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?

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

  1. 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. 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.

  3. “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.

  4. 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…..

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

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

  8. 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?

  9. 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.

  10. Mike,

    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 !

  11. 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.

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

  13. 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.
    http://ultimatenflfans.blogspot.com/

  14. 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.

  15. 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?

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

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

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

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

  21. 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”

  22. 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!

  23. 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.

  24. 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…

  25. 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.

  26. 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.

  27. 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.

  28. 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.

  29. 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 .

  30. 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.

  31. 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.

  32. 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.

  33. 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.

  34. 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.

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

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