The team chosen to be featured in HBO’s Hard Knocks has become more of a forced tradition than a luxury. While the show is a great chance for the fans to get an exclusive look at the training camp lifestyle, team’s have shown increasing reluctance to take part in the spectacle. Luckily for San Diego — well, maybe not the fans — the Chargers are exempt from appearing on the show.
The NFL has created a set of criteria allowing for certain teams to not have to participate in the show. These include having appeared on the show in the past 10 years, making the playoffs in one of the past two seasons, and having a first-year head coach.
These rules leave the possible teams as candidates: New York Giants, Pittsburgh Steelers, Arizona Cardinals, Chicago Bears, Buffalo Bills, St. Louis Rams, Oakland Raiders, and Jacksonville Jaguars. Oddly enough, most of these teams employ no nonsense coaches (Tom Coughlin, Mike Tomlin, Bruce Arians, Jeff Fisher) likely to do everything in their power to avoid the spotlight. With the potential to draft a guy like Johnny Manziel, the Jaguars and Raiders could be real players to be featured on the show.
While I would love to get an inside look at Chargers camp, I’m glad the Bolts don’t have to be subjected to the added distractions. For now, I bet the Jaguars end up the choice. Drafting Manziel, alongside a passionate coach like Gus Bradley, and the team in need of ticket sales, commissioner Goodell should have his eyes focused on Northeastern Florida for his prize television show.