Airwaves: Jets the perfect team for HBO’s ‘Hard Knocks’

This column has made comments for the past few years on the HBO football reality show “Hard Knocks.”

At times, like all fans, I have enjoyed it. Other times, I have questioned why a coach or owner would want that kind of exposure. I recall vividly in 2002 when the Dallas Cowboys were the subject matter in the series. Dave Campo was the coach and of course Jerry Jones was the lead actor. The conclusion from this show was that Campo was indeed a very weak leader and came across as a “butt-kissing” coach who clearly placated the owner. Needless to say, Campo did not last long as the coach of “America’s Team.”

This year, the team being chronicled is the New York Jets. As we all know, Jets coach Rex Ryan is boisterous, loud, profane and extremely cocky, which has given him rock star status in the Big Apple and in NFL circles.

If you have watched the show, it is entertaining to say the least, but make sure your children are not around the TV set. Rex has a potty mouth, which is fairly common in the football world.

During this past week, while speaking on the very popular “Dan Patrick Show,” former Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy called out Ryan and his habit of using curse words in almost every sentence. Dungy, who is one of the finest men to ever roam an NFL sideline, is a religious man, with great moral fiber, a low-key approach and a man who is honest to a fault. In other words, he and Ryan come from different planets.

Said Dungy when asked by the talented Patrick what he thought of the “Hard Knocks” program: “I’m disappointed in all the profanity. I think Rex can make his point without all that. I would not hire him as a head coach.”

Dungy then even suggested that commissioner Roger Goodell call Ryan and tell him to knock it off.

It is an interesting take by Dungy. The problem is there are many ways to win in the NFL. Each successful coach has his own style. A subdued Ryan probably would not be the head coach of the New York Jets. The Jets brass knew what they were getting when they hired him. He is a walking quote machine who is coaching his team with his own personality.

Dungy is very well-respected in many area’s of life and has a right to his opinions on the show. I know one thing that is for certain — HBO is loving it.

It is an interesting show that mesmerizes viewers. Whoever came up with this idea is a pure TV genius. HBO does a fantastic job in editing and presenting the series. As they say in baseball, it is a home run!


Johnson, PGA share blame for rule mess


I know very little about golf, and when I need information or an opinion, I always consult former pro tour golfer Bob Boldt, who is now running the Vintners Golf Club up in my favorite part of California, the Napa Valley.

But what happened last weekend at the end of the final round of the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin was not much to whistle about. We all know that young golfer Dustin Johnson was penalized two shots after he grounded his club in a so-called sand trap.

To begin with, I can’t ever recall seeing a course used in such an important tournament with so many bunkers.

Second, who was in charge of crowd control at this thing? You almost could not see Johnson hit his shot because there were so many fans crowding around him. It looked like he could have hit a spectator in the head with the swing of his club. The security at the Straits is as much to blame as is Johnson and his caddie for not being aware of this rule.

Is it a stupid rule that makes no sense? Of course it is. Should it be changed? Of course it should be. But it is what it is.
If the crowd had been under control, he might have realized where he was while approaching the ball.

Gee, I thought crowd control was tough in football, but golf?

– Fox Sports has added Jim Mora Jr. and Kurt Warner as game analysts for the upcoming NFL season. Mora, the ex-coach of the Seattle Seahawks and Atlanta Falcons, has been making appearances on the NFL Network as a studio analyst.
He will call his first game with veteran play-by-play man Dick Stockton and fellow analyst Charles Davis. The Artie prediction is Mora will be average at best.

Warner, whose personal story and climb to stardom is worthy of a movie, will be very good. Warner was always great during an interview. He might even follow the path of other outstanding QBs who became great broadcasters. Terry Bradshaw, Phil Simms, Troy Aikman and Todd Blackledge all come to mind in this discussion.


Who said it


Tim Tebow

“I love it when someone tells me I cannot do something,” the Denver Broncos rookie quarterback said when commenting on the fact many cynics feel he will not become an elite NFL QB. He might, he might not. Only time will tell. However, right now his No. 15 jersey is the NFL’s top-selling jersey. If nothing else, he is a player of great interest after his stellar career at Florida.

Rex Ryan

“Sometimes you get rolling and that’s what happens. I apologize if I offended more people than I usually offend,” the New York Jets coach said on his tendency to swear a great deal. A week ago, Ryan was scolded by his mother for his poor language during the HBO reality series “Hard Knocks.” Good thing HBO is not censored.


One to watch


The Giants will need a solid outing today from left-hander Barry Zito, who has been up and down the second half of the season, if they want to get past the St. Louis Cardinals in the finale of a three-game series. The Cardinals are battling the Cincinnati Reds for the NL Central title, but, like the Giants, are a serious wild-card contender as well. First pitch is set for 11:15 a.m. and the game can be seen on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.


Sports by numbers


Total NFL preseason games


NFL preseason games on Sept. 2


NFL preseason games any fan remembers once the real season begins



On target


Great move by the 49ers to sign Brian Westbrook this past week. I have always thought this guy is a great player and obviously extremely versatile. They needed to do something after the unexpected retirement of Glen Coffee. Wonder what Coffee will think when he enters the real world and the paychecks are not close to what he has been collecting. On another Niners subject, I am still not convinced Alex Smith can get them to the playoffs. My New York-New Jersey street sense still tells me this guy is not what they are looking for in a QB.

Artie Gigantino spent 25 years as a coach at the major-college and NFL levels, was lead college football analyst for Fox Sports Net for seven years, was with CBS for one year and was an executive with the Raiders for three years. E-mail him at

Can S.F. beat L.A.? It’s good news and bad news

Niners fans driving ticket prices through the roof for NFC Championship Game

The Niners can win even when Jimmy Garoppolo has an off night

What we learned during crazy NFL weekend