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An elite team needs to step up and volunteer to be on Hard Knocks

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As the three-day Memorial Day weekend comes to a conclusion, let’s repeat an argument that was raised at the top of the most recent edition of ProFootballTalk Live.

With team after team privately declining an offer to appear on this year’s installment of Hard Knocks and then publicly declaring their dissing of HBO and NFL Films, it will become increasingly harder for the show’s producers to convince any team to step up and accept the assignment.  Really, who wants to be perceived as the sixth or seventh — or worse — choice?

Complicating matters is the fact that the Jets drew rave reviews after last year’s show, making it difficult if not impossible to follow in their footsteps.

Still, in a year that includes NFL Films founder Ed Sabol entering the Hall of Fame and his better-known son, Steve, fighting brain cancer, the teams that have received invitations should have been more discreet.  Instead, they’ve flipped the declined invitation into the short-term bump in image that comes from being invited, to the detriment of the show’s ability to line up some other team to actually open its doors to the cameras and microphones.

Most recently, Vikings owner Zygi Wilf acknowledged in an on-the-record interview that his team had received an invitation, and that his team had said “no thanks.”

With the offseason fading and the lockout raging, it’s likely that there won’t even be an edition of Hard Knocks in 2011.  Still, the chronic inability of NFL Films to line up a willing participant soon will rise to the level of embarrassment.  Out of respect for everything that NFL Films has done for the sport over the past five decades, one of the truly elite teams, a team that NFL Films wouldn’t even dare to ask, needs to stand up and welcome the assignment.

Whether it’s the Steelers, Patriots, Giants, or Packers, a franchise of that stature needs to take one for the good of NFL Films, and for the good of the game.

In the end, it could be a no-lose proposition.  If there’s no Hard Knocks series this year because of the labor situation, the team that volunteers won’t have to do it until 2012, at the earliest.  (By next year, some other lesser franchise may be jockeying for the assignment.)  And if the lockout gets resolved in time to produce the show, the team that accepts the gig will be performing a significant role in the post-lockout fence-mending between football and its fans.

So what do you say, Steelers, Pats, Giants, and/or Packers?  The NFL and NFL Films could use a little boost right now.  Why not give it to them?

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53 Responses to “An elite team needs to step up and volunteer to be on Hard Knocks”
  1. jaggedmark says: May 30, 2011 8:42 PM

    There’s a better chance that Ohio State reinstates Jim Tressel as their head coach, and gives him a RAISE, than there is that the Patriots do Hard Knocks.

  2. virger says: May 30, 2011 8:46 PM

    can’t see belicheck or thompsen letting cameras into their camps

    /cue belicheck camera joke

  3. j0esixpack says: May 30, 2011 8:48 PM

    No offense to the Sabol family but cameras in the locker room are a distraction.

    The elite teams are the elite teams because they use the offseason to focus on football – not TV ratings.

    If NFL teams need to make concessions to the media to put ratings ahead of winning, what’s next? Caving in to the pressure of the mafia to have coaches disclose who injured players are to make sure the Las Vegas line is accurate?

    It’d be a sad day for the NFL if that ever happens.

  4. thereisalwaysnextyear says: May 30, 2011 8:51 PM

    “An elite team needs to step up and volunteer to be on Hard Knocks”

    They need to? Why? There is NO upside for the team to do it. My prediction is Hard Knocks is dead. If not this year, then soon. Dead.

  5. godzilla68 says: May 30, 2011 8:52 PM

    Is it just me or are we going along here like there’s actually going to be football anytime soon??? I think both sides are to far apart to be even thinking about Hard Knocks…..

  6. netherscourge says: May 30, 2011 8:55 PM

    Since when are the Giants an elite team? Did they even make the playoffs last year?

  7. duanethomas says: May 30, 2011 8:56 PM

    LoL. I find it funny, none of those teams is going to step up. The Patriots?? Are you serious? The Giants? Sure they would want to follow in the Jets footsteps. Think before posting, because the teams you mentioned make no sense. The Steelers? LoL. Put your thinking cap on guy.

  8. smacklayer says: May 30, 2011 8:57 PM

    Who dissed HBO or NFL films? Did I miss something? Everything I have read and statements from teams said they have respect for the show and love watching, but are politely declining it for their team.

  9. dbellina says: May 30, 2011 8:57 PM

    I say it should be the Raiders. I can’t get enough of Al Davis. He’s a funny man.

  10. cleonslamminsalmon says: May 30, 2011 9:04 PM

    2 things…1. Nobody needs to do anything. It’s just a TV show and if nobody wants to do it, so be it then. 2. An elite team hasn’t been on there yet, why start now?

  11. swervinmervin says: May 30, 2011 9:10 PM

    The Raiders are a non-elite team that would make HArd Knocks very fun to watch. Al Davis would never do it , but boy would it be fun if he did.

