For the second-straight year, the Detroit Lions were one of a only a few teams that could have been forced to be featured in the HBO training camp documentary series ‘Hard Knocks.” However, like last year, the league has decided to go elsewhere for the series.
Perhaps most interesting about this decision is that both teams must have agreed to be a part of the documentary, because neither the Rams nor the Chargers would have been forced into this decision. Teams can only be forced into appearing on ‘Hard Knocks’ if they meet these three qualifications:
- They haven’t made the playoffs in the past two seasons
- They don’t have a first-year head coach
- They haven’t been on Hard Knocks in the past 10 years.
Both the Rams and the Chargers have made the playoffs in the past two years, making them eligible to turn down ‘Hard Knocks,’ if desired.
Of course, there is the danger here that ‘Hard Knocks’ never happens at all considering the current status of sports in the wake of COVID-19. The league may be hoping for an on-time season, but offseason activities have already been pushed back, and there is no guarantee that training camp happens at all this year.
As for the Detroit Lions, management is likely to love this decision. Last year when asked about the potential of starring in the series, head coach Matt Patricia expressed his clear desire to be passed over.
“I think Jon Gruden is an excellent choice for that show,” Patricia said in 2019. “I think the Oakland Raiders and everything they’ve got going on right now would be fantastic viewing for everybody to watch.”
Patricia got his wish last year, and he’s likely smiling about the NFL’s decision again.