NFL teams take a ‘Hard Knock’; franchises to be drafted into HBO series
Published: Thursday, October 10, 2013
Updated: Thursday, October 10, 2013 15:10
The same day that PBS’ football concussion documentary ‘League of Denial’ premiered, and the same day that President Obama addressed issues concerning the Washington Redskins nickname, the NFL quietly slid a new rule into the books.
Each year, one franchise must participate in HBO’s popular series, ‘Hard Knocks.’
“We're talking about some kind of formal rotation where teams participate in the show on a more regular basis," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell explained.
However, Arizona Cardinals head coach, Bruce Arians said he would fight ‘tooth and nails’ if the NFL forced his team to be featured on the show.
“I think it’s a total distraction, and I think it’s an embarrassment to players,” Arians told Bill Polian and Alex Marvez of SiriusXM NFL Radio.
The series follows a selected team throughout its preseason, including the personal and professional lives of players, coaches, and staff. Viewers get an inside look at family lives, antics, and competition between players.
The series mainly focuses on the adjustment of rookie players in the NFL, particularly a top draft pick or those who are trying to make the 53-man roster.
Five teams declined HBO’s offer before the Cincinnati Bengals agreed to do it—their second filming in four years.
The Bengals are a small-market team and their national following isn’t that strong, but with the NFL and HBO signing a multiyear extension, there had to be a production for this year.
Hard Knocks has been on shaky grounds before because of noncompliance. In 2011, they did not produce a series due to lack of participation and the uncertainty of the NFL’s labor situation.
The new participation rule allows for teams to volunteer, but if no one does, the league will make the final decision.
Jim Harbaugh, head coach of the San Franciso 49ers sees it as something that is here to stay and resistance is counterproductive.
“There’s going to be teams that are going to be on Hard Knocks and that seems like a popular thing and something people want to see,” Harbaugh said. You could stamp your feet and say I don’t want to do it, but I don’t know how productive that is for anybody concerned.”
The only ways teams will be excluded is if there’s a new head coach, a franchise has been in the playoffs within the last two seasons , or if the team has filmed with Hard Knocks within the past ten years.
While fans would love to see their favorite teams featured on the HBO series, many also know that for some of the more private, ‘behind closed doors’ type coaches, this new provision will be tough to handle.