The ‘Hard Knocks’ Effect: How Do NFL Teams that Feature in the HBO Show Perform?

How do teams that feature in HBO’s show ‘Hard Knocks’ perform the following season? Also, what does this mean for the New York Jets in 2023?

Seeing behind the scenes of a real NFL team is something that most fans enjoy watching, and since 2001, we’ve been able to gaze behind that curtain thanks to HBO’s Hard Knocks

The show is in its 20th season following the New York Jets as they head into the 2023 season with Aaron Rodgers under center.

Narrated by Liev Schreiber, we’ll look back at how teams performed after Hard Knocks and the season before they took part.

Remember, if a team meets any of these criteria, they’re not eligible to take part in the program:

  • First-year head coach.
  • Playoff berth within the last two years.
  • Appeared on the show within the past ten years.
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So, the teams that appear on Hard Knocks have had a streak of failure.

With that in mind, let’s look back at the teams that have appeared on Hard Knocks as well as project the Jets season.

Breaking Down Former Hard Knocks Teams

Since 2001, there have been 21 teams to appear on HBO’s Hard Knocks. Below, we’ll look at their records before appearing on the show and after. 

TeamYearRecord Before Hard KnocksRecord After Hard Knocks
Baltimore Ravens200112-410-6
Dallas Cowboys20025-115-11
Kansas City Chiefs20079-74-12
Dallas Cowboys200813-39-7
Cincinnati Bengals20094-11-110-6
New York Jets 20109-711-5
Miami Dolphins20126-107-9
Cincinnati Bengals201310-611-5
Atlanta Falcons20144-126-10
Houston Texans20159-79-7
Los Angeles Rams20167-94-12
Tampa Bay Buccaneers20179-75-11
Cleveland Browns20180-167-8-1
Oakland Raiders20194-127-9
Los Angeles Chargers20205-117-9
Los Angeles Rams20209-710-6
Dallas Cowboys20216-1012-5
Indianapolis Colts (in season)202111-59-8
Detroit Lions20223-13-19-8
Arizona Cardinals (in season)202211-64-13
New York Jets20237-10N/A
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As you can see from the chart above, the following Hard Knock teams improved their records after appearing on the show:

  • 2009 Cincinnati Bengals
  • 2010 New York Jets
  • 2012 Miami Dolphins
  • 2013 Cincinnati Bengals
  • 2014 Atlanta Falcons 
  • 2018 Cleveland Browns
  • 2019 Oakland Raiders
  • 2020 Los Angeles Chargers
  • 2020 Los Angeles Rams
  • 2021 Dallas Cowboys
  • 2022 Detroit Lions

Of those teams with an improved record, five went from a losing record to a winning record, with the most noticeable change from the 2021 Dallas Cowboys, who went from a 6-10 squad to 12-5 after Hard Knocks.

Also, of those teams above, only seven made the playoffs. The team that made it the furthest was the 2010 Jets, who lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Championship Game.

Steelers v Jets 2010 AFC Championship

Projecting the Jets 2023 Season

After examining the records of previous teams, only some, in the grand scheme of things, have found success. However, the 2023 Jets are a candidate to break that cycle with their new-look offense.

The team has upgraded at quarterback from Zach Wilson to Aaron Rodgers. As well as this, they recently added running back Dalvin Cook to pair with Breece Hall.

The offensive line has some question marks, but the rest of the Jets roster is loaded. Especially in the secondary and wide receiver positions. 

Through the episodes we’ve seen on Hard Knocks, the Jets have had mentalist Oz Pearlman showing up to help bring the team together and build camaraderie. 

The Jets finished 7-10 last year, which was incredibly impressive for their disaster at the quarterback position. 

With Rodgers under center, expect a winning season from the Jets and a playoff berth. The Jets have a chance to be the most successful post-Hard Knocks team.

New York Jets Hard Knocks

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