  12. ampats says: May 30, 2011 9:17 PM


    One too many brewski’s on Memorial Day b-bque? You will never see Hard Knocks from Foxboro nor do we want it.

    Might I suggest the biggest circus in the NFL the Miami Dolphins which is owned and followed by fans who think futbol is a round object followed by their fist pumping HC after another FG inside the red zone

    Or the best Hard knocks team having Rex Ryan consulting with Harold Camping on future predictions since they are both 100% on their own predictions to date.

    Its naptime for the other AFC East team as the owner and GM will be able to answer the question after the wakeup. Best wings though !

  13. nygiantstones says: May 30, 2011 9:21 PM

    Hard Knocks is voyeuristic tripe. I have no interest in my team being distracted by the cameras or made to look the fool for entertainment, a la Cromartie. This show will be retired soon enough. Otherwise, they will have to start paying teams to film them.

  14. montsta says: May 30, 2011 9:26 PM

    LOL @ the Giants being an elite team.

  15. airraid77 says: May 30, 2011 9:31 PM

    Nobody owes the fans a thing…..contrary to liberal thinking. if the fans dont like the product they wont show up.

  16. flyboy123456 says: May 30, 2011 9:31 PM

    They don’t have to do jack. NFL Films covers the game. The game has made NFL Films, not the other way around.

  17. topgunnfl says: May 30, 2011 9:57 PM

    The Bengals were far from an elite team when they were on in 09′ (coming off a 4 win season) yet it was their highest rated HARD KNOCKS season to date. Look for some good storylines, some interesting characters and people will watch it. There is no need for an “elite” team to have to appear.

  18. supersuckers3 says: May 30, 2011 10:11 PM

    The day Ted Thompson lets HBO film his camp is the day I will actually believe he has an alternative lifestyle. No way. He’s too smart for that. However it is the best sports series ever and I will watch whoever decides to do it. Learn so much about the time and effort it takes.

  19. slickzmoney says: May 30, 2011 10:16 PM

    How about the Chiefs?

  20. rondo1260 says: May 30, 2011 10:20 PM

    Why should any team care about doing a tv show? Why would anyone on an NFL team care if the show goes off the air? Volunteer for what purpose?

  21. essfjay says: May 30, 2011 10:33 PM

    i would like to see the ravens. would be curious to see r. lewis & ed reed interact both future HOFers & well lewis just being overdramatic. plus they can have that “one more run for a SB” as a good storyline. just a thought.

  22. Deb says: May 30, 2011 10:33 PM

    NFL teams have no obligation to disrupt their training camps to save a television series. I respect the Sabols’ contributions to football, but I’m sure NFL Films will survive without Hard Knocks.

  23. fancyleague says: May 30, 2011 10:44 PM

    The Giants would be epic. I’ll bet they wake Eli up every morning at 6 o’clock and tell him, “Coach needs to see you. Bring your playbook.” He makes that sad walk across campus in his Spider-man Underoos only to be told they’re kidding. Man, that gag would never get old.

  24. dwight123 says: May 30, 2011 10:45 PM

    Or maybe they don’t have to do anything?

  25. 1kcfan says: May 30, 2011 10:47 PM

    Cancel it all, move some NCAA games to Sunday and all of the greedy owners, players, etc., can go eff themselves.

  26. jtfris says: May 30, 2011 11:13 PM

    Elite teams like being elite. Hard Knocks doesn’t help with that process.

    Most of us won’t watch it anyway, it means nothing.

  27. johntonioholmes says: May 30, 2011 11:15 PM

    This article pretty much explains why the NFL is ruined.

  28. cornellsteelers says: May 30, 2011 11:22 PM


    Let me th- NO!

  29. bcgreg says: May 30, 2011 11:25 PM

    The “elite” teams have better things to worry about. It’s why the Jets were on last year.

  30. coachknights says: May 30, 2011 11:25 PM

    I’m surprised this show happened to begin with… or lasted this long for that matter.

  31. raiderapologist says: May 30, 2011 11:33 PM

    It’s a bad year to be selling that show to any NFL club, elite or not. There is no action, and no team is going to sign up just to show loyalty to Sabol.

  32. smacklayer says: May 31, 2011 12:18 AM

    I like Hard Knocks, but I think it is getting played out a little. It was great at first, getting a glimpse from the inside. But it has lost its luster, at least for me. Kind of like any reality TV shows that just milks season after season. I would still watch it, but I am not heartbroken if it goes away for a year or two.

    Maybe they should have a Hard Knocks about the epic fail of De Smith and show him turning his playbook in on June 3rd and players saying “you’re good lawyer, I am sure another league will pick you up… hey we heard the NBA is having some labor problems. Good luck, here’s a plane ticket”

  33. goawayeverybody says: May 31, 2011 12:38 AM

    Mike, why are you so obsessed with Hard Knocks??? Like three people actually watch the show. There isn’t going to even be a normal preseason anyway.

    Stop obsessing!

