A while back, I was going to write the standard "5 Teams We'd Like To See On Hard Knocks". These articles are common fair on the internet but mine would have obviously been way better and avoided an annoying slideshow format. For sharing purposes I had my top 5 as the Seahawks, Bears, Eagles, Texans, and Saints in that order with the caveat that any teams featured in the last decade were ineligible.
But now we're in June and rather than trying to will a team with compelling storylines unfolding during training camp to be featured, I'm more concerned that nothing has been announced yet. In fact, there haven't even been the usual leaks, whispers, and news coverage of the outreach and selection process.
Historically, we usually see HBO/NFL Films start to find its way into the news in March, April, and mostly May. The majority of announcements surrounding the selection of a team has typically taken place in May although speculation usually starts in April or even March. In terms of the standard speculation and close calls….. crickets.
Looking back over the timing of previous year's announcements:
Chiefs – June 2,2007
Cowboys – May 7, 2008
Bengals – May 15, 2009
Jets – May 24, 2010
Dolphins – May 29, 2012
Given we're already past the latest date a Hard Knocks season has been announced and the Hard Knocks rumor mill is eerily quiet, I'm no longer trying to will a team with compelling personalities and training camp storylines to participate but rather just hoping any team takes the plunge.
I'd assume the teams listed above are probably unlikely candidates and although the Dolphins featured a rookie coach last year, I have a feeling that most owners with a rookie coach won't want to pullback the kimono on their training camps under new leadership. Also, about a handful of teams have publicly made comments that they were not interested. If the assumptions on a repeat team and a rookie coach not being featured are true and teams who have signaled they're not interested are telling the truth, more than half of the NFL would be out of play.
Also not helping matters is the fact that NFL Films is without their visionary Steve Sabol who historically has been very involved in getting approval for access to Hard Knocks. Will owners be as receptive to the concept without Sabol's larger than life persona and reputation holding their hand?
I reached out to NFL Films for a comment hoping to at least be reassured that wheels were in motion, but their PR department has had some churn of late and our outreach may have got lost in the transition.
For me a season without Hard Knocks is terribly hard to deal with. Not only am I without one of my most favorite programs but it essentially extends the football offseason for me. Although my baseball team (Oakland) is playing well, Hard Knocks essentially makes a usually slow sports month of August that much more bearable.
July is really scary as NFL Films and HBO need pre production lead time and that window begins to get really compounded. All this being said, I'd love for someone in the know the drop us line or a tweet and talk us off the ledge. The fact I'm already sweating this is pretty indicative of just how much not having football gives me the shakes.