'Hard Knocks' Jets: Rex Ryan Is a Motivational Machine

Tracy Odell

Jets Coach Rex Ryan
Coach Rex Ryan and his man boobs arrive at training camp
I'm a huge NFL fan and a huge New York Jets fan, so it was a no-brainer to tune in for the premiere of Hard Knocks: Training Camp With the New York Jets on HBO last night.

Hard Knocks is an Emmy-winning documentary series in its sixth season. Each year the show follows an NFL team during training camp. The New York Jets were an obvious pick for this season -- the team is coming off a surprisingly good year -- making it to the AFC playoff game with a rookie quarterback and coach in 2009.

So how are they looking this year?

Well, it's clear that head coach Rex Ryan is the sun around which this team revolves. He is a charismatic, down-to-earth, funny, trash-talking, motivational machine. He makes me want to get off my couch, grab some pads, and join the team.

Ryan is not afraid to dish out criticism or take it, so I'm sure he won't mind if I take a moment to comment on his man boobs. Honestly, I feel a little mean even going here because I know he had lap band surgery in the off-season and dramatic weight loss can do funny things to bodies. But, the man boobs are so very, very distracting.

PSA: Jets staff, if you are reading: For the sake of all our eyes, please no more silky polo shirts for Rex. Get the man some cotton shirts. Pretty please!

Back to the team ... the big story is who's not at training camp. The Jets' best player and arguably the best defensive player in the entire league, Darrelle Revis, is holding out for a new contract. He wants more money to play this season and the rest of the players don't seem to begrudge him for this. Unfortunately for us, Revis won't appear on camera, so it's hard to adequately capture this drama on screen. But it's still obvious that his absence is casting a shadow over training camp.

Stars of the team like the goofy, good-looking quarterback Mark Sanchez and center Nick Mangold (my son's favorite player) get a little airtime, but the most compelling storyline is about the players who don't make the team. One gets hurt. Another just isn't good enough. We see them getting the news that they've been cut and the (emotional) pain in their faces is frankly hard to watch. I felt for these guys and wanted to reach through the screen and give them a big hug. They are great football players, just not great enough.

Hard Knocks, however, is great enough. I'll be tuning in every Wednesday to get my fix of the J-E-T-S.

Are you a football fan? Who's your team?

Photo via NewYorkJets.com

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