HBO’s “Hard Knocks” is neat behind-the-scenes look at NFL training camps and the drama behind roster decisions as teams prepare for the upcoming regular season.
However, many teams don’t like having cameras all over the facility, prying their way into the team’s fortress of secrecy. NFL teams obsess with not giving away any information, whether it be how they practice or how they come to make organizational moves.
As a result, teams have started to turn down invitations to do “Hard Knocks.” In response, the NFL made a series of stipulations that, if everyone else turns down “Hard Knocks,” certain teams would not be able to decline. If teams 1) haven’t done the show in 10 years, 2) haven’t been in the playoffs in two years and 3) don’t have a new head coach, they cannot say no.
The Lions are one of five teams that meet all three criteria*, so during Monday night’s Fan Summit, Lions management was asked if they were hoping to be featured on “Hard Knocks” in 2019. Their answers were predictable.
“I think Jon Gruden is an excellent choice for that show,” head coach Matt Patricia quickly quipped. “I think the Oakland Raiders and everything they’ve got going on right now would be fantastic viewing for everybody to watch.”
Lions radio play-by-play announcer Dan Miller followed that up by asking if going on “Hard Knocks” would be the equivalent of a six-week trip to the dentist for a root canal.
“Yeah,” Patricia said. “And I definitely think I would get a lot of phone calls from my mom at night if that show was on.”
But it wasn’t all jokes. General manager Bob Quinn thorough explained why he believed “Hard Knocks” would be detrimental to the team and the importance of remaining secretive.
“One of my guys in scouting watches the show,” Quinn said. “If we’re playing them that year, we DVR that show, we watch that show, we might gleam a little thing about a personnel matter or a scheme thing. So that’s something that other teams always do. I know we do it. We did it with our previous team. I’ve done it here, so it’s real.”
But the question is whether this is being overly secretive. How much can one possibly pull from short clips at practice or segments of a team meeting? Quinn admits he’s doesn’t know, but it’s not nothing.
“Is it going to be a matter of a win and loss? I’m not sure, but we take the stuff that we do behind our doors pretty privately and pretty securely, so that’s something that’s definitely a factor.”
So while the Lions try to push for the Raiders to take on “Hard Knocks,” this adds a little intrigue to the Lions being a potential candidate. They’ve made it very clear they don’t want to do it, but without the ability to say no, there’s still a real chance they’re featured this year. That would make for a very unhappy set of people in Allen Park in 2019.
*The other four teams unable to decline “Hard Knocks” are San Francisco, Washington, New York (Giants), and Oakland