Last year, the Cleveland Browns were announced as the team to be featured on HBO documentary series “Hard Knocks” right around this time of year (May 17). The year prior, the Buccaneers got the news in mid-April.
However, this year we may be waiting longer. According to Peter King of Pro Football Talk, there hasn’t been any movement on the “Hard Knocks” front, and we may be in for a delay.
“NFL Films—which drives the bus on the “Hard Knocks” process—seems to be a little bit behind in the team selection, in part because of all the programming associated with the league’s 100th season in 2019,” King wrote on Monday morning.
Of course, part of the problem is that no team has volunteered to have HBO camera crews littered throughout their organization for the next four months. Instead, the league is likely trying to decide on one of five teams that cannot decline an invitation to “Hard Knocks.” The Lions, Giants, Raiders, 49ers and Washington all cannot say no because they don’t have a rookie coach, haven’t made the playoffs in the past two years and have not been featured on the show in the past decade.
The Lions have already very publicly said they aren’t interested in hosting the documentary series. The Raiders have been just as public in their disinterest. The 49ers want out, too.
But one of these teams isn’t going to be able to say no. Smart money is on the Raiders, seeing as they have both Jon Gruden and Antonio Brown, but as of now, there is no indication that a team has been selected.
UPDATE: According to NBC Sports Bay Area, the 49ers won’t be featured this year. And then there were four.