Eight teams can be tapped on the shoulder and assigned the obligation of appearing on Hard Knocks this year, whether they want to or not.
On Thursday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said at a meeting of the Associated Press Sports Editors that a decision on a team is coming soon.
“There are several clubs that are interested in doing this,” Goodell said, via Adam L. Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times. “I just don’t have an update on which club, whether it’s going to be a volunteer or if it’s somebody who is going to have to fulfill the obligation. But I’m sure that decision will be made pretty soon.”
The Bills, Bears, Cardinals, Giants, Jaguars, Raiders, Rams, and Steelers can each be drafted to accept the assignment under rules that the NFL passed last year.
All others teams fall within one of the three exemptions: (1) teams that have appeared on Hard Knocks in the last 10 years; (2) teams with new head coaches; and (3) teams that have made the playoffs in either of the last two years.
Goodell acknowledged that he has detected some resistance from teams.
“To be fair yes, sure,” Goodell said. “That’s one of the reasons why we passed the policy that we did is to get every team the opportunity to do this. We understand that it’s an additional responsibility, that it’s an additional thing to film out around your [training] camp and some clubs prefer not to have it.
“But it’s important for all clubs to contribute to it in some fashion. I think we designed a very interesting concept that allows teams if you have a coaching change not to have that be an issue, but also have some kind of rotation to it.”
That still may not be enough to get teams to agree to do it. Cardinals coach Bruce Arians has said that he’d fight an involuntary assignment “tooth and nail,” due in part to his reluctance to publicize the act of firing employees.
“I think when players are released, some of the things that are said between coaches and players are too personal, and nobody else’s business,” Arians has said.
Amen to that. Of course, broadcasting Hard Knocks without the players getting cut would be like showing auto racing without the wrecks or hockey without the fights. People want to see the most real aspects of reality TV; keeping the cameras out of such interactions results in a less compelling product.
Still, the cameras should be kept out of such interactions. Especially since Commissioner Roger Goodell has said he’d like the process of cutting players to become more humane.