The NFL and HBO have still yet to announce which team will be featured in the training camp documentary series “Hard Knocks” for the 2023 season. However, according to The Detroit News, HBO wanted to run it back with the Detroit Lions for a second consecutive season of “Hard Knocks.”
“HBO’s ‘Hard Knocks’ actually inquired about filming a sequel, by the way,” John Niyo wrote this week.
Last year, the Lions were the feature team and it produced one of the most memorable seasons of the documentary to date. For a series that some are considered stale and repetitive, “Hard Knocks” chose to spend much of its time highlighting Detroit’s charismatic coaching staff, led by the incomparable Dan Campbell.
The Lions actually reached out to NFL Films to be on the show, and afterward, they admitted the depiction on “Hard Knocks” was ultimately beneficial to the team.
“I knew we were one of like three or four teams and I called and said if we’re chosen I guarantee we’ll do a good job,” team president Rod Wood told the Detroit Free Press. “And I thought coming off of a 3-13 year, get some shot of energy from it. And then I think it turned out even better than we thought. The crew from NFL Films was great.”
That said, the Lions have made it pretty clear this offseason that they aren’t very interested in an encore season.
“Probably going to take a year off,” Wood said “… So the two teams that have done it the last two years (the Arizona Cardinals and Indianapolis Colts), it didn’t work out too well for them, either. Both those coaches are (gone).”
Of course, unlike last year, the NFL cannot force the Lions to be this year’s subject of “Hard Knocks.” In order to be potentially forced by the league to participate, you have to meet all three of the following criteria: no first-year head coach, no playoff appearances in the past two years, and no “Hard Knocks” appearances in the past 10 years. This year, that leaves four teams eligible: Chicago Bears, New Orleans Saints, Washington Commanders, and New York Jets.
Last year, the Lions were announced as the feature team in March, so we’re long overdue to see who will be on the show this year.