The NFL wants teams to do the Hard Knocks series on HBO, but most coaches, understandably, don’t want the intrusion, the risk of controversy, and everything else that comes with it. According to Ian Rapoport, a proposal to compel teams to do Hard Knocks if no one volunteers has passed. Rookie coaches and teams that have been in the playoffs will be exempted.
This is another case of the “NFL as entertainment” conflicting with the coaching goal of focusing the team on the field. So much for each franchise and coach deciding what is best for themselves when it comes to marketing and promoting the team. Lord Goodell does not want you interfering with the next negotiation with HBO over fees, coaches!
Rapoport also adds that the league actually wants teams without national followings to get exposure, to increase interest in nationally televised primetime games. (see, comments about Buffalo and Cleveland in primetime). With the advent of a Thursday night game all season long on the league’s own network, every team will be in at least one of those games each year.
Prediction: the team that “volunteers” or is involuntarily volunteered will get an extra primetime home game if/when this actually goes down.