What will Cleveland get for doing Hard Knocks?

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The Browns didn’t want to do Hard Knocks. And now they’re doing it, happily. Or at least as happily as possible under the circumstances.

“We have been asked multiple times about being featured on Hard Knocks, and we really felt like it was our turn this year and the timing was right,” owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam said in a statement. “We want to be great partners in this league, and we also recognize Hard Knocks gives fans a special opportunity to learn more about our team and players. Organizationally, we are confident about where we are headed, but we have a lot of work to do in order for this franchise to earn the respect of our fans on the field. We understand winning is ultimately most important to our fans. We’re looking forward to partnering with HBO and NFL Films to show how our team is working hard at training camp to prepare for the 2018 season.”

The entire situation invites speculation as to what kind of deal was struck to get the Browns to do it. Will Cleveland/Canton get the 2020 draft? (The 2019 draft reportedly is earmarked for Nashville.) Will the Browns get something else that they’ve been trying to get behind the scenes?

Plenty of teams simply don’t want to do Hard Knocks, and the NFL surely doesn’t want to create the impression that any team is being forced to do it (although a truly involuntary participant would make the series a lot more compelling). So teams that agree to do it without kicking and screaming likely are getting something for their trouble.

If not, then they’re just suckers.

The question now becomes whether those who subscribe to HBO will be suckers when it comes to spending time in August watch the training-camp travails of a team that has won only one game in two seasons. Maybe there’s a rubbernecking effect that will get people to watch how a team that can’t do anything right tries to get its preseason ducks in a row. Maybe fans will want to see whether No. 1 overall draft pick Baker Mayfield looks the part.

Regardless of the team’s motivation for submitting or the audience’s motivation for watching, remember that the subject of Hard Knocks always has final say over what gets televised. So unless the same incompetence that has fueled 1-31 has infected every level of the organization, chances are that the final product will look a lot less like an objective tour of the Factory of Sadness and more like an infomercial edited by the Chamber of Commerce.

41 responses to “What will Cleveland get for doing Hard Knocks?

  1. I’ll be watching. I have watched all the Hard Knocks shows. I like to see what teams are doing in training camp. Gets the juices flowing to the start of the regular season.

  2. The nfl should just start a rotation and cover all teams, A-Z. But also collaborate with the Amazon piece, For example hbo you cover the broncos and amazon will cover cardinals etc

  3. Recall your last visit to a motion picture outlet:

    [Backdrop]: Bright two color background with image of full vat of buttered popcorn and candy spilling out of a cornucopia.

    [Message Text]: Between hard hitting episodes of Hard Knocks© enjoy a tasty snack at one of our numerous concession stands!

    [Backdrop]: Replace images with full drum of soda and steaming pizza slice.

    [Message Text]: Federal regulations will soon allow gambling on the outcome of our contests. Please place your bets with any of the roaming bookmakers you can see wandering through the stadium.

  4. I really don’t get the concept of this show – it can only be a team that didn’t make the playoffs. Why would anyone watch a team’s off-season training camp from an organization that by definition of the show, isn’t successful?

  5. C’mon, to have the big time collage “winners” coming to camp, plus some experienced “good story” free agents, a coaching staff desperate to find a way, for an ownership fighting a major federal scandle – – all trying to rebuild a program together in a city starting to believe again (Cavs, etc)

    Edit all that BS, and it can be very interesting

  6. Don’t sleep on the Browns this season. Take them with the points all season and you will come out on top.

  7. i’ve stopped watching hard knocks ever since amazon came out with all or nothing…why watch a preseason reality show 1 episode a week when i can binge through a team’s entire season off the field, where stuff actually matters.

  8. what they’re going to get , whether they want it or not, is everyone knowing what Mayfield really is.

    I think he’s going to be a good player and a winner, but now Hard Knocks is watchable.

  9. “Knock, knock, knock!” [series of hard knocks heard]

    “Hello, Cleveland Browns is anyone home?”

    “Knock, knock, knock, knock, knock, knock!” [more hard knocks]

    “Hello, hello, is there anyone there? Hello?”

  10. Don’t you know Hue is going, “Dangit! I’m going to totally get exposed now!”

  11. Teams that subject themselves to doing Hard Knocks should get extra draft picks — like an extra second and an extra third in the next draft.

    It’s certainly a colossal inconvenience and distraction to be the subject of the show.

  12. Side note, I love the idea of the draft being in Canton.

    Start your career in Canton, and do everything in your power to end it there. Also brings more attention and visitors to the Hall of Fame.

  13. I like John Dorsey he seems like a good dude, but does he always introduce himself as “Mr. Dorsey”? See the call to Baker @ #1. That one moment made me question if he sees himself akin to Samuel L. Jackson’s character in Django.

  14. I predict that opportunity will so confuse Baby Huey that his team might get a victory by mistake.

  15. Uh oh Jimmy, looks like you’re going to have to avoid talking about defrauding your customers in front of those hot mikes.

  16. Even aside from Mayfield the Browns have a lot of young high draft pick players. You keep waiting for them to burst onto the scene and maybe this is the year.

  17. Yes, the history is very poor. But saddling the new management, which I believe will prove very competent, with the “Factory of Sadness” is a tired old rehash.

  18. Florio, you have no idea what it’s like to be a pathological Browns fan. In the absence of anything resembling a respectably competitive product to entertain us for nearly 25 years, this is something that EVERY Browns fan on the planet will be interested in. It’s all we’ve got – we are not suckers. Loyal to the point of sickness, but not suckers.

  19. Browns will be allowed to relax the first two weeks of the season and play their first game with a 2-0 record. To create some suspense over who drafts first in 2019.

  20. Not a browns fan but i see them maybe squeaking in the playoffs this year. That roster is pretty stacked if they can just get decent production out of their QB.

  21. ….”So unless the same incompetence that has fueled 1-31 has infected every level of the organization, ….”
    You still don’t get it.
    The tank job was completed at the highest level of competency. Now the Browns have stocked their roster with depth, hopefully drafted their franchise QB with a competent bridge guy in place, signed a top WR and RB & drafted the best CB in the draft.

    They remain $60M under the cap.

  22. at last the NFL have a sitcom, Hue, John and Jimmy’s Laugh-In;

    hopefully this ends with Hue getting the s*t-canning he is long overdue for and truly deserves;

    knowing the browns, they’ll wait til they’re 0-4 and Mayfield is dead as his predecessors;

    if it’s any solace, the Browns are learning what it was like to have a billionaire owner ruin the marquee franchise in the USFL by making it great and thereby bringing the rest of the league to insolvency—kinda like what’s happening in Washington right now;

  23. There will be lots of primping in the mirrors for sure…..but a 1-31 team in sackcloth and ashes working as a cohesive unit trying to get better not so much.

  24. After 30 games to improve the Browns, Hue Jackson led his team to zero TDs against my lowly Bears in Game 31. The Haslams and Browns fans see that as tremendous progress. Please don’t wonder why the perennially lose when Browns fans think Jackson is the savior of the franchise. He certainly is the QB Whisperer he was touted to be, though, bahahahaha

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