Season finale of "Hard Knocks" and HBO is promising a twist ending. As a TV junkie I've been trying to figure out what it is. My best guess? Either it ends with an autistic Eric Mangini shaking a snow globe or with Antonio Cromartie waking up in bed with Suzanne Pleshette. I'll be OK with either one.
To the finale we go ...
10:02 p.m.: Two big themes in "previously on" -- Revis and the fullback battle between The Terminator -- rookie John Connor -- and classy veteran Tony Richardson. Too bad I know Revis signed and Richardson has been cut. Any chance HBO can make a deal with every media outlet to put a spoiler alert in front of whatever preseason news runs for next year's "Hard Knocks" team?
10:03: Rex with a Sun Tzu quote on back of shirt -- very 1998. Doesn't Rex know that it's been at least a decade since The Art of War was the go-to book when trying to convince people that a football game could somehow be compared to an actual war.
10:04: Final preseason game. Even the Jets coaches seemed bored by this. Can we all just settle on 18 games in the regular season and be done with it?
10:06: Another Revis meeting at the same place from the first episode -- this is the most tense diner scene since Jimmy Conway asked Henry Hill if he would go down to Florida. Tannenbaum tells Woody Johnson the meeting went five hours and twenty minutes and that he ordered an english muffin at the end. Too arcane a reference?
10:07: Defensive backs coach Dennis Thurman, Ryan and Tannenbaum to Revis' house to get this done. Wow, this is how it happened? After all the haggling, all the back and forth, all it took was for Rex to go to Revis' house? Wow.
10:07: Maybe not -- nobody home. Gee, hard to believe such a well-thought out plan didn't pay off. What's next, the "hey did you just call me?" phone call?
10:08: Hey, I'm halfway impressed with Woody Johnson for the first time -- I can see why the guy has a zillion dollars. He's done with the Revis garbage and OK with moving on. Looks like a leader and not a contest winner. Good moment for Woody.
10:09: Hey, it's LPGA star Morgan Pressel! Oh, wait -- it's Nick Mangold playing golf. Nice swing.
10:10: Roger Goodell must've begged HBO for a "Hey, we have Dads that know their kids names and even spend time with them!" montage. Here it is.
10:11: Cory Reamer going through tough transition from Alabama to the NFL. Sort of like going from listening to the band Alabama to listening to any other band in the history of the world.
10:12: Just showed Reamer getting tossed around for five minutes. Next he gets tutored by Jon Faverau and tells Ned Beatty that he's going make the team.
10:13: Chauncey Washington could have 40 bodies stacked in his basement for all I know, but I'm rooting for guy simply because he got the "Underdog working for a spot on the roster" music. Oh, HBO, how you can control my emotions.
10:15: Jason Davis is the third fullback behind The Terminator and Richardson. Remember that team that carried three fullbacks? Me either. He's toast. And he's bitter about it -- playing the "I don't care" angle when it's obvious that he's Level Five Pissed.
10:16: And Davis proves it by refusing to take snaps at practice. If you've watched three seconds of this show you know that's the ballgame. Might as well jog back into the locker room and fish out the playbook.
10:17: Are you drinking something right now? Spit take alert: The Jets coaches stuffed Mark Sanchez's truck with -- wait for it -- packing peanuts. These guys are a riot. If there were any TV guys around they probably broke six ribs laughing, though.
10:19: Ryan just told Sanchez that he's calling the plays in the second half of the fourth preseason game. Sanchez has a "Hey, we both know I'm a moron but even I get this means nothing" look going. By the way, 50-50 Sanchez doesn't know how to use the headset.
10:21: Danny Woodhead (token scrappy white running back) is already All-Pro at dropping cliches. Belichick would approve.
10:23: David Clowney and Mike Westhoff don't like each other. Huh, the best special teams coach in the NFL and a (at best) sixth WR that can't play special teams. Wonder who is going to win that battle?
10:24: Rex Ryan's son shows up at camp and breaks down, telling his father that "the food is winning and I don't want to lose you." Or maybe not, I had a Style Network repeat of "Biggest Loser 8" on picture and picture.
10:26: Westhoff gives an insane speech about Australia and killing dogs. I think Goodell just quit, burned every dollar he had and changed his name to Alexander Supertramp. He's wading through the Colorado River as we speak.
Westhoff is great, right? I would trade Laurence Maroney and a third-round pick for Westhoff. He doesn't even have to coach, really, I just want him to tell stories and yell at clueless rookies.
10:27: HBO takes one from the ESPN playbook with a rap song to fill two minutes of air time.
10:30: Joe McKnight with his fourth fumble of the preseason. How is that possible? And he made the team?
10:31: A low moment for Mark Brunell -- he has to on the field while Sanchez "plays" offensive coordinator. This is Rocky Balboa picking up spit buckets level of humiliation.
10:32: And Sanchez DOESN'T know how to operate the headset. He's Kelly Bundy meets Scott Secules.
10:33: Sam Gash Redux -- aka The Terminator, aka John Conner -- just blasting guys. I think Terminator is third on "Guys I like most after Hard Knocks" after Westhoff and Ralph Furley Namath.
10:35: Danny Woodhead gets the second-half start at RB and makes some plays. See, I knew I was right when I told everyone in my sixth-grade class that Gordie Lockbaum could play in the NFL!
10:35: Woodhead scores a TD -- best Caucasian running back moment since Frank Gifford punched out Peter Lawford at Toots Shor's.
10:37: Brunell with a terrific deep ball to Holmes. If the Jets are, say, 1-4 and Sanchez is terrible (both possible) are you telling me that Rex might not make a move at QB?
10:37: Jets win! I defy you to give me an example where winning the preseason finale doesn't lead to a fast start in the regular season.
10:38: Cut day. Roster from 75 to 53.
10:40: What did players pretend to look at when they were sitting at their locker hoping not to get cut before cell phones? I have to watch "Major League" again and find out.
10:42: Cory Reamer gassed. "I think you're going to be a great coach one day," Tannenbaum tells him. Something that goes in the "great to hear if you're 37 but not when you're 22" category.
10:44: "You gotta know, when I come in, I'm coming after your ass." Final words from Bitter Davis to Tannenbaum. And now he risks a lawsuit for stealing a trademarked Lexington Steele line.
10:46: Chauncey Washington having a party in what looks like a 14th century palace --- how did he land that place?
10:47: The question we've all been asking for the six weeks of "Hard Knocks" is finally answered. Does Chauncey Washington wear a chef outfit when he grills on the barbecue? Answer: Yes he does.
10:48: Rex and Woody Johnson flying down to Miami to settle the Revis deal once and for all. Shades of Donnie Brasco.
10:49: Mission Failed, Part II.
10:50: Ryan -- back in New York -- goes off on Revis' agent.
"It's a [expletive] joke three years left on a [expletive] contract."
10:52: Hard to believe that the "not show up for cut day and hope everyone forgets me" move didn't work for Washington.
10:53: Wait, the twist is that the Jets signed Revis? Worst ending since "Lost."
10:54: And this is why training camp means nothing -- Revis spends zero time there and all the coaches, guys that spent the last month abusing players that were actually working the whole time -- do everything but the lambada when Revis shows up.
10:56: "Slapd--k" is Rex's nickname for Revis. Historical note: That was also Vince Lombardi's nickname for Bart Starr.
10:58: Revis leads the Jets out of practice and the Super Bowl or Bust Tour begins.