Ian Rapoport of NFL.com and the NFL Network is reporting that the league is considering a proposal that would compel certain teams to appear Hard Knocks. The show is a joint venture between HBO and NFL Films, providing an all-access look at what happens on and off the field during an NFL team’s training camp. The series focuses on the daily lives and routines of players and coaches as they compete for a spot on the roster, with a mix of insight into the lives and work routines of coaches, veterans and rookie players; it is probably the most genuine reality show in all of television.
The NFL hopes to continue to have teams volunteer to appear on Hard Knocks each year. The benefit for a club is that they can create more of a following, a larger fan base, and more interest in their team; that would theoretically lead to more ticket sales and more profits, something that is appealing for a franchise that has been out of the spotlight or that has been struggling to sell out in recent years.
So does that mean that we will soon be able to view unlimited access to Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots?
The proposal includes a few critical exemptions. First, it would not apply to any team that has made the playoffs in both of the previous two seasons; as long as the Pats keep winning enough games to go to advance to the post-season, Belichick has the power to veto access to the film crew. The other exemptions are for any team that has appeared on the show in the last ten years, and for any team that has a new coach.
The fact that this proposal is being considered makes me think that there has been a scarcity of volunteers in recent years, to the point where HBO and the NFL is concerned that the series may have to end. I have to think that when the day comes that the Patriots are not playing in January, HBO would absolutely love to gain access to Foxboro for their show. I can’t imagine Belichick would go for that at all. That type of intrusion, on top of the frustration from having not made the playoffs – would that be enough to make him seriously consider retirement?
Update: it is now being reported that the first exemption is not for any team that has made the playoffs in both of the previous two years, but for any team that has made the playoffs in either of the previous two years. That subtle one-word difference is critical, creating an immense difference in what teams will be eligible to opt out should they so desire.
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