Written by: John Stocco
The best show HBO has to offer is coming back sooner than we think. Season nine of Game of Thrones? Not even close. I’m talking about Hard Knocks. Getting an in-depth look into NFL locker rooms, and being a fly on the wall in coaches meetings. I live for that stuff, and I wish the MLB and the NBA would adopt a show like this. The partnership of the NFL and HBO is nothing short of perfect, but I have to admit, seeing the list of teams who are eligible for the series is kinda disappointing when you first look at it. Let’s take a look at them.
1, Oakland Raiders
2, Detroit Lions
3, New York Giants
4, San Francisco 49ers
5, Washington Redskins
The reason why there are only five teams eligible for the series is because of the following rules: If you're a team that made the playoffs the last two seasons you’re off the list, if you’ve been on the show before in the last 10 years, and if you have a first-year head coach.
One of these five teams will be on Hard Knocks. Like I previously said it’s not the sexiest list which means it could mean it will be a season to remember. We’re going to walk through every team on the list to see which team is the best possible fit for the HBO’s Summer Classic.
5. San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers finish last on my list for the simple fact of confusion. Kyle Shanahan, Jimmy Garoppolo, Nick Bosa, Fred Warner. I’m sorry, is this Hard Knocks or The Bachelor? The 49ers are a better team than last year. They’re going to put up a lot of points with a healthy Jimmy G, and targets like George Kittle, Dante Pettis, and Deebo Samuel. Plus having Nick Bosa and Dee Ford on the edge will be a duo that blows up offensive lines. Where’s the personality though? If all they have is Richard Sherman who thinks he’s smarter than everyone else when all he really says is the obvious then, no thanks.
4. Washington Redskins
If the Redskins get selected to be on Hard Knocks all eyes will be on Dwayne Haskins and Case Keenum. If you didn’t know Haskins and Keenum is a competition heading into training camp. It won’t be Keenum’s first go around with the Hard Knocks cameras and a rookie quarterback as he dealt with the same situation in Los Angeles with Jared Goff. This will tell us everything we were wondering about Dwayne Haskins, and this will tell us everything we need to know about Jay Gruden as the Redskins are trying to make the playoffs for the first time since 2015.
3. Detroit Lions
Listen it’s no secret. I’m a Bears fan. But I really want to see what Matt Patricia does on a daily basis. Is that unhealthy? Last year it felt like Patricia had no idea what the hell he was doing. Stafford, Kerryon Johnson, Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones, and now TJ Hockenson. Go to the defense and add an edge rusher like Trey Flowers. I’m not afraid to admit the Lions look really good on paper. Which makes the anticipation of seeing Patricia screw this up even more entertaining.
2. New York Giants
If I had a national radio show or a podcast the Giants would be number 1 on my list. If I was a Giants fan it would be number 32 on my list of 5 times. Dave Gettleman, Eli Manning, Pat Shurmur, and the development of Daniel Jones. My god, the content would never end.
1. Oakland Raiders
I miss Jon Gruden on TV. Watching Gruden break down the tape, watching him give team speeches, all uncensored, that would be television gold. The pressure that will be put on Clelin Ferrell, Josh Jacobs, and Jonathan Abram as they are the players that have replaced Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper. The tension building between Jon Gruden and Derek Carr. Throw in Antonio Brown who’s a complete wild card. This Raiders team feels like it was specifically made for Hard Knocks.