|Kevin Rivoli/Associated Press|
|Rex Ryan and Antonio Cromartie made the 2010 version of "Hard Knocks" the most popular in the series' history.|
HBO reportedly has a self-imposed deadline of June 1 for selecting an NFL team for this year's edition of the popular documentary series "Hard Knocks." Thus far, several teams have said they are not interested, including:
The Jacksonville Jaguars are the only team that has openly lobbied for it. Which team would you like to see HBO and NFL Films document this summer?
Storylines abound at Lions campI would love to see "Hard Knocks" cover the Detroit Lions training camp. They have an abundance of storylines, as well as some interesting personalities.
Here are just a few of the storylines: What's going on with the Jim Schwartz contract situation? Can Ndamukong Suh bounce back from an underwhelming sophomore season? Can Matt Stafford and Calvin Johnson repeat their performances from last year? Are the Lions the NFL's version of the Detroit Pistons team that earned the nickname "Bad Boys?"
Personality-wise, Schwartz, defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham, veteran center Dominic Raiola and rookie quarterback Kellen Moore would all be fun to follow.
Flying under the radar, Texans should reconsiderSo many of the big names have distanced themselves from "Hard Knocks," and it's easy to see why. They look at teams who have received the extra publicity, and they link it with poor performance. But what HBO's show really does is give us a glimpse into teams we didn't previously know.
That's why I am not interested in the Jets, for instance. I know what they are. I'd rather see a team like the Texans. Stocked with talent, full of personalities like Arian Foster, and yet we don't know any of them. What is Matt Schaub or Brian Cushing like during camp? The nation has no idea. I'd prefer to learn about an under-the-radar team in "Hard Knocks." Just wish they'd reconsider.
No shortage of drama in New OrleansThere are so many candidates with many compelling stories. Peyton Manning's move to Denver. Jim Harbaugh's fiery leadership, which has San Francisco thinking Super Bowl. The continued ascension of Detroit. But, my vote for the team to see? The New Orleans Saints.
They have just about every storyline that you can think of -- interim head coach, unsettled feelings with Drew Brees, Jonathan Vilma's suspension, the expected view of a team adopting an "Us vs. the World" attitude, and their fan base going all-in with that same feeling. It's not going to happen, but wouldn't that be fun?
Pats or Steelers would be great, but Cowboys should get the nodNFL Films can make a great series with any team because each one has enough storylines to feature. Some teams I really like are:
â¢ The Patriots because of Bill Belichick's secretness with the media and public. His past candidness and trust with NFL Films has made for compelling TV.
â¢ The Steelers because of Todd Haley's new position as offensive coordinator and how he and Ben Roethlisberger will mesh. You also have the storyline of their aging but still excellent defense.
â¢ The Cowboys might top them all. Is the window in Dallas closing? You have Tony Romo, who is unappreciated by some. Dez Bryant, can he fulfill his potential? Tyron Smith and Doug Free have switched positions. DeMarco Murray and Miles Austin are coming off injuries. The defense has colorful coordinator Rob Ryan, whose unit had mixed results last year. Two new corners in Morris Claiborne and Brandon Carr. You also have one of the best players in the NFL in DeMarcus Ware. That will be quite a camp.
One last look at Ray Lewis, Ed Reed would be awesomeThe Baltimore Ravens might be approaching the end of their window to make a run for a Super Bowl title with the veteran leaders of their defense, Ray Lewis and Ed Reed, nearing the end of their careers. In fact, any insight into Reed's decision on whether or not to return to the team for 2012 would be interesting -- as would a glimpse into the leadership styles of head coach John Harbaugh and quarterback Joe Flacco.
A Jets sequel would be must-see TVSequels are rarely as good as the original, but I still want to see the Jets back on "Hard Knocks."
The producers of the show really can't go wrong. It's the best reality show on television and any team is going to be fascinating because training camp is fascinating and NFL Films knows just how to cover it.
With that said, you are going to get greater moments from Rex Ryan than Mike Mularkey. Tim Tebow-Mark Sanchez is going to be more fun to watch from the inside than Blaine Gabbert-Chad Henne. The Jets want the back pages. They want attention. They want us to want to watch them. I'm a sucker because it's all worked. Give me more g-d snacks.
Can we just make sure Antonio Cromartie is prominently involved?I'm not sure why HBO hasn't pounced on the opportunity to follow the Jaguars. Is there really much difference between "Sanchez v Tebow" and "Gabbert v Henne" (aka "Mullet v Crew Cut")? It'd be ratings gold, I tell ya!
If we can't have that, I'll settle for the Antonio Cromartie reality show. I just hope the producers have enough cameras.
HBO should just cut its losses and shelve the show until next seasonHBO, have some pride. If I asked six girls to the prom and they all said no, I think I'd cut my losses. How good can the show be if you're just looking for a warm-bodied team to put on TV? How thrilled will viewers be to see the Jaguars? I'd put it away for next year. Let teams get a year removed from Bountygate, because right now they're all worried that letting cameras in could show something to the public that the teams don't want made public.
Unlike others, the Jags actually want "Hard Knocks" -- so give it to themThe Jacksonville Jaguars. They are team that wants to do it, so let them do it. Because the Jags are eager, access to most areas of the organization will not be off-limits. And it will give fans insight into a franchise that, quite frankly, most people don't know about. The Jaguars are always treated like a second-class citizen -- much like several unfortunate organizations in the NHL, NBA and MLB. Jacksonville is an NFL team, and presumably is here to stay. So it should be treated as such.
As far as HBO is concerned, beggars can't be choosers. Clubs are wary of distractions and there are probably some negative residual effects from the Gregg Williams audio tapes (and the Bountygate scandal as a whole). Front offices aren't overly excited about giving television crews carte blanche to shoot wherever and whenever they want within team facilities. If Jacksonville does "Hard Knocks" and rebounds this season, perhaps some sexier franchises won't have such a dim view of the process.