Chargers considering 2014 'Hard Knocks' appearance

By Will Brinson | NFL Writer


Mike McCoy and Philip Rivers don't sound amped about
Mike McCoy and Philip Rivers don't sound amped about 'Hard Knocks.' (USATSI)

It hasn't been easy for HBO to find teams to appear in Hard Knocks the past three years. First the lockout wrecked the series in 2011 and then it was a dogfight to land the Dolphins and Bengals in 2012 and 2013. But 2014 might be easier, as the Chargers are already showing interest.

Bolts CEO Dean Spanos acknowledged Sunday, via Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune, that the team is looking into the possibility of having their training camp filmed.

"We've educated ourselves as to what the process is," Spanos said.

The team, Spanos said, hasn't been asked by HBO to do the show but Acee reports they're "considered a favorite" to potentially get the offer and the CEO believes that accepting it, if offered, would boost the Chargers brand and ticket sales.

"No doubt,” he said. “We've talked to other teams that have done the show and gotten feedback on how it's helped them. Businesswise, every team has been helped by being on the show."

But that doesn't mean everyone's excited about the idea. Eric Weddle made a face in Acee's direction and inquired "Why?" when he was asked about the possibility of Hard Knocks. And quarterback Philip Rivers was even more direct, though he acknowledged the decision was above his pay grade.

"Obviously, these decisions are made in higher places than I am in," he said. "Whether it happens or not, I'm going to be the same, act the same in my role as quarterback. But if asked, I'd say, 'Please don't.' "

New head coach Mike McCoy sounded ... hesitant as well.

"We just have to sit down as an organization and discuss exactly what we want to expose everyone to," McCoy said. "You can see both sides of it. You see the exposure it brings to an organization, but there are also things you don't want to put out."

And VP of Football Operations John Spanos (brother of Dean) wasn't even that vague -- he thinks there's some benefit.

"It's a very entertaining show," John said. "I enjoy watching it ... Now, everything we do [in football operations] is working toward what gives us the best chance to win. My brother and I work in very different ends of the building. [Hard Knocks] merits a discussion, but you can guess what side of the fence I land on."

The Chargers aren't exactly a super-public team; on Monday they released training camp plans and opened doors for only one day to the full public.

"Today's practice at Chargers is closed to the public. Wednesday's and Friday's practices are open to Chargers Season Ticket Holders only," the team said in a release. "And Thursday's practice is open to the general public."

Not that there's anything wrong with that. There's also nothing wrong with generating more interest in your team. For my money, unless you're one of the 15 or so legitimate Super Bowl contenders (and, yes, I realize everyone is technically a contender in August), it does your team good to have the show around, at least in terms of the way your franchise is publicly perceived.

Internally it could be a completely different story and there are very good reasons to avoid airing everything that happens in your team's facility on what amounts to national television.

But it would be totally worth it if only to get video of Manti Te'o teaching D.J. Fluker how to swim.

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