Hard Knocks is one of the best shows on the planet, so don’t even try to debate me. While there are tons of reality TV shows out there that feature a bunch of drama and bullshit storylines that are meant to make viewers think it’s unscripted, when it comes to the NFL’s version of reality, there’s nothing that beats it. Coaches are unfiltered. Players are seen in their true light. There are fan favorites people root for. The veil is pulled back for football fans to see.
As great as Hard Knocks is, like all TV shows, it constantly needs to be refined in order to stay current. Sure, the teams change every year — with the Oakland Raiders chosen to take part this summer — but, for the most part, the league has yet to expand on the popularity of the show, which makes it seem as if they’re missing out on a killer opportunity. That may all change soon, though.
According to a Sports Illustrated article, the show — which has been on for nearly 20 years — has a real chance at getting a little facelift, with NFL owners coming up with a unique idea to deliver unique and custom content for football fans longer than the few weeks during training camp.
“One idea mirrored the ‘All-Access’ series that Showtime has done, where NHL teams have been featured in preparation for the Winter Classic and boxers have been spotlighted ahead of big fights. The NFL concept would be to give NFL Films access to two teams going into a big game a few times over the course of the season, with the episodes airing later in the year. And that, as far as I can tell, would be in addition to the training camp series, which could undergo changes as well. My sense is that the concern would be ‘Hard Knocks’ getting stale after all these years—and as all of you well know, the league likes to get in front of those sorts of things. And another thing that was discussed (that I’m sure coaches will love) was the potential elimination of parameters around who the league can mandate to do ‘Hard Knocks,’ which allow the NFL to make anyone do it.”
Wait, NFL owners — who are known for being old, rich, stubborn billionaires — are actually open to trying something new to give fans more access? Have these dudes been tested for pot, because this is something we’ve all wanted to see for years. So, while the training camp version of Hard Knocks wouldn’t change with this fresh idea, it would expand on the show’s popularity by bringing a similar feel to regular season games. That’s awesome.
Of course, the big question is whether NFL coaches would be OK with this, as they’d be giving all-access to cameras for fans to see. While this new show wouldn’t air till the following week, editing would need to make sure no team’s strategy is revealed for other franchises to see. I mean, some are already doing whatever they can not to be featured on Hard Knocks as it is.
The NFL is a year-long operation, with football fans trying to digest as much information and content as possible no matter what the calendar says. And, while this new idea would happen during the regular season before a big game — showing fans the ins and outs of preparation from teams — it’s also a way to keep people engaged and show that Hard Knocks can have an impact outside of just training camp. Please make this happen.