  34. mikebrownistheworstownerinprosports says: May 31, 2011 1:04 AM

    To all the people claiming Hard Knocks can somehow hurt teams or distract them:

    Teams record in season before Hard Knocks- 57-54-1

    Teams record in season after doing Hard Knocks- 58-54

    Really looks like these teams must regret doing the show eh? The Bengals went 10-6 and swept their division after Hard Knocks. Jets went to the AFC title game.

  35. childressrulz says: May 31, 2011 1:41 AM

    Only retards agree to do that show. Also only sister humpers watch it in the first place.

  36. fortysixntwo says: May 31, 2011 2:36 AM

    nobody cares about Hard Knocks for a training camp that is probably not going to happen, and if it does, theres going to be alot more to worry about than the cameras…

  37. ICDogg says: May 31, 2011 3:51 AM

    They could just take a year off… they don’t need to have a new one every year.

  38. thenightflier says: May 31, 2011 6:47 AM

    What a silly article. For the good of NFL Films, and the good of the game? The show isn’t a tradition, hardly anyone watches it, and NFL Films rakes in over 50 million a year regardless.

  39. sneaky1632 says: May 31, 2011 7:17 AM

    The LAST thing I want to see more of is the Steelers, Colts or Patriots. The only scary thing about those teams is how much tv time they already get.

  40. garyman1 says: May 31, 2011 7:28 AM

    I don’t get your argument…. “for the good of the game”.
    Why in the wide, wide world of sports should any team feel obligated to do a TV show (which isn’t even owned by the NFL). If the NFL deems it to be critical to the game, they could vote and rotate so each team only needs to participate once every 32 years.

  41. anonymouslyanonymouscommentor says: May 31, 2011 8:30 AM

    Really, in a lockout year, when coaches will be struggling to get everyone caught up to speed to begin with? No way any team has time for this.

  42. georgeanderson2 says: May 31, 2011 8:51 AM

    Get the Jags this season. It might be interesting this season to show a franchise in a small market and their struggles on the business side after a lockout. Also the team has some interesting additions to its roster. The HC always seems to be on the hot seat. The constant speculation about LA .

  43. fltharley says: May 31, 2011 9:14 AM

    there wont be any hard knocks roger goodell has taken all the hard knocks away. goodell sucks

  44. jimmysee says: May 31, 2011 9:37 AM

    How about an ‘elite’ team from the Lingerie Football League?

  45. berniemadoffsides says: May 31, 2011 9:58 AM

    As a Giants fan, I’d be furious if we did Hard Knocks. I would imagine Reese, Coughlin, and Mara would be completely against it, however, so I’m not taking the possibility of it happening very seriously.

    And yes, I’d argue we’re an elite team. 3 Super Bowl Championships, consistently in the top 10 offensively and defensively, .500 or better record since 2005… I think only the Colts and Patriots have had better streaks. I’d say that’s pretty darn elite… especially in a division as tough as the NFC East where you face both the Cowboys and Eagles twice a year.

  46. pixelito says: May 31, 2011 10:03 AM

    When you win Superbowls like the NY Giants, they call you “Elite”…. When you lose in the postseason every year like the Eagles…. They don’t.

  47. pallidrone says: May 31, 2011 10:05 AM

    I am surprised that the Seahawks have not jumped on this considering that Pete Carroll loves the spotlight.

  48. winkeroni says: May 31, 2011 10:41 AM

    Mike you’re completely wrong (I only say that because I know you can take it). Watching an elite team would be boring. Watching functioning parts would be like watching a gosh darn assembly line all the pieces fit and the product is great (it would be like watching that I Love Lucy Episode with the chocolates but Lucy is able to handle it and doesn’t stuff her face full of chocolate). Frankly, that doesn’t excite me.

    Does anyone watch films about teams that start as winners? That question is rhetorical because everyone knows the answer is no.

    What they need is to ask the Bengals, Bills, Cowboys, Raiders, Redskins, or some other team that would be interesting to watch. A team where not all the parts fit.

  49. DonRSD says: May 31, 2011 11:45 AM

    put a crappy/boring team on hard knocks… the dolphins

  50. jeffm916 says: May 31, 2011 1:10 PM

    Since when are the Giants an elite team? Did they even make the playoffs last year?

    _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

    Must be a sad Cowboy fan who still can’t get over the fact that Cowboy Stadium is home field advantage for the Giants.

  51. mediasloppy says: May 31, 2011 2:51 PM

    I actually like Hard Knocks, but at the same time wouldn’t want my team on it. I can’t believe how much access the show gets of everything going on behind the scenes.

  52. hendeeze says: May 31, 2011 10:59 PM

    I was going to suggest the comedy hour of “Da Raida’s” but you just HAD to qualify it with an “elite” team

  53. dumbaseinstien says: Jun 1, 2011 11:39 PM

    Hard Knocks needs to be cancelled. It’s garbage

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