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NFL Films’ yearly staple, Hard Knocks, scores one of the all time melodramatic teams


Hard Knocks, 2023, New Yorks Jets, Aaron Rodgers

This season of Hard Knocks will be appointment viewing.

The co-HBO and NFL Films production is a staple of the NFL pre-season, as hype has a tendency to reach unprecedented heights ahead of Week 1. Fans are desperate for content and Hard Knocks will be delivering that, with interest, this season.

What is Hard Knocks?

Let’s get those unaware up to speed real quick.

Hard Knocks has been a champion for fly-on-the-wall, behind-the-scenes, sports-based docu-series productions. Those same style documentaries that are, of course, now all the rage.

Hard Knocks, NFL, New York Jets
NFL Films and HBO have landed on a team for 2023’s Pre-Season Hard Knocks.

The show follows a selected NFL team through its annual training camp and details the team’s preparation ahead of the new football season. It offers hard-hitting on-field action, digs into the lives of players that have interesting stories to tell and even uncovers some of sport’s toughest conversations — a coach and general manager telling individuals they’ll be released from the team.

First broadcast in 2001, the reality sports docu-series is entering its 19th season of production.

It can be viewed as both a blessing and a curse to be featured as the Hard Knocks team, depending on who you ask.

Who is on Hard Knocks this season?


The New York Jets will be featured for the second time; the first was back in 2010 when Rex Ryan was the team’s high profile coach.

Aaron Rodgers, New York Jets, Hard Knocks
The New York Jets unveil veteran star QB Aaron Rodgers, who will be a soap opera on Hard Knocks.

When is Hard Knocks released?

  • Episode 1: Wednesday, August 9 (AEST)
  • Episode 2: Wednesday, August 15 (AEST)
  • Episode 3: Wednesday, August 22 (AEST)
  • Episode 4: Wednesday, August 29 (AEST)
  • Episode 5: Wednesday, September 6 (AEST)

The Pre-Season commences in early August and the Hard Knocks schedule normally runs about a week behind — so mid-August is a safe date for the season premiere to hit streaming platforms.

Hard Knocks Trailer / Preview

Why the Jets?

The franchise based in East Rutherford have been selected at a truly fascinating time in their history. The Jets made a huge win-now move earlier this year, trading for future Hall of Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

It was one of the stories of the off-season, as speculation of his possible departure from Green Bay grew.

The 38-year-old likes to make an event of his possible retirement – a ‘will he or won’t he’ mystery nobody asked for – after every season and it’s reached a point now where he genuinely only has one or two more football campaigns in him.

It basically got to a point in Green Bay where fans questioned if he wanted to be there. And the Packers’ front office eventually came to the conclusion it was time to move on, engaging the Jets in trade talks. In late April it was locked in he’d ‘do a Brett Favre’ and end up in New York for his career twilight.

aaron rodgers trade
Aaron Rodgers was connected to a number of new teams, after two decades with the Green Bay Packers.

He’s evolved into one of the league’s most enigmatic characters; way more accessible these days, through his frequent appearances on the Pat McAfee Show. As more of his agendas and opinions have come to light, Rodgers has also become a more controversial figure too.

He famously tricked the media into believing he’d had the COVID vaccine by saying ‘I’m immunised’, at a time when players were encouraged to get jabbed in order to help keep football going through the pandemic. The truth, of course, eventually came out — an event that began exposing his more recently sinister tactics with the media.

And while he’s embraced the role of narrator in his own soap opera, Rodgers supposedly doesn’t want the Hard Knocks film crew in his team’s building this pre-season. At a recent celebrity golf tournament, Rodgers told a San Fransisco TV station the NFL ‘forced it down their throats’.

There were no willing participants for this season of the show.

The New York Jets are putting their best foot forward to win a drought-breaking championship. They haven’t even been to the playoffs since 2010. Ownership has lost patience. The franchise has extended star defensive end Quinnen Williams and assembled elite pieces on both sides of the ball.

This team is built to win, but will compete in one of the most competitive divisions in football, the AFC East, and an AFC conference that features most of the NFL’s best quarterbacks. The Jets’ schedule is a murderers row of contenders.

Building chemistry in the pre-season and getting off to a hot start is going to be utterly crucial for New York.

And Rodgers will be central to it all, making the 2023 Pre-Season Hard Knocks production about as box office as it comes.

There will literally be nowhere to hide for Rodgers, whether he wants cameras following his every move or not. Let’s be honest, he’ll probably embrace it.

Aaron Rodgers, New York Jets, Hard Knocks
Life as a Jet has commenced for Aaron Rodgers and we’ll see it on Hard Knocks.

Here’s more of a taste of what to expect

Other NFL Films content

This is the production mob that recently brought us the Netflix hit Quarterback, featuring Super Bowl-winning megastar Patrick Mahomes.

quarterback, netflix
Kansas City star Patrick Mahomes addressing his team
Phil Prior
Phil Prior
Phil is the editorial lead at Only Sports, bringing more than 12 years of wide-ranging sports media experience to the team. But it’s his unrivalled passion that sets him apart. He also commentates AFL on SEN Radio, plus Rugby on Stan Sport. Find Phil on LinkedIn.

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