HBO remains a staple in providing unique sports coverage for fans of every sort, except boxing. Something that had brought people in was the combat sport of boxing but in 2002 they decided to invest in a different combative sport, football. Since 2002, HBO has had the show Hard Knocks which has been a staple for its coverage of an NFL training camp.
Despite NFL teams’ growing doom and gloom about it, it serves a purpose. That purpose allows fans to invest more than usual in their team. People who watch it see the day-to-day success and struggles that coaches and players have. Within that, the Detroit Lions after being featured in 2022 became “America’s Team” without having to have an Arkansas oil tycoon signing their checks and putting a star on their helmet.
The things we all saw from coach Dan Campbell and general manager Brad Holmes left everyone smiling and cheering for the Lions. Their season on HBO saved the series and is now seeing it ride and wave of momentum as they cover the New York Jets.
The Lions saved Hard Knocks, let’s explain.
The Lions Coaching Staff and Their Attitudes
The tone was set in the first episode of the Lions Hard Knocks season when Dan Campbell ended things with a Metallica lyric. Fans watching would see a passionate coach, a staff that wanted to win, and all that is the same now with the Jets.
This season with the Jets, we are seeing the same thing out of Robert Saleh and his staff. The line “all gas, no brake” is oxygen in the building for that team. Pair that with Nathaniel Hackett on a redemption tour as well as the position coaches being honest with players, the blueprint is being followed. They don’t have to sell themselves, the Lions sure didn’t.
Being genuine is what goes the furthest.
Characters on a Team Create Ratings
Obviously, the Jets will be following around their newest addition, quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The former Packers quarterback has shown a different side than he has let on in years and interviews prior and it has paid off. Having a fun character to cling to makes things easy for fans to come back to, for Lions fans that was Jamaal Williams.
While Williams sadly is now a New Orleans Saint, he showed that year just how much fun the show can be with a character like him. With Williams, you never knew what he was going to say. For Rodgers in 2023, it is almost the same thing, but so far there has been nothing but a positive experience — which was the case for Williams. Find the happy player, get ratings, and further or build a brand for him, that is what Hard Knocks started with the Lions.
A Redemption Story is Needed
The Detroit Lions in 2022 had expectations, somewhat. Realistically, they had low expectations, but they expected to see an uptick in their momentum and to say that is what happened is the bare minimum you can do. The Lions rode different waves all season long, but they ended it with a hallmark win to keep the Packers out of the playoffs by winning at Lambeau Field to end the year.
For the Jets, there are some people who are whispering they can handle the Chiefs and maybe sneak into representing the AFC in the Super Bowl. Despite not seeing Aaron Rodgers this preseason until the finale, which didn’t disappoint, the wave the Jets are riding is similar to the Lions. Their expectations are higher but expectations are the thing we are looking at here. Like any good movie, you expect a good story, the Lions delivered it and so far the Jets have followed suit.