ESPN's Doing Their Own Version Of Jets "Hard Knocks," Says Rex Ryan To ESPN Radio

Jets head coach Rex Ryan, perhaps perturbed with ESPN's extensive training camp coverage of the team, including the day their shirtless backup quarterback Tim Tebow ran in the rain, called out the network for doing their own version of "Hard Knocks" - on, of all places, an ESPN Radio station in New York.

Rex Ryan must be a Media Rantz reader.

Otherwise, why else would the head coach of the New York Jets appear on the flagship station of Gang Green and express his shock that one cable network has been decked out at training camp since it opened – and it’s not HBO.

Yep, it’s ESPN – otherwise known as the worldwide leader in Jets content.

And, oh yeah, the Jets’ flagship station just happens to be run by ESPN – which kinda makes this revelation of Rex’s somewhat awkward.

During a regular segment on the ESPN 98.7/New York midday show co-hosted by Stephen A. Smith and Ryan Ruocco, Ryan was asked about the “media contention” surrounding the team. “Everybody’s been following this team around,” said Smith, after noting that his co-host and himself along with “SportsCenter” was among said “media contention.” He also let it be known that in the days leading up to a preseason tilt with the crosstown rival New York Giants on Saturday, “they’re the reigning defending Super Bowl champions, yet we find ourselves here talking about you guys, and specifically, Tim Tebow.”

Well, you can’t blame Stephen A. for telling the truth.

It’s one thing for ESPN’s radio outlet in New York to be all Jets, all the time – they’re about to embark on their dozenth season as the radio home of the Jets.

But when a national television network in ESPN starts spending a little too much time at Jets training camp, it can be a little too much – and Rex realizes this.

“I know we did ‘Hard Knocks’ before,” Ryan recalled, as the Jets were featured on HBO’s training camp reality series in 2010. Then he added: “This is like the ESPN version of it or something.”

He was speaking, of course, of the Worldwide Leader’s extensive training camp coverage for a .500 team.

“It is surprising,” the coach admitted. “There’s no doubt we’re just, you know, a team that’s… coming off last year’s 8-8 record, but… we do have some personalities here. Obviously, people, you know, want to see Tim Tebow, they want to see Mark Sanchez, and, you know, Darrelle Revis, whoever… That comes with the territory.

“Certainly, I think, in some ways, the more success you have, the better this thing is for you, from the standpoint [that] it’s not new to you; that, you know, the cameras are around, we’ve had different things, and sometimes, they get you ready, because once you get going, if you’re playing well, you’re in playoff runs and all that stuff, the media comes, you know… it’s twice as much coverage. But, again, we’ve got a long way to go before we get to that point.”

Not in ESPN’s eyes, you do, Rex. In fact, even if you throw in NFL Network’s Jets coverage, even with a regular segment on their new morning show called “Our Daily Tebow,” when stacked up against each other, ESPN looks like it’s got “twice as much coverage” of Gang Green as NFL Network does.

Just how overboard does ESPN go with Tebow? On Tuesday, his 25th birthday, “SportsCenter” spent virtually the entire morning fawning over the birthday boy. I’m not kidding. I mean, over on NFL Network, “NFL AM” mentioned it as part of the “Daily Tebow” bit, but that led into a debate about the Jets and Tebow employing the “wildcat” formation. And that was it. Brian Webber and Eric Davis were not sporting party hats, and Nicole Zaloumis was not singing “Happy Birthday To You” a la Marilyn Monroe to the camera. NFL Network had a meaningful discussion about Tebow and the Wildcat offense, with a passing mention of his birthday. Think about that the next time you think NFLN might be spending a little too much time talking about the Jets or the Broncos or the Eagles – because they don’t treat the viewers like they’re stupid.

Speaking of stupid, back to Stephen A. Smith and his chat with Rex Ryan, whose Jets team is preparing for the annual traditional New York/new York (in New Jersey) preseason game, trying hard to pretend Sal Paolantonio and his cronies aren’t in existence.

“You know, we’re just going out there and trying to get better as a football team each day, and, you know, whether it’s twenty people in the media, or how many people it is… really isn’t the issue for us. We’re just trying to get better each day.”

At the same time, ESPN gets worse each day – and the regular season hasn’t even started yet.

But who thought that a viewpoint from this humble blogger some two weeks ago would be validated by the head coach of the Jets himself – and on an ESPN platform, no less.

In a way, it’s like he gave the Worldwide Leader the bird.

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