Jan. 18, 2016
Each season, HBO’s Hard Knocks documentary follows a National Football League team through its training camp and covers the team's preparation for the upcoming football season. The show examines the personal and professional lives of the coaches, staff and players. It also focuses on the high-profile veterans, rookie hopefuls, free agents and journeymen throughout training camp and the four-game preseason schedule.
In 2010, Rex Ryan and the New York Jets were chronicled in the series' sixth season - and it looks like there may be an opportunity for an encore performance for coach Rex next summer.
Under NFL rules established in 2013, if no team volunteers for Hard Knocks, a team can be forced to do it by NFL management and that’s because the NFL is under contract with HBO to help produce the show. The only exceptions are for teams that don’t have a new head coach, haven’t been on Hard Knocks in the last 10 years, and haven’t been to the playoffs in the last two years.
The Bills fit the Bill…….along with eight other teams that include the Bears, Jaguars, Buccaneers, Raiders, Chargers, Rams and Saints.
Most coaches don’t like any distractions during summer camp or pre-season, but team owners aren’t particularly concerned about that. They’re looking to market their teams and sell season tickets. And what better way to do it then getting free publicity from a reality show that gets the fans excited about the upcoming season.
A team could “volunteer” to be on the show, but the NFL will eventually make a decision that’s based on which team will give them the best bang for their buck - and get the greatest number of most fans to dish out their hard earned bucks.
I think the Bills will be right at the top of the list.
The last time Rex and the Jets were featured, HBO captured three Sports Emmys, including Outstanding Edited Series/Anthology.
If the Bills are selected, the show will have some interesting story lines to follow, such as:
• Rex Ryan’s brother Rob Ryan joining the coaching staff
• Tyrod Taylor’s progress in becoming the franchise QB the Bills have been looking for since Jim Kelly last suited up
• Sammy “Just throw me the damn ball” Watkins
• LeSean “Shady” McCoy’s drive to be the best RB in the NFL
• Future Hall of Famer Ed Reed’s work with the Defensive Backs
• Players eating the Best Chicken Wings and Beef on Weck in the known Universe!
• The 16 year playoff drought (sorry I had to bring that up)
• The Drive for Five (Superbowl appearances, that is) And lets hope we do more than just appear at the next one
And of course, more speeches like this one:
Personally speaking, I think it would be great for Bills fans to be educated and enlightened at the school of hard knocks. It’s not too often that fans get a chance to see their team up close and personal.