At some point, there aren't going to be any eligible teams for Hard Knocks, but luckily for the NFL, that won't be happening in 2019, and that's because there are five eligible teams for this year's show.
For those of you who aren't familiar with the Hard Knocks selection process, a team doesn't have to be on the show if any of the three rules below applies to them:
- They have a first-year head coach in place
- They have a playoff berth in the past two seasons
- They have appeared on Hard Knocks in the past 10 years
For instance, the Packers don't have to be on the show in 2019 because they'll have a new head coach. The Seahawks won't have to be on the show because they've made the playoffs in the past two seasons and the Falcons won't have to be on the show because they've appeared on Hard Knocks in the past 10 years.
Of those five teams, we can probably go ahead and eliminate the 49ers, and that's because they don't sound very interested in having a TV show invade their training camp this summer. Last year, general manager John Lynch made it pretty clear that he didn't want the 49ers on Hard Knocks. This year, it was coach Kyle Shanahan who didn't sound too enthusiastic about the idea.
"It's a hard, hard, bad stance, Hard Knocks," Shanahan said Monday, via quotes distributed by the team. "You will see the worst entertainment possible by me."
With the 49ers likely out of the running, that leaves us with the Raiders, Giants, Redskins and Lions.
Although I don't have any say in this decision, I think the pick is obvious and it's THE RAIDERS. Putting Jon Gruden on HBO for one hour a week practically guarantees that this would go down as the craziest season of Hard Knocks ever. Gruden's personality is basically made-for-TV, which is why all of his Hooter's commercials are so fascinating. Not to mention, there's the added twist that the Raiders don't even know where they'll be holding training camp this year since they're technically homeless.
I would also watch the Giants on Hard Knocks for the Odell Beckham drama alone. The Lions would also be an interesting choice, but watching Matt Patricia yell at the camera crew for five straight weeks would probably get old.
How does Patricia call out a reporter for lack of professionalism in regards to their posture, but can’t show up in time for his own meetings.— Steffin Bader (@SteffinB) December 27, 2018
As for the Redskins, they would be a fascinating choice, if only because it would potentially give us an inside look at the recovery of Alex Smith. However, I vote the Raiders, so let's hope it's the Raiders.