Jets week 2 has come and gone.  It showed the Jets still have a lot to do if they want to make a run for the Super Bowl this season.  I am not just talking about the loss to the New York Giants, but the work all the playing lines have in front of them.  Let’s go over this all one piece at a time, shall we?

Show opens with Bruce Springsteen singing a little diddy about New Jersey and the old Giants Stadium.  The one I had covered and was told to not come back to to take pictures.  I can see why.  They were using clips of it for Hard Knocks and wanted to make a dramatic impression with the images.  Well, I captured some of the same images they did.  Check the pictures & video below to the footage in Hard Knocks. You can read more about my coverage of the old stadium in previous posts.  It was a nice tribute to open the show.
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REx Ryan showing why he is one of the NFL’s top coaches and knows they are a little off but know they will get it.  The team will be on before the season begins.  Jets have cut two players so their replacements will have to get up to speed real fast.  Tim McKnight, better known as Nicky, is getting tested on the plays and routes.  He is a rookie running back off to a rough start.  He threw up on the field during mini camp and failed his conditioning test at rookie camp.  A stand out player in high school, he shows what made him a top recruit for USC and times he does not show the potential.  Joe has the potential to give the team more speed in the backfield.  He just needs mroe confidence in himself and his playing.

IS Rex Ryan and Mike Tannenbaum always stuffing their face?  The more they show them sitting around the more I see them eating.  Maybe they should be in a conditioning program along with the players.  Mark Sanchez complaining about paying $.59 for ranch sauce is like Darelle Revis complaining he is only getting one million dollars this year.

Mark Brunell has the right experience to back up Mark Sanchize and give him the tips he needs to improve as starting QB.  Being one of the NFL’s top QB’s, it makes sense to have Brunell as a back up and pass along his experience.  At age 40, he has been around the league long enough to make Sanchez’s sophomore year a better one than having Clemens as his back up.  But Brunell is right, keeping his 18 year old daughter away from Mark Sanchez.  Nice to see a father that cares.

Brian Schottenheimer has a great role model in his father Marty.  A former head coach who can pass along the right knowledge and experience.   He may be on Sanchez’ case a lot, but it is for good reason.  It is that constant drilling that will make Mark make less mistakes.  Passing that experience from his father to Mark on top of Mark Brunell’s is something many QB’s do not get.  Even QB’s coach Matt Cavanaugh telling Mark to hold his head high and respond affirmatively to advice will make him a better player.

Once again, the Darelle Revis show takes place.  This time they announce a media blackout and keep all future information confidential.  Which they should have done from the beginning.  The media should focus on the team that is at training camp, not the ones holding out.  Kyle Wilson, rookie draft pick filling in Revis’ spot, is someone the media should be talking about.  He is at camp and doing what it takes to fill that spot and make the main roster.  Antonio Cromartie on the other end in his forth year is making sure no one forgets him or his seven kids.  Or is it six?  He is a true talent and needs to live up to that potential.  If he blows a tackle the way he blew one against the Jets in the playoffs the fans will not let him forget it.

You can tell Rex loves to coach.  He wants to be on that field no matter what.  No issues about being hands on and getting in the face of the players if he has to prove a point.  That is what all the Jets coaches do.  They are touch as nails, balls to the walls coaches who do what they have to do to make sure the players learn everything.  Even when reviewing film they know if they made a right or wrong decision.

Mike Tannenbaum asking rookie Tight End Jeff Cumberland what are the three things it takes to make the team lets the rookies know what they need to do.  That answer?  Special teams, special teams, special teams.  Special Teams coach MIke Westoff has survived cancer of his femur for the past 23 years.  He has used special shoes, braces, crutches and anything else he needed to walk.  He pretty much has a rebuilt leg with more metal in there than Wolverine.  It is that heart and dedication to his coaching that makes Mike Westoff an effective coach.  His resilience and determination is something those rookies can learn much from.  Special teams is filled with unknowns and rookies looking to make the team.  His job is to make them into solid football player worthy of wearing that Jets jersey.

