The last thing most NFL coaches want during training camp is to be followed everywhere they go by cameras and microphones. Which means NFL teams rarely volunteer to appear on Hard Knocks, the behind-the-scenes reality show that documents training camp. Which means the NFL sometimes forces it on a team that doesn’t want to do it. And in 2019, five teams run the risk of being forced on Hard Knocks.
By league rules, teams can be forced to do Hard Knocks if they haven’t done the show in the last 10 years, haven’t been to the playoffs in the last two years, and don’t have a new head coach.
The teams that have done the show in the last 10 years are the Browns, Buccaneers, Rams, Texans, Falcons, Bengals, Dolphins and Jets.
The teams that have been to the playoffs in the last two years are the Patriots, Ravens, Texans, Colts, Chiefs, Chargers, Cowboys, Eagles, bears, Saints, Rams, Seahawks, Bills, Steelers, Jaguars, Titans, Panthers and Falcons.
The teams that will have a new head coach this year are the Packers, Browns, Bengals, Dolphins, Jets, Cardinals, Buccaneers and Broncos.
The teams that are on none of those three lists are the Lions, Raiders, Giants, 49ers and Washington. Those five teams can be forced to do Hard Knocks.
Of those five teams, the Raiders would appear to have the most interesting storylines, with Jon Gruden trying to turn the team around, the newly arrived G.M. Mike Mayock, and the franchise’s current uncertainty about its 2019 home. Don’t be surprised if Gruden and Mayock move from ESPN and NFL Network to HBO.