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Jets Fans Ready for the Closeup


"Jets Huddle" host Steve Overmyer wrote this column following today's trip to Times Square.

Jets FANS are ready for their close up. Yeah, I know, "Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the New York Jets" is focusing on the team, but the fans feel like it's showing them off, too. In celebration of the fans today, the Hard Knocks team hosted a fans' preview party at Times Square. Jets faithful represented well as the heart of New York City stopped to look at the NY Jets.

That was one of the things that had many giddy with excitement, just seeing their team's logo plastered all over Times Square. 

"Every fan wants to watch their team on the field — blood, sweat and tears as they put it all on the line for the rest of the team," said one fan who ordered HBO last night for the sole purpose of watching this show.

Most of the fans I spoke with were basking in the glory of the sun shining on their team and looking forward to what they'll get to see. One said the element he wants to see most is "watching the interactions of the players with one another. A lot of times the only way you recognize these players is by their jerseys."

This is going to give you access to see how Mark Sanchez's chemistry with Santonio and Dustin off the field shows itself in game play on the field. You're going to see how Sanchez has kept that same childlike spirit in his play and at the same time become more of a leader. 

And you'll definitely get a taste of "Big Jenks." Kris Jenkins might become a star from this show in the way that Chad Ochocinco did last year with the Bengals. The jovial and witty Jenkins is a perfect subject for the series. I think the guy who will win the hearts of the city is Nick Mangold. His wry sense of humor cracks everyone up, and he's a raw, in-the-trenches tough guy who gets dirty on every play. Jets fans love that. That, and that he's probably the best center in the NFL. 

But in HBO Sports president Ross Greenburg's eyes, those are the guys who could get the best supporting actor nominations. 

"There's one guy who jumps off the screen at you and that's Rex Ryan. He's a mixture of Will Farrell, Mark Wahlberg, a tough guy, and Brad Pitt," Greenburg said.  "He's just being himself and I've never met someone more comfortable in their own skin."  

I think this is the first time Ryan's name appeared that close to Brad Pitt, but Greenburg is right that Rex dominates any scene. He's got the ability to be so self-deprecating and pure bruiser at the same time. Sometimes his tone can't be seen in the written word, but you'll see it in Hard Knocks. 

These guys were in team meetings, players dorms, even in the rain for that goal-line drill. Yeah, while the rest of us grabbed any umbrellas we could find and scurried to the pressbox, Hard Knocks endured the downpour and got some phenomenal stuff. I hope they put that in the first episode.

I really have to tip my cap to that NFL Films crew. They spared no expense and even had a remote-controlled chopper cam flying over practices for a more unique perspective. 

Did you know the editors will be making their final cuts at 5 p.m. the night of each airing? That's cutting it very close for a network reality broadcast, but they're determined to not miss anything. Hard Knocks gives the most honest perspective of any sport on television. Jets owner Woody Johnson said it took him about two seconds to agree to allow Hard Knocks cameras behind the green curtain. 

"I hope fans get an inside look at our team and feel the confidence we have in what we're doing ... which is trying to win the Super Bowl," he said.

You don't have to convince me — I can't wait to watch it. And if Jenkins gets on "Dancing with the Stars" like Ocho did last year, all the better.

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