Wednesday, September 8, 2010
"Hard Knocks," a look back, a look ahead
By Rich Cimini
The fifth and final episode of "Hard Knocks" will air Wednesday night on HBO, and you can bet anything it will be Revis-heavy. The timing worked out perfectly for the show, with the Jets getting Darrelle Revis signed just in time for the finale. (Hmmm.)
There should be some interesting behind-the-scenes stuff from the final weekend of the Revis saga, from the ballyhooed trip to Florida to the final minutes of the negotiation, with Rex Ryan screaming into a speaker phone at Revis' agents. Sources say there were cameras in Florida for Ryan and Woody Johnson's Revis recruiting trip, but I'm told there were no cameras in the actual meeting, which took place in a conference room at a private airport in Fort Lauderdale.
Looking back at the first four episodes, here is the ESPNNewYork.com top eight moments:
8. Mark Sanchez is being lectured in a meeting room by QB coach Matt Cavanaugh, but the young quarterback seemingly ignores him, fiddling with his backpack and refusing to make eye contact. This scene casts Sanchez in a negative light, showing signs of immaturity.
7. Leave it to Bart Scott to deliver two of the best one-liners. Watching a professional magician during the annual rookie show, Scott cracks, "Make Revis show up. That'll be a hell of a trick." Discussing the moody and inconsistent rookie Joe McKnight with some coaches, Scott says, "He's just mad because he had to take a pay cut" -- a reference to McKnight's scandal-plagued alma mater, USC.
6. As predicted by many, special teams coach Mike Westhoff emerges as one of the stars, providing plenty of laughs with his salty language (understatement) and quick sense of humor. In one practice, he's so frustrated with rookie Brashton Satele that he yells out, "Let him open up his freakin' pizza shop in the Bronx and leave me alone." Great line.
5. After a practice in Cortland, the defensive players tie rookie Brian Jackson to a goal post and douse him with ice, Gatorade, baby powder and Icy Hot -- an example of rookie hazing. It's supposed to be in good fun, a rite of passage, but it's uncomfortable to watch on some levels.
4. The cheeseburger speech. On the eve of the third preseason game, an irate Ryan rips into his team for eating McDonald's burgers during a pre-practice stretch (it was the defensive backs). He also questions the team's commitment to winning a Super Bowl. He ends the speech by barking, "Now let's go get a God damn snack." Classic.
3. GM Mike Tannenbaum, leaving a secret meeting with Revis' agents at a remote diner in Roscoe, N.Y., tells assistant Ari Nissim in the car, "We're so freakin' far apart that I feel like a failure." Little did we know, but it was actually the first of two visits to the Roscoe Diner.
2. Ryan, in the first episode, drops 10 F-bombs at various points in the show. It sparks a national controversy on profanity. Later, Ryan admitted he was admonished by his mother. Former coach Tony Dungy chimed in, criticizing Ryan's foul mouth on an ESPN radio show -- prompting a sharply worded response from Ryan.
1. Antonio Cromartie, speaking to the camera, lists the names of his eight children -- and he doesn't make it look easy. He hesitates slightly between some of the names, giving the perception he has so many kids (from six different women) that he can't keep track. Later, Cromartie told the New York Post that the producers set him up, telling him to do the scene that way in a re-take. The producers refuted Cromartie, saying it was shot in one take.