Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Breakout Star of Hard Knocks: Mike T

My new favorite Jet doesn't wear a number, but he sure can crunch them.

The 4th episode of HBO's Hard Knocks 2010 featuring the New York Jets may have been the most ground-breaking hour in the history of reality television. The training camp football behind-the-scenes of who makes the team and who gets cut, and the big personalities - are always eye-catching. But it's the candid contract negotiations headed up by GM Mike Tannenbaum that yields unprecedented access.

When Mike T gave 3rd string QB Kellen Clemens a calculated business offer to take it or leave it, that's when I hit the rewind button and watched the same scene several times in a row. Did that just happen? Was that on television?

Did an NFL quarterback have to decide his own future right there on the spot? No, but pretty damn soon. And a man who started 9 games at QB for the Jets in the last 3 years took the minimum salary to stay with the team. Hey, at least it's guaranteed.

And the cut-throat decision-making involving veteran team leaders WR Laveranues Coles and FB Tony Richardson were handled with tact and a personal touch.

And there was the outright lambasting of ESPN's Tim Cowlishaw who reported that holdout all-everything CB Darrelle Revis' arrival at Jets camp was imminent, which of course was a fallacy.

And is it any wonder that after an episode that showcased how Mike T and the Jets do business, that Team Revis ended their holdout and came to camp at a much lower number than they were floating?

Mike T handled players' coach Rex Ryan the same way with the same incisive, clinical thinking he operated with players and their agents.

That's the side of football that isn't reflected in a Fantasy Football draft or a 3-hour TV broadcast, the complicated and fascinating business side. And the business of Jets football is in great hands.

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