One of the biggest surprises — and funniest moments — from Tuesday’s season premiere of “Hard Knocks” on HBO was Jets offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett’s love of the character “Goldmember” from the “Austin Powers” franchise.
But what wasn’t a shock was just how well Hackett and star quarterback Aaron Rodger get along — even if that meant some teasing along the way.
After Denver Broncos coach Sean Payton coach put Hackett in the spotlight with his blistering comments in late July, the behind-the-scenes NFL show largely steered clear of the controversy.
But it did explore the deep bond that Rodgers and Hackett share.
And Rodgers was all too happy to dish on his coach’s love of the character made famous in the third installment of the comedy trilogy.
“He has this obsession with ‘Austin Powers’ and ‘Goldmember,’ so he would show us clips every single week,” Rodgers said. “So we got to know ‘Goldmember’ more. How he got gold genitalia and then where he likes to party and where he likes to eat.
“And he’s a roller skater and he’s super flexible and all these different ridiculous things.”
The Jets signal-caller said that was the way Hackett would keep things fun during their time in Green Bay, where the coach re-named the red zone into the “gold zone.”
Hackett was the offensive coordinator in Green Bay for three seasons and helped the Packers build the league’s best offense in 2020, falling just short of the Super Bowl.
Hackett spent last season as the head coach of the Broncos, but he and the 39-year-old Rodgers have now been reunited in New York.
“The more you’re around him, the more you realize how special he is as a human,” Rodgers said during the premiere episode. “Our personalities mesh. We’re both competitive, but we both also have the balance. … We just get along like brothers. We have some back and forths.
“We like to give each other s–t, but in the end, we really love each other.”
The cameras caught Rodgers giving Hackett a hard time during what they called the “pylon game,” which is used to pass the time after walkthroughs and involves participants to try and hit an end zone pylon.
Part of it is trying to mess with another person’s head, and during a moment captured by the HBO crew, Rodgers yelled out “Sean Payton” while Hackett was throwing in order to psych the coach out.
“That was a good one,” Hackett could be heard saying through laughter.
It was nicer than Hackett was to Payton when the Jets coach said the new Broncos lead man broke the coach’s “code” with his comments.