Punter Steve Weatherford did something I thought was hysterical.  He bought 100 Shake Weights to give out to his team to help get them either motivated, in shape, or get them laughing.  If you shake it a certain way the players only need five minutes alone in their rooms to use it.  Maybe best used in private.  I heard it does wonders for certain muscle groups above the waist.  Seeing the players and coaches faces when using them was priceless.  I have wanted to use one myself.

Nick Mangold and Kris Jenkins are fantastic teammates.  Each one pushing the other further.  Taking it one step further so the other performs better when they are on the field against their opponents.  Jenkins is itching for the season to start after missing half of last season.  These guys are such forces on the field. I feel sorry for whoever the oppose on other teams.

Vernon Gholston moving to Defensive End is a last ditch effort to make a solid player out of him.  A bust since he was drafted two years ago, he hopes taking a pay cut will show the team he is serious about keeping his job.  Rex Ryan has faith in him and believe in his abilities.  He is playing well, but is well good enough?  Even being tested in a fight on the field showed that he does want to keep his place on the team.  Every Jets layer is stepping it up this year.

Good to see the team head to the movies to relax.  Now Rex may have taken a small popcorn with no butter, but did he grab a diet soda?  The world may never know.  If he did pig out then the title of the move says it all: Dinner For Schmucks.

John Connor is edging out veteran Tony Richardson in the Fullback spot in my opinion.  His showing in training camp and the Jets/Giants preseason game shows he wants to hurt people.  He loves throwing blocks and making opposing player lie on their backs.  Richardson is passing his knowledge and experience along, that may be his undoing in getting a starting spot on the roster.

I do not have to go into details about the Jets/Giants preseason game.  Everyone has done their reviews and saw the highlights.  Seeing Woody Johnson walk around the parking lot makes me laugh.  He is the owner of the team, not a fan and one of the true fans.  It is more about a PR session for him that knowing what the true fans are about.  Maybe if he sat in the upper deck, the non PSL seats for a whole season he might know what it is like to be one of the true fans of the Jets.  Everyone wants their picture with him, I got mine.  But I also asked him some touch questions.  If you see him walking around, confront him, he is fair game.

REx Ryan has every right to yell at the team.  They are a playoff caliber team.  The second and third string players need to show they want to make the team.  They need to step up their game and prove to the coaches they want it as bad as the high paying starters.  This is why there is a preseason, to make your impact.  Show the coaches you want that first team spot.  Make the tackles, the catches, the key blocks.  They still have some time to prove they are worth that spot.  I know they will do what they can.

OK, today the Giants announced they would put single game tickets on sale.  IN return, the Jets said they would not put single game seats on sale.  The Jets have under 1,000 PSL’s remaining from the 9,000 marked down seats.  This does not count other various seats still unsold throughout the stadium.  If the Jets do not sell out these seats by opening day, what will they do?  They have to sell them one way or another.  It will come down to the wire.  If Woody Johnson does announce single game seats, he will have to backtrack his steps as far back as Cleveland.

The Giants do what is right and it shows in their sales.  They have made wise decisions in their sales practices.  The Jets are still playing second fiddle, caring more about the bottom line than doing what is right to sell them off.  Maybe the fans would not be so upset if for once they listened now rather than later.  I was told by one high ranking official in the Jets organization that they can not please everyone and do what they can.  They are confident they will sell all of the PSL’s by opening day.  What if they don’t.  What will be their next decision.  The closer it gets to opening day, what will the right decision be?

New Chapter For NY Jets Fans One Month Away

We are just over one month away from the start of the 2010 football season.  For many long time New York Jets fans, this will be a season many will remember.  For some, it will be the first season in a brand new stadium in New Jersey.  For others it is the start of their first ever season watching their beloved team from their couches at home.  After the events of the past two years, it all culminates in a matter of weeks.  It is do or die time for the New York Jets organization.  Some fans think they are banking on HBO’s Hard knocks in hopes of selling more PSL’s.  I have talked to a few I have already interviewed who feel it is too little too late.

Some long time season ticket holders I have interviewed feel the sales reps from the New York Jets care more about their sales and quotas more than they care about the fans.  One long time holder who has had his seats along the 50 yard line experienced a sales representative who was not just out for a sales, but disrespectful.

