Chicago Bears Really Don’t Want To Be On ‘Hard Knocks’ But They Won’t Be Able To Stop It From Happening

Chicago Bears

Getty Image / Jonathan Daniel

Since HBO’s Hard Knocks debuted in 2001, there have been 19 seasons. As I’m sure you are well aware, there are 32 teams in the NFL.

Several teams have been featured on Hard Knocks multiple times like the Dallas Cowboys in 2002 and 2008. The Bengals and Rams have also been featured twice.

The NFL has a decade-old rule that can compel a franchise to appear on HBO’s Hard Knocks even if the team doesn’t want the limelight.

A team like the Chicago Bears, for instance, can be chosen if (1) they don’t have a 1st-year head coach, (2) haven’t made the NFL playoffs in 2 years, and (3) haven’t been featured on Hard Knocks in the past 10 years.

There are currently 4 teams who meet the NFL’s criteria for Hard Knocks selection, the Chicago Bears, New York Jets, Washington Commanders, and the New Orleans Saints.

Chicago Bears chairman George McCaskey is making it known he does *NOT* want the Bears on HBO. But there’s also nothing he could do to stop the league from choosing Chicago.

Speaking with Kevin Fishbain of The Athletic, McCaskey made his wishes clear:

The Bears, a team with a returning head coach and one that hasn’t been to the playoffs in at least two seasons, are eligible to be forced to do it. With a player like Fields in a market like Chicago, they could be a popular choice, but McCaskey has long held the view that the team would prefer “Hard Knocks” film elsewhere. “We feel there are a number of teams that have compelling stories to tell on ‘Hard Knocks,’” he said. Asked if that included the Bears, he clarified, “Thirty-one others.

As for why the Chicago Bears don’t want to appear on HBO’s Hard Knocks, reporter Kevin Fishbain added this:

If that tweet isn’t loading, he said “They believe that their training camp access — free to fans — in addition to their in-house productions provides behind-the-scenes access to the team. But I also think it’s simply a traditional view of not wanting everything to be broadcast.”

The Bears are a storied franchise with a rich history and they’ve had the same ownership for 40 years. The McCaskeys certainly hold more sway in the NFL than some other owners.

But the flip side of that coin is the league is well aware how wide the Chicago Bears fanbase is. The Bears have the 8th largest fanbase of all 32 NFL teams.

If the league cares about ratings, and they surely do, then choosing the Chicago Bears for Hard Knocks over the Jets, Commanders, and Saints makes the most sense.

However, should the Jets land Aaron Rodgers in the coming weeks then the Chicago Bears might dodge Hard Knocks for another year. The juicy ratings of Rodgers arriving in NYC (actually, NJ) would be too much for the league to pass up.