Now that the Chargers have moved and players have sworn their allegiance to Los Angeles, is there a shot the team is featured on HBO’s Hard Knocks in 2017? (I’m writing this because I really want to see this happen!)
Hard Knocks L.A., Take 1: Rams
The Rams re-introduction to the NFL as the Los Angeles Rams in 2016 began with the team being featured on HBO’s Hard Knocks. The show, now in its 12th season, documents training camp for a team, showing player development, practice sessions, player meetings, roster moves and cuts, coaching as well as follows the team through training camp as they prepare for the regular season.
The show also profiles players, which is something that could benefit the Chargers now that they’re in L.A.. There is hesitation from ownership and players like Philip Rivers, who in the past pleaded that the team not be featured. Still, the move makes sense for the Chargers and the NFL, if only from a promotional and marketing perspective.
L.A. is home to a ton of single-name recognizable sport legends such as Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, Wayne Gretzky, Luc Robitaille, Sandy Koufax and current stars that’ll maybe one day join that list. The point is, L.A. likes stars. The Chargers have some real talent that the city can identify with and gravitate towards.
Hard Knocks L.A., Take 2: Chargers
The Chargers need all the help they can get. The team’s alienation of their San Diego fan base has been well chronicled on Bolt Beat, plus their social media presence is abysmal when compared to most NFL teams.
Hard Knocks Requirements
HBO and the NFL do set certain eligibility standards for teams that can appear on the show and one of these may be an issue if the Chargers are to appear. Here are some of the requirements:
Teams must not have been to the playoffs in the past two years – Check!
Teams must not have appeared on the show in the past 10 years – Check!
Teams must not have a new head coach – Oh? Oh.
Obviously, the hiring of Anthony Lynn as head coach earlier this month disqualifies the team, but these are more or less guidelines and suggestions, not hard rules. If the guidelines are adhered to strictly, only the following teams would qualify for the 2017 version of the show:
New Orleans Saints (who are rumored to be the preferred NFL choice)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
I may be partial here, but the Chargers and the recent headlines the team has been capturing do seem to, at least from an entertainment point of view, be a better choice.
Opportunity for Exposure (Good or Bad)
I watched the show intently as the Rams moved to L.A. last year. The show focused on QB Jared Goff and players who fought hard to make the roster. I do admit it, the show helped me to get to know the team and cheer for them.
But the Rams blew it on the field and off. Some of the clips on the show came back to haunt certain individuals, showing some of the drawbacks that are to be encountered and why some players and owners are hesitant to sign-on.
Still, I believe this is a good opportunity for the Chargers. Fans across the country and Angelinos in particular can get to know and therefore support the team and players. The enigmatic (and new reluctant Angelino) Philip Rivers, PFWA Defensive Rookie of the Year Joey Bosa and the class of new players that the team will draft later this year are sure to keep fans coming back every week for a new episode of the show.
Dec 18, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) reacts during the fourth quarter against the Oakland Raiders at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
I won’t get my hopes up. Team ownership has expressed a preference for not appearing on the show in the past. However, that is before the team moved to L.A.. Now that the team has left San Diego and is in the nation’s second-largest market, perhaps a little publicity and media exposure might not be so bad. Hopefully, Spanos agrees.
Also, Los Angeles was featured last season. One would assume that this does not help the Chargers’ chances to get on the show this year. Still, the Cincinnati Bengals appeared twice. Therefore, I say there’s nothing preventing L.A. from being featured twice by two different franchises.
If the team is featured, do you plan on following them on HBO’s Hard Knocks?