This gentleman who wanted to remain anonymous, has had his tickets since the New York Titans.  He has followed the Jets from stadium to stadium, except the new Meadowlands Stadium.  He is 81 years old.  When the ticket rep first contacted him before the big Coaches Club Auction in November of 2008, he acted like his best friend.  He told him if he agreed to give the Jets organization $50,000 per seat for a PSL, they would not auction off his seats.  He had four seats which would have totaled $200,000.  He told the sales rep he was a Senior Citizen and could not afford that amount of money.  The sales rep then changed his attitude and said he was not a Jets fan then if he would not do it.  IS this the mentality of the sales Representatives the Jets employ?  Do they care more about their quota and getting ales than doing what is right for the fans?

I have heard many stories from numerous season ticket holders since that time about sales Representatives calling time and time again pushing the sale.  Talking more about numbers to get them into a seat rather than asking them why they will not commit to a PSL.  Every time I was called the sales representative did not care to ask me why I would not get one, only talk about the advantages of having a PSL.  This is a constant theme in the documentary, where fans are upset with the sales office and feel pushed away by the organization.  Even though PSL prices were slashed by 50%, many still feel put off by the team.  But many others still flocked like sheep to the lower prices.  Many fans I interviewed who were against PSL’s, went to purchase them anyway as they felt they had no choice if they wanted to attend games.  We all have a choice and you can say no.

There are already seats available for the 2010 New York Jets season on Stub Hub.  People are buying the PSL’s only to sell off the tickets game by game.  One can still get seats for every game and not be a PSL owner.  You will save more money over the long term, you just will not own your seats.  Plus, many state the PSL is only a football license for that team.  In other stadiums across the country, if you own that seat, you own it for every event in that stadium.  For Jets and Giants PSL holders, you only own your seats for that teams events.  All other events you have to be on a list, await allocation to the teams, or have a ticket in another seat in the facility.  So the PSL is not a TRUE PSL.  It is only a football seat license.  One aspect many fans care about.

Even though the documentary focuses on the Jets, many Giants season ticket holders did not purchase PSL’s.  Martin Sanford who has had his seats since 1981 feels as he said “shafted” by the team.  He talked about how he felt as if they did not care if he was going to buy a PSL or not.  That the only ones who matter are the ones paying now and not the ones who have given thousands to the team over the years.  He feels it is more about what fans will do going forward and not what they have done in the past to support a 1-15, 4-12, 2-14 team.  After all it is about the new business, not old business.  Martin does not care if they have an undefeated season or win a super Bowl.  He just wants to see the organization eat its words and not make its money.  Even though prices were reduced, Martin knows the team still has to come up with that money to pay for the new stadium.  Many feel ticket prices and other costs will rise in the next five years to compensate for that reduction and cover the building costs.

Since 1996, many teams have used PSL’s in many different sports.  Many long time season ticket holders did not opt into PSL’s and thus began their time watching home games from their own home.  The 2010 season begins that time for many New York Jets and Giants fans.  The first season they will be watching home games from their own couches instead of seats inside the stadium.  Some I have talked to feel comfortable with their decision.  Other fans feel awkward being home, not tailgating or taking part in Sunday rituals that have become a part of football life for them.  I have come across some fans who just follow the Jets like they are being herded.  Being one of the group who will do anything to follow the Jets.  Some refer to it as drinking the Kool Aid.

I am going to try and be there opening night during the Monday night game to get fans reactions and feeling from opening night.  I have to contact Jets personnel as well to see if I am able to film at the new stadium.  Different owners so I need to get approval all over again.  Plus, I have to see if I am allowed to get shots of the new stadium in the background.  They have been very picky about that.  If I had to pay $1,250 an hour to film at the old stadium in the parking lot, I can not imagine what they rates will be now.  Yes, $1,20 per hour was the rate the NJSEA (New Jersey Sports & Exhibition Authority) was asking.  Glad I was able to get that waved by the Jets.  But this is a whole new stadium.  Tailgating will be different too.  Going to be an interesting start to a new season.