A hearty thanks to old friend Will Brinson, who reminds us that we now have a roster of Hard Knocks eligible teams.
Yes, you can get excited about the tournament that ends with Super Bowl LI. I will focus on a premium cable series that won't air a first-run episode for eight months.
As fans of the ground-breaking documentary series are surely aware, NFL owners passed a resolution in 2013 stating that teams can avoid mandatory inclusion on Hard Knocks if they fall under any of three exemptions: 1) They have a first-year head coach in place; 2) They have a playoff berth in the past two seasons; 3) They have appeared on Hard Knocks in the past 10 years.
Let's break it down:
Teams that will have a new head coach in place
Teams that have had a playoff berth in the last two seasons
Teams that have appeared on "Hard Knocks" in the last 10 years
» Chiefs (2007)
» Cowboys (2008)
» Bengals (2009)
» Jets (2010)
» Dolphins (2012)
» Bengals (2013)
» Falcons (2014)
» Texans (2015)
» Rams (2016)
So who does that leave us? Under the league parameters, 24 teams are eliminated from mandatory inclusion.
It leaves us a group of eight: Bears, Buccaneers, Browns, Colts, Eagles, Ravens, Saints and Titans.
Our initial reaction: It feels like Hard Knocks has been doing a devil's dance with the Browns for years now, and the built-in
storylines: Year 2 of Hue, the well-worn but still compelling Factory Of Sadness back story and the No. 1 overall pick all lay a nice foundation.
Then again, HBO and NFL Films might prefer to document a team with more immediate promise than a Cleveland franchise in the midst of yet another hyper-rebuild.
The Season 11 study of the Rams gave us juice-deficient access what appeared to be a clearly mediocre (and as it turned out, much worse) Jeff Fisher team.
A perhaps more appeasing option that I will endorse: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a young team on the upswing with a charismatic franchise quarterback at the center of it all.
The Bucs could also use the publicity that Hard Knocks brings. It feels like a win-win for both sides.
One final reminder: Any team can volunteer to be on Hard Knocks. So while there's a good chance the team comes from this pool of eight, it is not definite.
OK, you can get back to your precious playoffs now.
"24 teams are eliminated from mandatory inclusion. It leaves us a group of eight: Bears, Buccaneers, Browns, Colts, Eagles, Ravens, Saints and Titans."
I think the Bucs are a lock for this because of 1 guy, Jamies. I was not a fan of being on the show 1 year ago, but this year I actually want it to happen. I love the show but last years Rams was garbage. I for a change want to see this squad on. Get some Tampa publicity out there. Out of all those teams only the Bucs have a personality and his name is Jamies.
Browns suck so NO, Colts are boring so NO, Bears welll the Bears won't have Cutler and they Suck so No, Eagles are boring, Saints are a maybe and so are the Ravens because of Harbaugh. So out of the 3 if I am the NFL i pick the team that is on the rise with a personality. You got it TAMPA letsss gooooo