Back in October, the NFL Owners agreed to let the league select whichever team they would like to appear on the hit HBO series Hard Knocks. Some teams would be exempt from the selection process, but they have to fall into one of three categories.
- Those with new head coaches
- Those that reached the playoffs in one of the previous two seasons
- Those that appeared on "Hard Knocks" within the preceding 10 years
The NFL will still ask for a team to volunteer, but if no one steps up, they will pick a team.
Here are the teams that would be eligible to appear on the 2014 version of Hard Knocks.
Now, honestly, ask yourself.. If you were tasked with picking one of those eight teams, which one do you feel is the most interesting and which one do you feel would drive home the biggest ratings for HBO?
Arizona, Buffalo, and Jacksonville, is a whole lot of meh in my opinion.
While I think the Pittsburgh Steelers would be an interesting choice, I don't think the NFL would force the Rooney family to appear on the show. They do have a well known quarterback in Ben Roethlisberger, and a fiery head coach in Mike Tomlin, but I think the NFL will pass on making the Steelers the first team force fed to HBO.
The St. Louis Rams are an up and coming team with a well known head coach, Jeff Fisher. They have some nice built in story lines with a former head coach, Dave McGinnis, on staff as their assistant head coach. They can play up the family angle with Brian Schottenheimer, who is their offensive coordinator, and son to long time NFL head coach Marty Schottenheimer. The family angle also plays with defensive end Chris Long, son of Hall of Famer Howie Long and brother to the Chicago Bears' Kyle Long.
I just don't see many compelling story lines surrounding the Oakland Raiders, although I would love to see what NFL Films could do with the outlandish Raider Nation.
Which leaves us with the two largest markets in the NFL, New York and Chicago. You could argue that with two teams in New York city, and three teams in New York state, that the Chicago Bears are the NFL's most visible team.
The Giants have a well known quarterback who also happens to be NFL royalty in Eli Manning, and a grizzled old school head coach in Tom Coughlin that would make for some interesting television.
The Chicago Bears have Jay Cutler, who is arguably one of the most polarizing players in the NFL, and who also just happened to sign a giant contract. Wide out Brandon Marshall has been making the media rounds lately, and appears to be setting up his life after football by wowing TV execs. They have a GM and a head coach that are very forthcoming with the media, and enough problems on the defensive side of the ball to create drama.
I'd be remiss if I left out the Kyle Long family angle, not to mention the unconventional path Kyle took to the NFL.
I'd say there is a very good chance that the NFL selects the Chicago Bears for the 2014 season of Hard Knocks.
What do you think?